Having spent decades as a journalist and much of the past five years and more investigating fake news in relation to the international art market, I have made some fairly shocking discoveries.
Fake news is created in a number of ways:
• The deliberate dissemination of propaganda
• Marketing posing as news
• The accurate reporting of the above two without fact checking
• The inaccurate reporting of facts – journalistic error
As the internet has made reporters of us all, it is hardly surprising that untrained ‘news’ outlets unintentionally add to the fake news trail. Diminishing resources to fund proper journalism is another problem. Well-paid print journalists once had adequate resources to check facts and conduct in-depth investigations, funded by display advertising and – especially with local newspapers – a core income arising from classified, property, recruitment and motor ads. Those revenue streams have largely now gone online to specialist sites that do not fund the media, so journalism has suffered.
However, it is not just the public and the dying art of journalism that leads to fake news. The really shocking discovery is that, either by design, incompetence or complacency, other sources can include some of our most trusted and respected institutions, from parliament and international law enforcement to NGOs and academia.
My latest article, written for Cahn’s Quarterly and just published, lifts the lid on what has happened in one of the most sensitive corners of the art market, the international antiquities trade, and how fake news has even contributed to the formulation of new laws within the European Union.
You can read it here. see pages 4-6.