Several months ago I cited a 78-page Dutch National Police Investigation report that criticized Fake News in the media. In particular, this investigation debunked the outrageous claims of Cultural Property Nationalists, many of whom are American Institute of Archaeology members or colleagues, that the funding of ISIS is (or was) derived in large measure by the looting and sale of cultural artifacts. As I stated earlier, this claim was not universally supported within the archaeological community, but it did garner the support and encouragement of some "big name" leaders in that field. It was clearly a text book example of the "big lie" syndrome that was eagerly disseminated by the media without even rudimentary verification.
An indepth study by MIT scholars, recently reported in The Atlantic,
analyzed some 126,000 contested news stories that surfaced on Twitter.
Their finding has undeniably confirmed that the propensity to lie or
grossly exaggerate in the media, and consequently online, has risen to
alarming proportions. I suppose that some Archaeologists might feel
vindicated in that they were just following the Pack while creating and
feeding on the fallout from those Fake News claims of ISIS marketing
through the antiquities trade. Of course the lies were not innocent
little barbs, they were extremely destructive and irreversible. This
abdication of professional ethics is in itself a serious cause for
concern and could well lead to a backlash that those guilty of
supporting had not anticipated.
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