Fake news is now the new buzz word along with alternative facts and post truth. A lot of people are getting hot under the collar how to stop it.
Personally, I don’t see fake news as a problem. Well it is a problem but not one that is new. For a very long time the media have played fast and loose with the truth. I worry the fight against fake news could easily turn into censorship through the back door. The term fake news isn’t helpful it’s more stories that have been inaccurately interpreted or some facts have been given greater prominence while others ignored.
Don’t get me wrong there is some very bad reporting out there, I have read reports on right and left wing internet outlets that twist the facts so much it’s hard to tell what is the truth. The mainstream media can be just as bad. Many years ago, I went to a party conference and in the evenings, we would watch the news. I confess mainly to see if we can spot ourselves in the crowd scenes. The way the debates and ‘feeling form the floor’ was reported you would think we were at a different place.
The title said fake news isn’t the problem so what is? I’m afraid it’s you the reader. I believe the onus is on us the check what we read. It’s all too easy to read something that confirms our world view and assume it to be true. It’s all too easy dismiss something as fake because we don’t like it.
I avidly followed the US election although my opinion in that election didn’t really matter I can’t say I’m a fan of Trump. When one of the many storied surfaced saying something inappropriate in one of his rallies, I forget what, I just assumed it to be true. When the story broke, his side cried foul and it was taken out of context. I instantly thought well what else is he going to say? I saw the clip and it was very clear what he said. However, I’m must have been a bit bored that day so I do go back and watched the full clip and I was shocked to see he had been taken out of context. It didn’t change my view on Trump but it did make me check all the stories from then on.
What we need is a media outlet that reports the events honesty and without bias. That is not likely to happen so it’s up to us to check out these stories and not just read or watch the outlets that confirm our views. Check the whole clip, look for facts backing up what is being said and then check those facts!
Good luck with that and if you ever find an outlet that tells the truth without bias please let me know.