“false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke”
The term fake news is used a lot by some politicians. When they say that a news report is fake news, they mean it contradicts their beliefs and so they don’t want other people to believe it. They have a different view of the situation and want to promote that view. Instead of giving evidence to support their view, the politicians try to discredit the original new report by calling it fake news. Very often, it isn’t important to these politicians whether the news is true or not.
When a politician claims something is fake news they rarely criticise the content of the news report directly. Their aim is to call the writer and publisher of the report a fake. In other words, they’re calling them a liar. Of course, this is also an attack on anybody who accepts the truth of the original news report. The implication is they are stupid to believe it and, therefore, those who don’t, such as the politician and his supporters, are more intelligent.
Although fake news is a fixed phrase it’s not the only word that we use when we talk about attempts to deceive people. There are words such as false, forged, counterfeit, and fraudulent. For example,
The document had a forged signature at the bottom.
Last week I found a counterfeit pound coin in my wallet.
He was arrested for submitting a fraudulent tax return.
We can also use the words fake and false to describe these situations.
He made a false claim that it was his signature.
The pound coin was a fake.
The tax return contained false information.
While we’re taking about words that mean fake, let’s look at some words that mean the opposite such as true, real, genuine and authentic. For example,
Read the article then decide if each of these statements is true or false.
I prefer documentaries to dramas. I like to hear the stories of real people.
The art expert declared that the painting was a genuine Rembrandt.
There’s a new restaurant in the High Street. They serve authentic Malaysian food.
So, what’s the opposite of fake news? It’s just news, of course.
Brexit terms [the details of a future agreement with the other members of the EU]
Brexit bill [the amount of money the UK might have to pay for leaving the EU]
Brexit promises [commitments by both sides of the negotiations]
Brexit minister [a member of the UK government responsible for managing the UK’s exit from the EU]
There are also different types of Brexit. A hard Brexit means a situation where the UK gives up all the commitments and benefits of EU membership. A soft Brexit means a situation where the UK keeps some of those commitments and benefits.
Supporters of Brexit are often referred to as Brexiteers. People who do not agree with the plan to leave the EU are called Remainers. It’s important to note that British people only use these terms to talk about other people. We never use them to describe our own position in the debate.
If you would like to suggest a word from the news for future blog posts, please use the comment box.
Practise your listening. Click on play to hear Barney reading this text.