The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Our biggest mistake in the fight against fake news

By Nina Jankowicz

31 Mar 2017 · 3 min read

In the fight against fake news, governments around the world are engaging “strategic communications” specialists to cut through the noise and come up with a magic formula to make an otherwise unremarkable communique achieve the same virality as a video of two cats playing patty-cake. (For what it’s worth, no such formula exists.)

There’s nothing wrong with teaching governments to tell better stories and connect with people, but “stratcomms” have their limit. One thing they cannot and will not do is singlehandedly win the information war with Russia that we now find ourselves fighting. Gaining any ground in, let alone winning, this struggle will require a longer and more expensive investment than the establishment of another Twitter account dedicated to debunking. To be successful, Western governments need to focus on repairing the trust gap between citizens and media, and among citizens themselves.

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