The concept of “fake news” is not new by any stretch of the imagination. Over centuries people have invented stories of all types and dimensions. From dragons to the “fake” moon landing, from the Masons behind every political conspiracy to the Jews trying to control the world, there have been complex stories that try to indict entire peoples or nations with all kinds of atrocities. One of the most famous is the “black legend” (or leyenda negra), according to which Spain has been the culprit for everything bad that happened in the western hemisphere for centuries.
As Alfredo Alvar described it in his book “La Leyenda Negra,” the black legend is “a careful distortion of the history of a nation, perpetrated by its enemies, in order to better fight it. And a distortion as monstrous as possible, with the goal of achieving a specific aim: the moral disqualification of the nation, whose supremacy must be fought in every way possible.”
Unfortunately, not only countries but entire human activities, like higher education, can be the victims of black legends.