The Slatest

Bashar al-Assad Uses Phrase Fake News in Dismissing Amnesty International Torture Report

A portrait of Bashar al-Assad at a soccer match played on Jan. 28 in Aleppo.

George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty Images

First, fake news was the name for the viral hoax sites created by Macedonian teenagers, among others, to game Facebook’s algorithms with phony pieces about made-up political scandals. Next, fake news became something that Donald Trump and his supporters call any (real) news story they don’t like.

Now the phrase has apparently spread far enough that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is using it to dismiss independently collected evidence of his regime’s crimes against humanity. From Yahoo:

“You can forge anything these days,” Assad said when asked about a new Amnesty International report estimating that between 5,000 and 13,000 prisoners were killed in a “calculated campaign of extrajudicial execution” at a military prison outside of Damascus between 2011 and December 2015. “We are living in a fake news era.”

On some days, it seems like everything, everywhere, is just bad.