Jon Stewart Has a Very Simple Solution for How to Stop Spreading Fake News

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TimesTalks Featuring Jon Stewart & Chris Smith
Photo: 2016 Getty Images

This year has proved to be a defining one for both old and young people consistently falling for fake news — so much so that Mark Zuckerberg has faced major condemnation over Facebook’s failure to prevent hoaxes, misinformation, and exaggerations from rapidly spreading during the lead-up to the presidential election. (For a nifty browser extension that prevents fake news from taking over your computer, explore an option here.) Ex–Daily Show host and all-around swell guy Jon Stewart is well aware of this current plight and offered a very reasonable, common-sense solution to news organizations free of charge. Simply put: Check your damn source before you report anything. “If the news organizations really want to tackle fake news, they need to look at where they are aggregating their information,” Stewart told the crowd at a New York Times talk earlier this week. “Stories that were sent from a Macedonian teenager to grandmothers’ email accounts didn’t sway this election. News organizations that lost their credibility and authority because they were not careful enough about introducing toxic and poisoned information and laundering it into a system devalued the authority of real supposed news sources, to the point where people are frustrated enough to elect a man who stands for what he stands for.”

Later in the talk, Stewart laughed off the idea that Hillary Clinton would’ve defeated Donald Trump in the election if he was still hosting The Daily Show. “We were the destroyers of men and creators of empires. I think that generally is satire’s role and has always been: the rise and fall of civilization at our whim,” Stewart joked. “I would have probably allowed Hillary to come a little closer in the Rust Belt, but I still think I would have given Michigan to Trump.” In the end, though, just as he predicted, Clinton was cockblocked from the White House.

Jon Stewart’s Solution on How to Fight Fake News