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     Fake news: A type of hoax, a deliberate spread of misinformation (false information), be it via the traditional print or broadcasting news media or via Internet-based social media. To qualify as fake news, a story has to be written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically — Wikipedia.

“Fake news” is in the news these days.

The term gained traction during the presidential campaign of 2016 and it continues to this day.

Since “fake news” has become so vexing for consumers, here’s one way to combat it: Turn your dial to Jerry Oster, veteran news director of WNAX radio.

Some may take this as an unpaid commercial for WNAX, but it is not. The Yankton radio station and I go way, way back.  Back to a time when I stood on a kitchen chair in the old farmhouse with my ear to the AM radio, listening to the Lone Ranger and the William Tell Overture theme song.

And later, on some Saturdays, the station would actually play rock ’n’ roll songs, especially Elvis.  Quite a breakthrough for the staid, farm oriented WNAX, home to Whitey Larson, George B. German, Norm Hilson and Wynn Speece, your Neighbor Lady.

Then, as now, the news was straightforward without frills.  No bias. No spin. No agenda.  And Oster, an Aberdeen native, has been delivering the straight stuff for more than 40 years, starting at WNAX in 1976. Before that, he worked for radio stations in his hometown and found time to graduate from Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, and attended USD/S in Springfield.  That was where he became more intimately acquainted with the southeast portion of the state, and especially the garden spot, Yankton and Lewis and Clark Lake.

No wonder that he and his wife, Cheryl, and four boys thought it was just the right place to put down some roots.

Getting unvarnished news is harder than ever, mainly because many news organizations have decided it’s OK to have an “agenda” or a slant on the news.  It’s not, but “fake news” continues to proliferate, in part because some consumers don’t care if it’s untrue as long as it fits their point of view. is an Internet site that checks news stories for accuracy. One story it investigated was a quote attributed to Donald Trump that said he thought Republicans were the “dumbest group of voters in the country.” The quote was another example of “fake news” and how it can take on a life of its own. Comedian Amy Schumer later admitted: “Yes, this quote is fake, but it doesn’t matter.”

But of course it does matter, which is why professional news people like Jerry Oster matter.

I just wish there were more like him in the news business.

April 26, 2017