‘Fake news’ claims are hogwash, ridiculous

In response to Mr. Leow’s letter published on Saturday (“The [Alpena] News’ reliance on AP wire makes it fake news”), here’s my opinion. First, many people are sick and tired of hearing those hackneyed expressions “fake news” and “make America great again.” Good bumper stickers, maybe, but one is hogwash and the other is misleading.

First, some definitions from Webster’s College Dictionary. Fake: (adjective) “counterfeit;” (verb) “to mislead or deceive.” News: “a report on recent or new events.”

Also from Webster’s: Fact: “a truth known by actual experience or observation.” And truth: “the true or actual state of a matter,” “conforms with fact or reality,” “verified or indisputable fact, proposition or principle,” “honesty or integrity.”

It is ridiculous to assert that the News’ mere reliance on the AP wire (by itself) constitutes “fake news.” Two minutes’ checking on the AP would tell any fair person why the AP has lasted 172 years. Formed in 1846 by a group of newspapers who wanted to pool resources to better cover news from faraway places, the AP now serves thousands of media subscribers in radio, TV and print. The nonprofit AP is collectively owned by its subscribers.

More to the point, the AP could not possibly last long if it reported dishonest, fake, slanted, half-true or totally false news accounts to its subscribers, who represent views from every point on the compass. They must remain scrupulously accurate and fair. The entire reason for being is to report the news as fairly and accurately as possible.

Finally, the AP and the free press are not the “enemy of the people.” They protect the people’s right to know the truth.