Fake News, A New Term: Is It Really New?

The term ‘fake news’, which means false, fabricated and inappropriate information, first appeared in the 1990s, when TV Guide published a cover story on the subject, advising professional on how to mark sponsored Video News Releases (which are “video segment(s) made to look like news reports, but are created by a PR firm, advertising agency, marketing firm, corporation, or government agency,” as defined by Wikipedia). TV Guide recommended that media organizations should always display the source of external material when it is used in a broadcast – for as long as the material is on screen. The article was published during a time when media outlets were often not properly marking external or promotional material. As a result, broadcasts were losing credibility and reliability – a development that TV Guide wanted to bring attention to. So, while some claim to have come up with the term “fake news,” this cover proves that it has been used for at least 25 years.


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