A year ago, this is a concept that would probably have been associated with the sort of over-the-top story that occasionally appears in one’s inbox, prompting amusement and annoyance in equal measure. Thanks to last year’s American presidential election, it has assumed altogether more far-reaching connotations. Across the world, earnest editorials and concerned columnists have taken to warning that fake news is undermining the integrity of our political processes. Indeed, we are said to be entering – or have already entered – a world in which truth no longer matters.  In a recent analysis, The Economist argues that while lies and deception have always been a feature of politics, fake news dismisses the importance of truth altogether. In effect, it proceeds from the assumption that facts need not be verifiably true. Evidence is of secondary importance, if not altogether irrelevant. What counts, rather, is working on emotive and intuitive impulses, either confirming or confusing an au...

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