Fake news – fun, or merely fuelling the fire of apathy?
For the last week we have been hearing more and more about "fake news" a term which is being used to cover anything from a fun spoof story to anything in the media that Donald Trump disagrees with.
Of course spoof news has been around for a long, long time, but the problem now is that it is appearing to millions in an instant via social media, and far too many people believe any headline they read. In a climate where there is a growing political apathy and in many cases a complete ignorance of what government at any level is responsible for is this really helping?
Take for instance a story which recently appeared on a local spoof site called MyRhondda news which said that the Council were going to introduce fines for anyone caught going shopping without a reusable bag on them.
Now the site doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is, fake "news" and this was, to those who follow local politics and "real" news, a send up of the announcement by RCT Council that they were going to fine dog owners who were caught out walking their dog without a poop bag on them.
The problem is that, when this was spread across a number of groups on Facebook, a lot of people just looked at the headline – "Rhondda Council To Trial On The Spot Fines For People Who Go Shopping Without A Used Carrier Bag" – and nothing else. They then immediately became irrationally angry at the Council and many of the comments were very offensive.
Now there may be very sound reasons for getting annoyed at some politicians, be they Councillors, AMs, MPs or whoever, but it helps no-one when this level of anger is being roused by what is supposed to be a joke. It is also a frightening glimpse of the mood amongst our communities.