Since then phrase has been used more or less continuously by Trump and other world leaders, as well as by countless political operatives, journalists and ordinary people. As a rough guide, a Google News search of “fake news” throws up 5 million results, and already in 2018 the phrase has been used about two million times on Twitter.
And, contrary to the conventional wisdom, it’s no longer a stream of falsehoods eagerly swallowed solely by Trump supporters and/or those with little education. By April 2017, Trending was reporting on the phenomenon of left-wing, anti-Trump fakery. Experts say highly-educated people can be duped by lies as well – and can often be more stubborn when presented with information that challenges their views.
But within months the sheer ubiquity of the phrase “fake news” had perhaps rendered the term meaningless. All sorts of things – misinformation, spin, conspiracy theories, mistakes, and reporting that people just don’t like – have been rolled into it.