Fake News is simply another term for Lying. The objective is to change the view or understanding of the target to which it has been sent . There are examples from the earliest days of recorded history. We offer only two.
The Trojan Horse
During the war between Greece and Troy (12th or 13th Century BCE) the Greeks chose to lay siege to the city of Troy. After a period of months without any change the Greeks became impatient and needed to return to Greece for Rest and Recuperation.
The Trojans considered the Horse to be holy and worshiped the animal. Ass the Greeks needed some action or resolution to their siege they devised subterfuge, taking advantage of the Trojan worship of horses. To this end they built a large wooden horse. Inside the horse they secreted a number of the top Greek Warriors, while the remainder of the army gave the impression they had withdrawn.
The horse was seen by the Trojans and, thinking the war was over, they drew the horse into the city and started celebrating. Once the Trojan army was exhausted from their celebration the Greek warriors escaped from the belly of the horse and opened the gates of the city.
This subterfuge (fake news) led to the defeat and plundering of Troy.
The story lives on through history and into the future.
The Man Who Never Was
During World War 2, shortly before the invasion of Europe from North Africa the obvious point of access to the European continent was Sicily. Alternative targets were Sardinia and the Greek Islands Allied forces planned to Attack Sicily but wished to confuse Axis planners.
An act of subterfuge was used to encourage the Axis to ignore the potential attack on Sicily and reinforce the island of Sardinia and Greece. The plan involved the use of a corpse which was dressed as a Royal Marine Major and carrying official documents showing the planned target to be the Greek Islands.
The body was released from a submarine off the coast of Portugal so that it floated to shore. There it was found by Portuguese officials. The documents were passed by Portuguese to German diplomats and this led to a change in the deployment of troops facing the impending assault. As a result, the assault was a complete success with much lower casualties.
Fake News Today
The explosion in the ability to communicate has given rise to a situation where individuals can be directly influenced. The “Arab Spring” is one most recently experienced and led to a change in Government in Tunisia. The danger of other similar movements springing up in other countries, particularly those with no democratic dispensation, is always at the forefront of the rulers minds.
Fake news is dangerous and we need to guard against its effects> During the Rhodesian War the Government introduced a security campaign to reduce the spread of information. We all remember ditties such as :
- Engage Brain before operating mouth piece;
- Keep Mum, Dad Does;
Have fun and enjoy your years.