Fake news is not the news you disagree with. And neither is it what President Donald Trump says it is.

By Kathy English for the Toronto Star

There is nothing new about critical readers expressing their concerns about what they read in the Star in strong words. My in-box, and those of most other journalists here, is evidence of that.

What is new in recent weeks however is the fact some of those critics are increasingly hurling a new term of insult our way to express disdain about what they read in the Toronto Star: Fake News.

We are seeing this degrading label now in emails, in Facebook and Instagram comments and in tweets directed at the Star and its journalists.

“Go report some real news and stop contributing to fake news,” one such reader told Daniel Dale, the Star’s Washington correspondent.

“Sounds like an alternative fact to me. Fake news,” said a reader who disagreed with a report on road tolls written by David Rider, the Star’s City Hall bureau chief.

“More fake news from the Toronto Star. Sad,” said a reader critical of a Washington Post wire service report about President Donald Trump’s first week in office.

“Sadly, your biased, incorrect and fake news is the reason your newspaper is struggling,” another told me. “Readers want facts.”

Here are the facts: The charge of “fake news” is now being thrown at the mainstream media, by largely partisan critics, as an all-encompassing derisive epithet, largely devoid of its original, and accurate, meaning.