Donald Trump’s fake news claims are dangerous, warns MP Damian Collins

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MP for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins, has denounced Donald Trump’s use of the term ‘fake news’ as “dangerous”.

Speaking to students at a meeting at the Press Association on Wednesday, the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee Mr Collins described the US President’s interpretation of the phenomenon as “anything he doesn’t agree with”.

He said: “We have to fight for the term ‘fake news’. What Donald Trump is doing, and I think it’s a pernicious thing that he’s doing, is to try and interpret the term fake news as being anything that he doesn’t like or agree with.

“I think the reason that that’s dangerous is that there are real sources of fake news out there, and growing sources too. And it’s not just celebrity tittle-tattle or gossip about politicians.”

This comes after the committee launched an inquiry into fake news last month. He also warned of the dangers of putting “real” fake news and reputable news organisations in the same box.

The Conservative MP explained that in the US, there exists a “whole fake news industry” centred on crime stories, and gave the example of a false story on fake news site Now8News about a Chicago man who buried the bodies of 12 white women in his freezer after etching the words “Black Lives Matter” onto their skin.

Mr Collins continued: “A story like that is not just a bit of clickbait or a bit of fun, it’s a story designed to incite racial hatred. That’s what real fake news looks like.

“So to use this term generally to say ‘the New York Times is running a story I don’t like, therefore the New York Times is fake news’, that is a very dangerous thing to do.

“If we end up in a position like that, we end up in a position where the real perpetrators of fake news can continue spreading lies, unchallenged.”

The US President has previously labelled CNN and the New York Times as “fake news media” on Twitter.

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