I don’t believe there’s an unprecedented surge in FAKE NEWS in Kenya. Or at least the rise is not as big as it has been made out to be.
I think what is happening is the same thing that happened with the apparent rise of police killings of unarmed black men in the US over the past decade.
With the police shootings, it turned out that they were only getting more filmed, so we were seeing them more on social media and TV. But the rate of new incidents was not necessarily on the rise.
In the same way, the rise in Fake News is only humanity coming to terms with the fact that balance and objectivity are a myth when telling stories. Human beings are wired to promote the stories (and facts) that confirm our biases and dismiss those that don’t. “Whose truth is it?” and “Whose team are you on?” matters more than “What is the truth?”
US President Donald Trump did not redefine Fake News when he started dismissing CNN and New York Times for reporting stories that seemed disloyal to him. He, in fact, defined Fake News as we are seeing it today. Fake News is news that I don’t agree with. Fake news is news that doesn’t support my cause. Those who shout “Fake News” are more often than not making a statement about relationship rather than a statement about reality.
George Orwell once defined journalism as “printing what someone else does not want printed.” He might as well have been talking about Fake News.