The full extent of the emotional, physical, mental, and economic damage of fake news, in all its guises (including ghost writing), will never be fully appreciated. This is because data, from the vast majority of sources, is also manipulated, statistics-shopped, and published with all the biases, defects, and misinterpretations “offered” by authors–real or not.
The deterioration in truth of the written/published word has followed that of the spoken word. Caveat Lector takes on a new significance in this era.
“Having a person write your op-ed, to me, is no different than having a speechwriter to write for a presidential candidate,” said Joanna Pearlstein, the deputy managing editor at Wired Magazine, who oversees their opinion section.
There’s a big difference between having a financially or politically interested third party write your op-ed and having a speechwriter write for a presidential candidate. The difference is based on the principle, “Follow the money.” A speechwriter paid by the candidate works under the candidate’s direction to present the candidate’s thinking. The other situation is one in which, for example, a PR company paid for by a pharmaceutical company prepares a piece for patient to praise the pharmaceutical company’s product without disclosure of the roles of the pharmaceutical company or the PR company. That’s wrong.
Evidently, however, Ms. Pearlstein does know this difference. She continued by stating, “I don’t necessarily have an objection to that. I do want to know who’s behind the piece, and I like to have an idea of why they’re writing it.”
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