True, though at some times and in some places, even during wartime, there used to be sources which prided themselves on neutrality and reliability. The collapse of the traditional press has not led to the diversity of voices promised by the early internet. With web-traffic driven by social media, it is hard to imagine a receptive and critical readership for real news, where it survives.
Interesting article about one of the most prolific writers of fake news from the US & the fact checker from Belgium who tracks him down.
His stories get picked up & shared on facebook/social media, often via sources in the Balkans & Macedonia. He gets successful enough to make a living via advertising. He says he does it as satire to show the stupidity of conservatives/republicans & that he's a liberal democrat. He eventually runs into trouble after facebook change their algorithms to reduce spam/clickbait but he's still at it.
How a freelance journalist in London got dragged into a fake news story in Senegal.
I stepped out of a dance class in North London on a sunny day last January to find a string of missed calls from African phone numbers.
I had no idea what this was about - so I checked my inbox and Facebook and Twitter - there were hundreds of messages all asking me the same thing - was I "Michelle Damsen", the author of a mysterious news story at the centre of a media storm in Senegal?
"A corruption scandal is shaking my country and your name has been mentioned."
"We are very worried since we have seen an article supposed to be written by you."
"I am a Senegalese journalist and I definitely need to talk to you!"
They all wanted to know if I had written an article titled "The challenges of exploiting natural resources in Africa", which appeared on an obscure Ghanaian news website, Modern Ghana, on 9 January 2019.
The story accused Senegalese opposition presidential candidate Ousmane Sonko of taking a massive bribe from a European oil company and was authored by "Michelle Damsen", a name just two letters off my own - Michelle Madsen. This was just a few weeks ahead of the Senegalese presidential election and Mr Sonko was one of the main challengers to President Macky Sall.
As a freelance investigative journalist with a background in uncovering corruption in the resource industry in West Africa, I have written several stories about Senegal and oil companies. I had even written a story about Mr Sonko after he published a book accusing Senegal's president's brother, Aliou Sall, of corruption - allegations he has denied.
I knew I hadn't written the Modern Ghana story though, and told all the journalists who got in touch with me the same. But I was shaken by some of the details in the news stories which came out in Senegal and how quickly the story had been linked to me.