In his March 4 Sunday Opinion essay, “Illusions now go far beyond movie sets,” Robert D. Kaplan wrote about the perils of big technology in spreading false information and revealed a highly romantic view of print journalism.
All the things that big tech does today were done (and are yet being done) by newspapers. Recall that William Randolph Hearst in 1898 reportedly instructed his man in Cuba: “You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.” In part, this led to the Spanish-American War. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini honed his craft in manipulating public opinion as editor of the Avanti! newspaper.
We must be diligent in fighting falsity in all media, not just in online media.
Winthrop Drake Thies, New York