Fake news isn’t necessarily fact-free. Context is everything, and it’s the lack of it that can turn facts into fake news, as this week’s tabloids demonstrate.
“Royals New Nazi Shame!” screams the ‘Globe’ cover, showing a blurry black-and-white photo of a seven-year-old future Queen Elizabeth II giving a Nazi salute.
Let’s ignore for one moment the fact that this is not new, but lifted from a Royal home movie filmed in 1933 or 1934, and first made public three years ago.
The Nazi salute today is redolent of the atrocities inflicted under its shadow over the following decade, but at the time this was filmed the gesture was a curious novelty that would have seen on newsreels, and a child mimicking it in the early ’Thirties could not possibly know what it would later come to symbolize.
Britain’s Royal Family certainly had some Nazi apologists, and even early sympathizers in their ranks, but the Queen was never one of them, and framing a seven-year-old’s gesture as fascism is turning facts into fake news.
“Cops Find JonBenet’s Killer!” proclaims the ‘National Enquirer’ cover, returning to its favorite murdered child beauty pageant queen. “Case Closed.”
There is a minuscule factual nugget at the center of this air-filled soufflé: police apparently spent two hours interviewing a blogger who reported on JonBenet Ramsey’s neighbor, Glenn Meyer, allegedly keeping a shrine to the slain child.
Yet the blogger had only been posting allegations made elsewhere originally . . . in the ‘Enquirer’ in February.
Meyer’s widow, Charlotte Hey, aged 86, claims that she asked her husband if he had murdered JonBenet. Read the rest