Fake news has been with us forever. Exaggeration, omission, bias, trivia, and even outright lies as long as they are easily digested and show media stakeholders in a good light or outsiders in a bad one. Celebrity gossip is another notorious example of fake news, but the interesting question is who generates the demand for it?
To my mind fake news is in part a chicken and egg situation, it emerges from the limitations of the reader and consequent limitations of the media which have to supply what people are prepared to read or click. The media have to satisfy other pressures but ultimately they have to keep readers on board because without them they are nothing. As the Guardian is discovering. Even bloggers need readers. A few at any rate.
There seems to be a common assumption that the media manipulate their punters but punters also manipulate the media. We get fake news because we are satisfied with fake news and the internet is becoming particularly attuned to those satisfactions. Most punters do not want the intellectual grind of investigation, research, fact-checking or analysis. In general they are happy with fake news.