Back in 1957, the BBC featured a special program on the harvesting of spaghetti in Switzerland. The harvesting required people with ladders to cut the crop from spaghetti trees. This was featured during peak viewing hours and was an outstanding success. Even TV Moscow showed the program and it was broadcast all over the world.
Here is the truly interesting aspect of the story. More people believed the presentation to be true than those who did not. It was, and still is, the most popular April Fool’s Day joke ever featured on international media. Today we would call it “fake news,” for in reality that’s exactly what it was.
Over the past year, we have seen an increasing rise in the presentation of “fake news” and, like the BBC adventure, people believe what they see. In reality, what they are seeing is a complete distortion of reality.
Such confusion of the truth becomes a weapon. It’s a political weapon that is now being used by all sides, from local politics to a national political issue. From a school board to the local media. Why? Because it works and is often more entertaining than the truth. The very term “fake news” is a way to justify this action. If we called it simply “lies” it would be more honest, but not that interesting.
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Let us hope that, like the spaghetti-tree hoax, we will eventually come to see the same situation with our “fake news”: A big joke.
Hilton Head Island
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