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Weaponizing the Lie - The Story of Fake News

Updated on August 3, 2020
Marko Milutinovic profile image

Marko is a political analyst. He has been following the turmoil of political climate and election conditions around the globe.

Fake news as defined by is news consisting of false news stories, often of a sensational nature, created to be widely shared or distributed for the purpose of generating revenue or promoting or discrediting a public figure, political movement, etc. These stories are the single most effective tool for enforcing further divide among people and spreading anger among the citizens. They use fear as a weapon to further their agenda. In modern times it has become all but impossible to survive a day without being bombarded by untrue stories regarding the most critical aspects of national interest.

They tend to sprew outlandish conspiracy theories and present them as genuine. This more often than not works because a rather significant number of the population doesn't fact check the information that makes their way towards them. People often do not go past the headline that, in the case of fake news, is a bombastic lie presented as truth. Furthermore, these lies that are covered in a way so that they seem accurate are stoking fires between certain groups of people. The goal is to target vulnerable groups by blaming them for the economic and political collapse.

Types of Fake News

There is more than one type of fake news out there that is influencing the lives of ordinary people. They are all dangerous and immoral, but specific political figures will stop and nothing to push through their version of events.

First of all, there is propaganda. Propaganda can be defined as information, especially of biased and misleading nature, used to promote political cause or point of view. As for its history, the name propaganda comes from the Congregation for the agitation of faith, which is an organization founded during the first half of the 17th century, in 1622. to be precise. This was an organization connected to the Roman Catholic church, which was an organization used while conducting missionary work.

Next, there is the concept of clickbait. This term refers to a headline designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink, especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest. Clickbait plays on people's emotions and uses them to get the most clicks. Hence the name clickbait. It is baiting you into clicking on it.

These are the most important types of fake news, but there is much more to fake news than just this. Also, we can include in this categories such things as sloppy journalism news which have biased content or even misleading headlines. But all of them work under the cloak of the fake news.


The Political Dangers That Have Arisen

These stories have found themselves in extensive use in political campaigns. More and more participants of political games use them as a method of advancing their agenda. Simply, these types of people do not care about the misinformation that they are spreading. On the other hand, they are enjoying the spike in support that they are receiving as a result of using this political advancement tool. Even when such stories are too ludicrous to be believed, these candidates still see the benefit from them. They are staying in the public eye and are being introduced to a broader range of audiences. So, it is evident that this is a win-win situation for these types of candidates.

What's more, fake news' repercussions can be measured on an even grander scale, the national one that is. The future of every nation is at risk by these weaponized lies. The outcome of the most critical elections can be swayed by these stories. It would seem that this is the single most dangerous situation we have faced in a long time. Your future might be at risk as we speak. If, for example, by using this technique, an uneducated, uncaring individual were to be elected, that person could undermine decades of hard work. Voters are being defrauded, having been fed false stories in the run-up to elections. Finally, when they arrive at the polling stations, they cast their vote, which is not a result of an informed choice, but rather an uninformed one. The result of this campaign is naturally a disastrous one.


Disasterous Effects That Fake New Have During The Pandemic of COVID-19

The ongoing pandemic of the deadly virus has shown the damaging effects of fake news. Especially with spinning the stories and attacking medical experts during the pandemic. This is being done because our current cohabitation with the virus does not go hand in hand with political manipulations that are needed for these people in order to stay in power. They have ignored this virus during its beginning and branded it as a seasonal flew. By doing this, countless lives have been lost to this illness, and millions more have been infected as a result. Medical recommendations have been mostly ridiculed and ignored. Medicine is not leading the way, but rather the politics is.

Mask, a useful tool in limiting the spread of COVID-19, has been politicized. It is now deemed a political question whether you will wear a mask or not. In our fight to contain and control the virus, this is the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot. With the help of fake news, we have confused people about what needs to be done to tackle coronavirus. The main problem here is this is a fundamental problem. It is not the situation in which you will get infected if you do not wear a mask. By not wearing one, you are endangering another fellow human being. How important it is can be shown by the following statistic: If you meet another person and one of you is infected, but both of you are wearing a mask, the level of protection is over 90 percent; However, in the same situation, one of you, the infected one, is not wearing a mask the protection level of another person drops to about 30 percent.

A further problem that has arisen is the advertisement of unproven medications by the people holding the highest political positions in the countries. This action, which is at the same time, dangerous and life-threatening, must be stopped. The reasoning behind it is clear. If there were a cure, there would be no reason to close down the economy. So, by advertising this medication, they are signaling to the workers that they need not fear the virus and should continue working. Of course, they are not doing this for workers' sake, but for their own. It is rather hard to get elected if your economy has crumbled down to pieces, and in addition to that, your reaction to the pandemic was borderline negligent. So, they use fake news in order to shift blame from themselves.


What Does The Future Holds

The future is uncertain, but the only certainty is that we have to deal with fake news. We must find some type of mechanism to deal with this occurrence. Because if we do not do that, we will be living in uncertain and dark times. Is that the future we want for us and our loved ones.

To wage war on fake news, we must be united and not divided as we are now. There must be some sort of coalition for the truth that will stop at nothing to debunk these lies. Besides, social media platforms must do their job and prevent the spread of lies, not their platforms. We must have some filter regarding these stories that influence our lives. We must not back down from this fight if we want to have a brighter future for our loved once and us.


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