Fake news has always been with us, starting with The Great Moon Hoax in 1835. What is different now is the existence of a mass medium, the Web, that allows anyone to financially benefit from it.
Etymologists typically track the change of a word’s meaning over decades, sometimes even over centuries. Currently, however, they find themselves observing a new president and his administration redefine words and phrases on a daily basis. Case in point: “fake news.” One would have to look hard to find an American who hasn’t heard this phrase in recent months. The president loves to apply it as a label to news organizations that he doesn’t agree with.
Read more at TwitterTrails, a research project at Wellesley College.
Image courtesy of TwitterTrails.