Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Fake News: Getting the Message Out

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 28th October, 2020

Trump vs Biden

Next Tuesday Americans will be taking part in probably the most important presidential election in a generation. Actually, more than 70 million voters have already cast their ballot, which is a pretty strong indication of how seriously they are taking it. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are as different as chalk and cheese (and neither as appealing as cake, if we are honest), but personalities are really not what the election is all about. Truth is what is a stake. President Trump turns reality on its head in Orwellian fashion, decrying mainstream media as Fake News while spewing out lies and exaggerations in an endless stream of tweets himself. In Trumpland, Twitter has become a reverse sewer, not removing human waste from the public’s households but delivering it. As someone who has spent the last half century presenting and commenting on (factual) news, I find this deeply depressing.

Real Fake graphic novel

However, one positive counter-trend has been the amount of attention being paid to Fake News and Disinformation, not only within countries such as the US and the UK but also transnationally. Cyber warfare isn’t just about hacking systems or making them crash but also flooding the Internet and Social Media with false information. This can sometimes be a rather naughty joke, like this week’s Fake News that Woolworths was going to reopen stores in the UK. But often it is much more malicious, maybe serving the interests of a foreign power. Governments are, of course, well aware of this, but a lot of the general public remains blissfully naive and thus susceptible to manipulation. Through Liberal International and Germany’s Friedrich Naumann Stiftung (FNS) I have been working with Liberals around the world to counter disinformation and educate people through the #FreedomFightsFake campaign. So I was really pleased to hear today of a graphic novel, Real Fake, published (free) online by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, CISA. I shan’t pass judgment on its content — everyone can make up their own mind — but as a method of getting the message out to people, especially the young, it is to be applauded.

Link to Real Fake:

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