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Society of Professional Journalists chapter applies to trademark the term 'fake news'
A Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has applied to trademark the term "fake news."
Citing polling that indicates 40 percent of Republicans think the term applies to accurate reporting that casts politicians they support in a negative light, Emily Bloch of Teen Vogue writes that the application is unlikely to be approved and the move is intended to compel people to "think about what fake news is, and what it means to them."
"So yes, this is satire. It's a joke. But it's a joke with a point, and as any student of public discourse will tell you, a joke sometimes hits harder than the truth," Bloch wrote. "And if anyone accuses us of trolling the president, well, nothing else seems to work with him, so what do we have to lose?"
While the SPJ chapter waits on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Bloch writes, it intends to send letters to President Trump warning him he is infringing on a pending trademark.
"Referring to factual stories that are critical of your administration as FAKE NEWS (TM pending) is indeed trademark infringement," the letters state. "You may not be aware, but your misuse of the term FAKE NEWS (TM pending) has greatly confused the American people and shaken their trust in the journalism that's so vital to our democracy."
The SPJ chapter has also created a website to teach readers whether a story is credible and includes resources on signs of credibility or lack thereof, according to Bloch.
"The grand irony in all this is something I worry the general public might not realize - namely, that journalists follow ethical codes and face losing our jobs and getting blacklisted by the industry if we so much as think about presenting 'fake news.' (Although, even these kinds of ethical standards have ways of being warped, as the president's favorite news channel knows all too well.)," she writes.