Rabbi Jonah Rank is the Maskil ("Teacher of tradition") at Shaar Shalom Synagogue in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Rabbi Rank was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2015.
When the humorist Dave Barry released his book Dave Barry’s Bad Habits: A 100% Fact-Free Book in 1987, he might not have foreseen that, just three decades later, the United States would have become such a major player in promoting fact-free political discourse. The low bar of entry that permits most Americans access to the internet and the only slightly higher bar that permits most Americans to create web content of any kind have helped bring us to where we are today. When reading articles shared on digital media, if the facts don’t sound like the facts we’ve previously heard, we might ask if this news is real or not: Was it perhaps created from a fake-news website? Is this article actually based on found facts? Is this publication the eloquence of a gullible writer mistaking The Onion for news? Is this piece of journalism simply a collection of conspiracy theories all rooted in a series of truth-contorting tweets?