It is such a great story, the latest allegations relating to Mr Trump and Russia seem too fantastic to be true, but maybe fake news is only fake when it is about the people you disagree with.
The narrative can fool us. We all like a good story, and anthropologists believe that evolution may have hardwired into us an ability to learn more effectively when information is presented in the form of a narrative. So the ancients sat around the fire, heard stories about the spirits, and the experience served to cement group cohesion, but may also have provided lessons on the natural world. A by-product was that we began to worship animal deities.
Maybe, sometimes when we hear a story, we recall the lesson but forget the rationale. So, if a particular reason to hold a certain belief goes away, we continue to hold that belief.
We saw this just before the US election. Hillary Clinton was way ahead in the opinion polls. Ten days before the election, the FBI re-opened its investigation into the Clinton emails and her popularity plummeted. When, on the eve of the election, the FBI concluded that its investigation had found no evidence to incriminate Mrs Clinton, her standing in the opinion polls barely changed.
The narrative of ‘crooked Hillary’ stuck, when key evidence lost significance, people’s views didn’t change.
According to one fake news story, after the election, Mrs Clinton got drunk and went home and beat-up her husband Bill. It is complete nonsense, but the telling of this tale leaves an impression that can linger.
The latest allegations about Mr Trump, and golden showers in a Moscow hotel room where Barack Obama had stayed, would provide material to create a movie to make 50 Shades of Grey seem. . . well, very grey.
Alas, it seems highly unlikely the stories are true – if only they were.
And while the anti-Trump brigade may have good reasons for holding their various views, it is important to be consistent. They cannot lament how media stories based on little evidence destroyed Mrs Clinton hopes, but then celebrate when equally implausible stories damage the credibility of Mr Trump.
Neither can you dismiss as rubbish unlikely stories that criticise your political choice, but believe equally unlikely stories that criticise people you disagree with.
Then again, if you play with fire, expect to get burnt. Mr Trump has done a lot of fire playing.
You may be interested to note that a few days before Mr Trump likened the latest allegations to Nazi Germany, Bill Gross, one of the world’s most successful investors of the last few decades, compared Trump’s policies to those of Mussolini.