The definition of fake news should be rather obvious. It is, after all, two very simple one syllable words strung together. A third-grader should be able to determine from his or her very basic knowledge of the English language that this refers to news that is made up.
Unfortunately, understanding this simple concept has proven very difficult for certain politicians who seem to exhibit difficulty with even a third-grade level grasp of the language. These politicians tend to use the term “fake news” to describe any legitimate news that they disagree with or find unfavorable. In essence, bad news must be fake.
This, of course, couldn’t be farther from the truth. For news to be fake, it must be completely fabricated.
Back in the day, one could find this sort of fakery in supermarket tabloids, which featured stories about celebrities giving birth to aliens, or Elvis showing up at the local Burger King.
As the world moved more toward digital news sources, comedic satire sites like The Onion provided Americans with their insatiable appetite for the fake news they crave.
Enter the advent of clickbait. Online marketers discovered over time that people would click links containing the most salacious headlines they could conjure up, so many of these marketers began to create articles with headlines that didn’t relate to them just to get people to click and view ads.
In 2016, several miscreants who couldn’t find real jobs and instead took to trolling the Internet while living in their mother’s basement decided to get in on the gig by creating “news” websites containing articles they simply made up while in the shower based on trending words and topics.
The American public, not being able to distinguish clickbait from actual news websites began to believe these articles were true and came from legitimate websites simply because Aunt Susie posted it on Facebook. This is where the modern and proper usage of “fake news” originates.