Dear Crabby, What is Fake News?

Dear Crabby, What is Fake News?

Sincerely, Historia Falsum


Dear Historia,

Quite frankly, everything you read could fall under the realm of “fake news” because of the slant most news outlets take these days. Ever since Gutenberg’s printing press started to circulate publications in 1439, false news went with it. We called it “yellow journalism” in my early days, which is when a sketchy newspaper would use colorful front pages, over-the-top headlines, and lavish use of pictures – think grocery store tabloids – to grab the attention of the reader.

“Fake news” is often now the term used from the opposing point of view. It can be suggested they are just lies to discredit a person, a candidate, or an organization. Then, if we’re lucky, they will print a “correction” a few days later, several pages in. Some “fake news” is completely fake because it is satirical, like the well-known website, The Onion. The stories are well-written and sound legit, but they just humorous tales. Today’s “fake news” is mostly an exaggeration built on emotional elements to get readers worked-up and angry.

I remember a column I wrote for another paper where I stated, “School to Begin One Hour Later Starting in Late October.” This was a headline to pull in the reader – it was an article about the time change that happens every fall – even though it was deceiving. It caused a bit a stir, but it wasn’t “fake news,” it was all true from a certain point of view. The problem is when people read the headline – not the article – then call the schools complaining. Sometimes we take a creative liberty. And with this Internet stuff, competing for headlines is a tough business. Rochester Media and The Community Edge try to write catchy headlines, but not to mislead you. Most of the time space is the concern and a summary is used. Sometimes, that may cause confusion.

Some online news outlets are just plain hoax sites – politics is often the subject – designed to misinform the public. Fear, emotion, and contempt is used to sway opinion in many cases. But even in the most reckless of reporting, there is usually a thread of truth.

“Fake news” is really the news you choose not to believe.

Well, I hope that helps you to understand, now I’ve get going  – I’m training to run a marathon in September and I hear that last point-two miles is the toughest.


Dear Crabby


Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Email me at and ask your question. You can also head on over to my Facebook Page and tell me how wonderful I am.

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

Speak Your Mind