Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fake news and now ‘stupid news’



Fake news and now ‘stupid news’

Fake news and now ‘stupid news’

Dear Editor,

US President Donald Trump has stated, actually read, or if you accept his account, misread, that the Continental Army “took over the airports” from the British Army during the American Revolutionary War.

This statement should keep cartoonists, comedians and letter writers busy for a long time, but what are the real concerns regarding this “misspeak”?

First, anyone can misread something, but generally they realise their obvious error and say so without elaborate explanations, although it could have been there on the teleprompter.

If it was there, then no professional speech writer was involved, although the complexity of some of the language suggests someone else wrote it.

This is not a matter of “fake news”, or one of the now over 10,000 “false or misleading” claims that the Washington Post newspaper has counted – this is just plain stupid news.

The real issue with this single item is the number of people who won’t know the difference, since although people claim great pride in their history, they actually know little of it and less of a timeline of when events happened.

As a science teacher, I had an activity where I gave students a jumbled list of inventions and dates, and swiftly found that few students had any idea of the progression of human discoveries.

Although they were young, they did not know of a pre-internet time nor could they comprehend what it was like.

And as for black and white TV, this was almost inconceivable even though soon TV may be a dim memory, as will newspapers.

History teachers should be starting their own revolution, rather than telling of previous ones, and breaking the internet to establish what has happened, when, where and what the consequences, both were then and now.

There is also the view of philosopher Edmund Burke: “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”

It is difficult to see what will happen with fake news stories – and now stupid news stories – and how they will be remembered in the future.

The next challenge for history is to properly celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing on July 20 – and convince the doubters that it did actually happen.

Don’t worry about planting the American flag on Mars, Mr President, when there is so much to be done on protecting this planet and its fragile environment as well as the people on it – including the number of people who want to get into America, not just American cells.

Learn what happened and tell the truth always. It shouldn’t be that hard to do.

Regards,

Dennis Fitzgerald,
Melbourne, Australia

Send letters to: [email protected] or PO Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the