In this edition of Archive on 4, Phil Tinline mines the archives to trace the story of 'disinformation' - navigating the slippery history of such incidents as the Zinoviev Letter, the Reichstag Fire, the Moscow Trials and the allegations that the US used germ warfare in the Korean War.
Has the internet democratised news journalism, creating a new plurality of reporting and opinion? Are we witnessing the healthy overturning of the apple cart of the entitled metropolitan elite who’ve run the media for so long? Or are the moral rules of journalism being scrapped and the old expectations of objectivity and fairness being replaced by a toxic digital fog of instant comment, rumour, cynicism and outright lies? Is this a danger to democracy or just entertaining political theatre? Are those who complain about accuracy and spin confusing facts with truth?
The Culture Select Committee’s final report into fake news and disinformation has heavily criticised the practices of tech firms like Facebook. Amol Rajan discusses its findings with Labour MP and member of the the Select Committee, Ian Lucas, Dex Torricke-Barton, former executive at both Google and Facebook and Stephen Lepitak, Editor of the tech and marketing website The Drum.
The BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan asks James Ball, special correspondent at BuzzFeed News, and Mark Frankel, social media editor at BBC News, about the different meanings of 'fake news' and how journalists should respond to it.
Today on the show, we take this single fake news story and follow the clues all the way back. We follow the digital breadcrumbs until we find ourselves on a suburban doorstep, face to face with the man behind a bogus news empire run. Then he tells us his secrets.
Melissa Zimdars, assistant professor of communication and media at Merrimack College, has made a list of more than a hundred problematic news sites, along with tips for sorting the truthful from the troublesome. She talks with Brooke about how to be a savvy news consumer in a misinformation-filled world.