Commonly known as black hat tactics in marketing, or journalism, this leaves the reader deluded and susceptible to errors of judgement. It can quickly spiral out of control as each voice adds their own take on the false information given, and soon what was initially a hunch or a fantastical speculation will be a full event with several backstories that all point in different directions. Anyone who is suddenly submerged in this eventuality and is open to accept news as true will no doubt find good reason to accept all given.
Censoring and watering down of the facts according to known possibilities and truth must be something to be considered. When presented with an argument of many facts and emotional perspectives, getting to the bare bones of truth will require some kind of digging through the personal and getting to the actual. Leaving out guesswork and casual linking of unrelated events has to be part of the process when relating the real news.
Freedom of speech and freedom to speak our thoughts openly is very important, and it cannot be denied to anyone, but this leaves a difference between news and opinion. Now that the web is accessible to all and anyone with a bit of coding or web-design skill can produce a news website, it needs to be understood that in order to be news, the rules of social responsibility have to be understood. In this way the mistakes of repeating falsities will be less likely and there will be methods of uncovering them in the production process.
Everything seems fine until someone gets hurt, and the article in the NY times today about a Pizzeria falsely accused of holding a child trafficking ring and then received several threats due to the spreading of the false story really tells the tale. Businesses, lives, and reputations are all in the balance, and when something surfaces like this, it can take a long time to set the record straight. The silver lining perhaps is that when the books tell the truth, the story becomes an advert rather than a libellous smear.