On January 26, Ottawa-based think-tank Public Policy Forum (PPF) released a dire report on the state of news media in Canada —The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age — to largely negative criticism from pundits. Yet one issue often missed in the disparagement of the PPF report is its perpetuation of the notion of a sudden fake-news epidemic.
The 108-page, $270,000 report commissioned (and mostly funded) by the federal Liberal government paints a dark picture of a world where fake news had an outsized influence on the outcome of the U.S. election and now poses an imminent threat to Canada’s democracy as well. The report references “Trump” and “fake news” at least 13 and 35 times, respectively (depending how you count).
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