"Fake news" could destroy western society, State Department official warns

Chessen said that “the possibility of a post-truth world actually directly undermines the Enlightenment ideals of a search for truth and reason.” The advent of such a world, in which intentionally misleading news stories jostle with truth, would benefit adversaries of the United States, Chessen said. “They want to see this post-truth world. Because in that world, a fact is whatever you can convince people of.”

It was not immediately clear whether Chessen’s remarks suggested a renewed commitment from Foggy Bottom to countering concerted disinformation campaigns from domestic extremists and foreign U.S. adversaries such as Russia and China. Chessen did not respond to requests to clarify his remarks, but a spokesperson for the State Department said that “the Department is broadly concerned about threats to democracy including threats posed by state sponsored disinformation and manipulative information operations designed to undermine democratic processes and institutions.’