Murphy’s Law

Fake news. That term is as much part of our every day vernacular as hello and goodbye.


Don’t like what you hear, it’s fake news.


Don’t want to believe it, it’s fake news.


Fake new has a long history in this country.


Back in the days of the wild, wild west, newspapers used to sensationalize stories to get people to buy them.


According to CITS, which researches and explains cultural transitions and social innovations pertaining to technology, in the 1890s, rival newspaper publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Hearst competed over the audience through sensationalism and reporting rumors as facts, which became known as "yellow journalism."


Eventually there was a backlash against the lack of journalistic integrity, and the public demanded more objective and reliable news sources, which created a niche that the The New York Times was established to fill at the turn of the 20th century. Yellow journalism became less common — until the rise of web-based news.


Maybe the public needs to revolt again, this time against the social media sites that post lies, and against the 24-hour "news" channels that broadcast opinions and their own agendas and shout them like they are facts.


Fake news was promoted by Nazis who used it to discredit Jewish newspapers who were trying to tell the world about the atrocities being done by Nazis.


The Nazis called those Jewish publications "Lying Newspapers," when in fact they were reporting the truth.


Certainly, we should hold ourselves to higher standards than following Nazi propaganda. We should be able to listen to all sides of an issue and discern facts from fiction.


Lying newspapers are today’s fact news.


People are so afraid to be wrong, so afraid to hear the truth, they label any news that goes against what they want to believe as fact news.


If the president could have trade marked the term fake news he would have tripled his income.


But he is not the only one discrediting anything he does not want to hear.


The public has picked up that battle cry and refuse to listen to both sides of any argument.


Republicans believe only the good things about their candidates, and Democrats believe only the good things about their candidates.


While newspapers may not be the first choice by some for news,  mainly because those people would rather flip through their phones than flip through the pages of a newspaper, the printed word is the best source for news.


Social media, although many platforms are now cracking down on fake news and hatred, pass around fabricated news by entities that make a living doing so. No one should count on Facebook as a news source, yet too many people do, passing around stories with not a single ounce of truth.


It makes no sense to pass around stories on social media as fact. Facebook and all the other platforms were designed to connect people, but have become perverted by the stream of false and fabricated stories for those willing to accept them as truth because it fits what they believe.


None of us, as humans, are always right or wrong, but we view the parties we support as either all right or all wrong.


To believe one side is always factual and the other lies is the real fake news.


Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor at The Telegram.