Let’s reverse engineer some truly fake news.

On Tuesday this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo did what he does every April: Make his previous year’s tax returns available for public view.

Cuomo’s returns this year showed $218,100 listed “royalties” for a low-selling memoir released in 2014.

His office said the money was the fulfillment of a contract with publisher HarperCollins for the book, “All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life.”

Reporters filed their stories for a dog-bites-man daily.

The Buffalo News’s story — a for-the-record account of the taxes and the book revenue — is then picked up by the International Business Times, an investigative website that presents its scoops with some flair. The story took note of that HarperCollins’s parent company, News Corp., has lobbied the state over the years.

The International Business Times piece — heavy on the News Corp. angle — was then picked up by a conspiratorial kook website called Gateway Pundit, which I won’t link to.

The site questioned whether the governor’s father had ties to the Mafia (an anti-Italian slur the Cuomo family has staunchly denied and has been pretty much debunked, even linking to a New York Magazine piece that noted most of the rumors had been debunked) and suggested News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife was a Communist spy.

It concludes the money may have been a pay off to aid Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid… in Democratic heavy New York. Big if true, since it would have gone down in history as one of the world’s worst and most pointless bribes.

This is bunk. It makes it hard to report on actual stuff going on in New York state government (and there’s a lot) that people can actually trust and differentiate from the crackpot numbskullery.