It seems that fake news has always existed — on October 30, 1938, actor Orson Welles caused panic in America by announcing to audiences, in a chilling radio performance, that Martians were invading New Jersey. Without doubt, today they has a lot of impact because of the popularity of social media, so many newspapers have started decoding fake news, and teachers are introducing courses about the media to develop students’ critical thinking — for example, they study photos to see whether they have been “Photoshopped”.
But are we really sure that newspapers and teachers are always in good faith? That their minds have not simply been corrupted by political choices or a certain way of making news that today, thanks to an uncontrolled news hammering, is able to establish what is true and what is not? What is really “critical” in a world that needs to make news at all costs, by trying to attract the attention of an increasingly conscious and suspicious audience? Maybe by frightening it? Then, as we’ve seen, those who report fake news are often themselves authors of fake news.
Maybe the experience of our days should just teach us that there are no courses when a mind no longer has the power to distinguish a free reasoning from a totally “programmed” one.