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

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15

  • CNRP activist freed; Sam Rainsy pledges return to Kingdom

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday released former CNRP activist Oeur Narith on bail after the court ended its questioning on suspicion of receiving money from abroad and plotting to overthrow the government, according to the authorities. National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun confirmed

  • Hun Sen says developing nations ‘targets of rivalry’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen spoke at the virtual UN General Assembly on Monday, saying that developing nations often become targets of punishment for their imperfections when they don’t rise to the standards of developed countries. He said rivalries between superpowers often hamper developing countries’