COLUMNS: False news creating a stir

It's hard to know what's fact and what's fiction. Social media makes it worse.

What with different groups, including the mainstream media and alternate press, giving different versions of events, it’s hard to know what’s fact and what’s fiction. Social media makes it worse. Add what is being called “false news” (formerly known as propaganda) it’s no wonder people get confused.

One example. The headline over a recent piece by the Vancouver Sun’s veteran columnist Vaughn Palmer screamed “Site C so far advanced no government would kill it.” In the column, Mr. Palmer writes of spending a day at the construction site of the massive hydroelectric dam, most of that time on an “extensive tour by truck with construction manager Bob Peever.” Mr. P said based on what he saw, he would be surprised if any B.C. government, current or future, would halt the project.

Others who have been involved with Site C since day one say it is not too late to stop the construction. Ana Simeon (Sierra Club BC) Ben Parfitt (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) and Yvonne Tupper (Treaty 8 land defender) were in Williams Lake recently as part of a provincial tour explaining the project. They told a gathering at TRU that although a lot of land has been cleared as construction for the dam gets underway, no irreversible damage has been done so far. Noting construction crews “are far from even starting the major work,” the panel had slides to back that up. Question — who has it right, Palmer or the panel?

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U.S. journalist Carl Bernstein, of Watergate fame, says president-elect Donald Trump lives in a “fact-free environment.”

Diana French is a freelance columnist, former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.