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Fake news is a growing threat

Recently, David Zurawik contrasted fact-based journalism with what passes for truth on propaganda machines like Fox News (“Yes, there are two media narratives. Don’t equate them; don’t call both ‘journalism,’” Feb. 9). Given the proliferation of fake news on social media, abetted by Russian hackers, Trump loyalists and greedy Facebook executives, the importance of serious journalism dedicated to the actual who-what-when-where of events cannot be overstated.

This week brought a glimmer of hope when a long-time Fox analyst Ralph Peters, a retired U.S. Army officer, abruptly resigned from the network. In an email reported by BuzzFeed, Mr. Peters wrote: "Today I feel that Fox News is assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law while fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers. … Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration."

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President Donald Trump reportedly spends his mornings watching Fox. Last fall, a Pew Research Center survey found that that 67 percent of Americans get at least some of their news from social media. Responsible Americans need to rely instead on professional journalists and so-called legacy mainstream media outlets such as The Baltimore Sun to be fully informed. I don't know how to make that happen but our democracy depends on it.

Herb Cromwell, Catonsville

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