US President Joe Biden pledged to “defend the truth” as he was sworn into power yesterday.
In any other time his words may have seemed glib had fake news about the election result not led to an attack on the Senate two weeks earlier.
Outgoing president Donald Trump was blamed for inciting the violence at Capitol Hill for “fraudulently” claiming the outcome was rigged against him.
Five people died in the riot, which has been widely judged as a threat to democracy.
Trump has since been banned from Twitter “due to the risk of further violence” but this has raised questions about freedom of speech in a democratic society.
The mainstream media is often blamed for spreading “fake news” and in the digital age the lines between professional and citizen journalism have become increasingly blurred.
Laura Garcia, of fact-checking organisation First Draft, believes politicians like Trump have deliberately sought to deflect attention by blaming the media for spreading disinformation.
“The term fake news itself is problematic because it includes the word news in there so very firmly points the finger at the news media and therefore journalists making us scapegoats of a problem that is actually more complex,” she said.
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