People ignoring obvious facts, overstating statistics, or simply telling straight out lies (porkies, pork pies, Pinocchios and pants-on-fire whoppers) hit a new low standard.

Self-appointed social media commentators and amateur political pundits spread these fake news falsehoods by presenting them as REAL news stories.

Sometimes ‘the unknowing’ act through ignorance but too often their actions are devious attempts to influence a desired outcome. This can be a political, financial or religious outcome.

Uninformed readers, listeners and viewers swallow their lies as truth. “It has to be true. I saw it on XYZ.” Ignorance is no defence in law, nor in LIFE.

‘Fake news’ is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to appear as credible journalistic reports. They are easily spread online and as TXT messages or through social media to large audiences who are duped to believe the fiction.

The more outlandish the story is, the faster dopes spread the word.

Sometimes spokespeople offer an “alternative truth” – and that is really worrisome.

For instance, during the US election: “Pope Francis supports X …” Mature citizens who read extensively know the Pope doesn’t get involved in politics. The same goes for Queen Elizabeth II. They might have a private view, but neither would declare it.

“Scientists report X is the new magic cure for…”

“Sports superstar X will switch teams…”

Immature citizens who spend way too much time on their smart phones don’t have the knowledge to distinguish truth from fiction.

But remember, nothing we do is without some bias. Cropping a photo means removing something. What you remove may influence the credibility of the photo. Even enhancing the blueness of the sky is giving an added spin!

Want to write real stories?

Journalism goes far beyond putting words together. Learn every aspect of the profession – from developing story ideas and turning them into material through to the business of selling what you write.