Fake news part and parcel of life

I agree with the sentiments in the article "It's time to retire the tainted term 'fake news' " (Jan 10).

Fake news is an obstacle to people asking questions about important issues.

For instance, in a press conference earlier this month, United States President Donald Trump refused to take a question from a CNN reporter and silenced him by calling his organisation "fake news".

There is a thin line between fake news and a mistaken report. Let us not be too quick to label everything as fake news, as a reporter may be sincere but gravely mistaken.

There is a widely held belief that Mrs Hillary Clinton lost the US presidential election due to "fake news". This is an oversimplistic conclusion to this historic event, as there were a number of factors that led to her defeat ("Storm of factors sank Clinton's prospects", Nov 10, 2016).

Fake news is, of course, undesirable and annoying. But it should, perhaps, be seen as part and parcel of life - something inevitable that comes along with the greater good that one receives in watching and reading the news.

The people should use their discretion to decide what does or does not constitute fake news. With common sense and by reading widely, the risk of falling prey to fake news can be minimised.

Chan Yeow Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2017, with the headline 'Fake news part and parcel of life'. Print Edition | Subscribe