You raise a lot of very valid points, but I don’t know if identification of the cause can be so simple. There is a lot of “fake news” for the same reason there is a lot of pollution — everyone is throwing garbage into the environment, and everyone is throwing misinformation into the information field. To try and access any real, true set of facts in this day and age feels impossible.
Real information is deeply hidden and/or completely ignored by mainstream media outlets. Meanwhile, everyone spreads incorrect or biased information/propaganda all through out social media which moves with the efficiency of a deadly virus. Also just the fact that there is so much information, coming at us, all the time, from so many different angles — how do we process it?
There isn’t even time to process all of the information coming at us - no matter it’s state of veracity and authenticity. Most people just give up and take the information that is most easiest to process, (that which reinforces their world view fed to them via filters in their bubbles) or refuse to deal with the information at all.
The question of our age is what happens when everyone attempts to manipulate information for their own purposes and tosses it out into a field of information that is basically not being controlled by anyone anymore?
I think, reality sort of distorts; and I think that is what we are living through - a distorted reality. Think about it, people cannot agree on what “real” news is. What is fake news to one, is totally real and authentic and true news beyond any reasonable doubt to another. How do people create what is true? Why is anything considered “real.” It is considered real because a group of people agree that it is. So now, you have, via social media, large groups of people agreeing to all kinds of sets of information. Some people live in a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophopic America where black and brown lives are under attack and women are constantly being sexually assaulted. There is a ton of information to back this all up. Other people live in a multicultural America where white people are the new minority under attack losing everything they have worked so hard for, and if only it weren’t for all those others, this wouldn’t be happening. There is also a ton of information to back these experiences up. All of this is very real to the people experiencing these things.
There is so much information out there, and people only want to pay attention to the information that suits their world view; and then there are those at higher levels who simply seek to manipulate all of this information and the people attaching to it as if they were pawns on the chessboard.
When it comes to fake news, it’s just like Pogo said, “We have met the enemy - and he is us.”