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Fake news entered our collective vocabulary during the
Trump presidency, but the concept is nothing new according
to the Head of Humanities and Creative Arts at the
University of Canterbury (UC), Associate Professor of
History Peter
Field
.

“Trumpians seemed to insist that fake
news was something new, but they’re wrong. Long, long ago
– 26 centuries ago in fact – Plato and Thucydides were
convinced that the democracy was being fed a false way of
seeing the world, that the intellectuals and teachers were
duping the people.”

Like Trump, the two Greeks were
outraged, however their contempt was directed at “the
decline and failure of their democracy”, rather than
potential damage to their own personal brand.

“Trump
blamed the media and the university-educated elites and the
deep state. Thucydides identified the culprits as Homer, the
Sophists and a bad education,” Associate Professor Field
says.

While the consequences of Trump’s presidency
continue to be debated, the ancient Greeks paved the way to
an outcome that still frames and influences our thinking
today.

“Plato and Thucydides were desperate to
replace the myths of Homer, the ‘fake news’ of ancient
times. Their replacement was science, a science applied to
city and people. We call that social
science.

“Athens seems to me to be the one place in
the world where one can sit among the ruins and feel not the
end but the beginning of
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