Blame it on the creative imagination of mankind, but fake news has always been with us. People have always told stories about things that never happened and beings that never existed to people who like to hear stories like this. Think of ancient myths, of Shakespeare and other playwrights, of movies, television shows, and tabloids. Think of snake oil salesmen, of advertisers for miracle cures, of promises to renew your youth. Think of political lies, smears, and accusations.
Most of us understand that entertainment fiction is not real life, and I hope most of us learn to be wary of miraculous cure-alls, but too many of us seem to be willing to swallow whatever "truth" suits our preconceptions when it comes to politics. Buyers, beware. Fiction can't hurt you, and most fake medicines can't either, although they may cost you a pretty penny. But supporting fake political news can cost you even more--your safety, your health care, your social security, and, ultimately, your freedom.