Though it’s certainly the worst Photoshop job I have ever seen, a provocative image making the rounds on social media also helps demonstrate why the fight against “fake news” is unwinnable.

Let’s set the scene: Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett is surrounded by his jubilant colleagues in the team locker room, all of whom appear to be madly celebrating their teammate’s decision to torch a giant American flag. The image apparently originated on Facebook weeks ago and had been shared thousands of times before it found its way to me. Yet even a cursory review of it would suggest to the critical observer that something is amiss.

For example, all of Bennett’s teammates are looking directly at him and not the blazing flag he’s holding. Even Bennett is looking away from the object of his hatred. Despite being almost entirely engulfed, the flag shows no signs of charring. There is no smoke, nor is there apparently any heat; Bennett is leaning into the flames. Despite being well outside the usual flag-burning demographic, head coach Pete Carroll is ebulliently observing the spectacle. You would think someone might be concerned that setting a blaze inside the tiny, windowless locker room might set off the sprinkler system. This demonic ritual seems to have so possessed our subjects that they are prepared to suffer smoke inhalation and minor burns; such is their commitment to hating America the protector of the faith, Donald Trump.

You don’t need to dig up a debunking of this image (there are several) to know it is propaganda, and weak sauce at that. The fact is, thousands wanted this to be true. They wanted to imagine that their cultural adversaries are one-dimensional robots with a monomaniacal hatred of the country. Those who earnestly shared this image had to suspend disbelief, and then to cloister themselves in circles that would not expose them to evidence contradicting their preconceptions. This is why Washington’s fixation with “fake news” and containing its most damaging effects on the national political ecosystem are doomed. That is a battle against human nature itself.

For lawmakers, that sounds like a challenge, and many have accepted. On Thursday, Axios revealed that Senator John McCain will join two Democrats, Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar, in supporting a move to regulate social-media outlets like Facebook. A proposed amendment to the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which regulates campaign- and issues-related advertising on broadcast, cable, and satellite radio and television, would compel tech and social media firms to disclose advertisements that cost more than $500. Though this act has suffered previous rebukes in the courts, its provisions preventing foreign nationals from engaging in political spending have survived judicial scrutiny. Moreover, Axios indicates Silicon Valley is resigned to the prospect of interference from Washington. The writing is on the wall for social media, but that does not change the fact that expanding Washington’s regulatory power to the Internet is a solution in search of a problem.

According to Facebook, between June 2015 and May 2017, Russian propaganda outlets and Russia-linked agitators purchased about 3,000 divisive ads to the tune of $100,000. That amount of money could yield at least one impression for anywhere from 23 to 70 million people. That seems like a lot, but, in 2015 and 2016, Facebook took in more than $11 million directly from campaigns, to say nothing of legitimate outside groups and 501(c)s.

While “fake news” had more potential to be shared and consumed by those who get some news and information from social media, it’s not clear that it had any impact on shaping public opinion. A study conducted by New York University’s Hunt Allcott and Stanford’s Matthew Gentzkow published in January found that average news consumers were highly unlikely to recall a fake news headline and even less likely to believe them. Moreover, media consumers are much more likely to get their news from news outlets online, radio, and broadcast and cable television than social media.

The scourge is, for the most part, homegrown. Of course, there are notorious foreign enterprises, like the Macedonian “fake-news” factory that methodically pumped propaganda into websites to ham-fistedly target conservative readers. For example, the fake website ran a headline in 2016 that purported to expose Hillary Clinton saying she hoped people like Trump ran for office because “they’re honest and can’t be bought.”

That is an atypically sophisticated example of the genre. Much of the “fake news” that concerns lawmakers is made in the U.S.A, and the examples are less than inspiring. Among them are the revelations that Barack Obama planned to issue a “blanket pardon” to protect Clinton from prosecution for crimes of which she was already exonerated, the fact that the former first lady filed for divorce after the election, that Trump thinks being an atheist is a good business strategy, and that the FBI had issued a warrant for Obama’s arrest.

The problem for the crusaders attempting to impose temperance on those who imbibe “fake news” is that their efforts are misdirected. “Fake news” isn’t the menace; gullibility is.

These and thousands of other fake-news stories should inspire in responsible news consumers a hunger for confirmation. It takes an active commitment to ignorance to take salacious headlines from suspicious sites for gospel, and that’s not something Washington can regulate away. They would be more effective educating the public on what constitutes “fake news” and fostering a sense of curiosity in whoever is still looking to politicians for guidance. Ultimately, though, the problem is not for politicians to solve. If you want to believe the former president personally makes millions off of Obamacare’s “royalties,” nothing will stop you. And, frankly, it’s a waste of effort to try.

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