“Oh boy….remember the good ol’ days when George Bush was president?”. You’ve probably haven’t ever heard that thought spoken and I don’t blame you. I mean, George Bush was….George Bush. But with our current political situation, you might just hear someone say that very phrase. You may even hear them talk about “fake news”. Oh fake news, you little wretch….poking your way into every conversation these days that even has a hint of a political context to it….fuck you, fake news. Fuck. You.
No but really, what is this fake news that we have all been hearing so much about. It seems like its almost a buzzword that mostly conservatives use to try to discount any statement of facts that reflect negatively on their political party. Just imagine if they could have used the “fake news excuse” when they were children.
Mother- “Johnney! Your principal called and told me you cheated on your math test!”
Johnney-“Mom, its just fake news.”
Mother- **eyebrow raise
Johnney- “He’s a Democrat.”
Mother- “OHHH, okay. So that means that everything he is saying should be discounted as over sensitive, non-logical hogwash since it doesn’t apply directly to western/christian thought!!”
Okay, so maybe that was a little over the edge…. but still, you get the point. At this point in time in American society and politics, things are getting pretty dicey in terms of political division. If a Democrat and a Republican end up having an attempt at a political dialogue it usually ends up with the two making equally valid points which then frustrate the other. This then leads to the Democrat calling the Republican a bigot or a homophobe and the Republican telling the Democrat that his or her logic is based off of fake news.
Both are usually wrong. The majority of people aren’t bigoted or homophobic. And the majority of news sources that are mass mediated throughout the United States are not fake. While news sources like Fox News and MSNBC tend to slant stories to the right and the left of the political spectrum respectively, they don’t provide fake information. And while they both may feature certain types of stories more often to create social chatter about a topic, that doesn’t change the fact that they are still telling a story that was authored by a professional journalist. Its not fake.
Its when news sources involve non professional journalist sources when you start to get into the fake news sectors. The integrity of a Journalist is debatably their most important professional quality. A large part of integrity includes credibility.
Currently, there has been a growth in the amount of different news sources. While the top news sources remain, there are more options. This is due to the fact that anyone with a computer and an internet connection can spread their thoughts to the rest of the world. We now live in a day where news and journalism is changing. And perhaps for the worse. Satire, trolling, and name-calling have become an integral part of some news sources from the alt-left and alt-right. Thousands of fake news sites exist but many aren’t too popular. While many fake news sites are recognized as being illegitimate, its sometimes more important just to know from the get-go which websites have been a source of fake news. Here is a list of sites that have been accused of
Buzzfeed is largely watched by people of the left whereas Breitbart is largely watched by those of the right. What especially strikes me as interesting is just how much Buzzfeed has increased its political content in the past year or so. Because of this, they have become much more of a “news” website to people of the alt-left. This is dangerous since Buzzfeed is a company that isn’t based on journalism but is more towards entertainment. People are entertained when they hear what they want to hear. Unfortunately, people don’t always want to hear the truth.
When it comes to my own political decisions, I try to maintain both sides of the argument (The Liberal side and the Conservative side) in order to convene at a midpoint. I believe a moderate approach is the best way at reaching a truthful solution. Unfortunately, going to extremes can be easy. It’s easy to engage in a group think mentality and surround yourself with other people who have similar thoughts or belief systems. We see this coming to fruition with the lately rabid following of Milo Yiannopoulis by the conservative side and the Liberal-biased new sources such as Buzzfeed that is lauded as true and valid news by many a leftist. Nevertheless unchallenged belief is weak belief. That is why discourse and dialogue are so crucial to reaching a solid understanding of any topic. The ancient greek philosopher Aristotle brings up this idea multiple times. Discourse is part of politics and is crucial to democracy. Politics should be about a negotiation between people from different views and beliefs to reach the decision that is best for everyone in society
When it comes down to it, I see the news media as being a reflection of reality. It is not a reality in itself. News media takes stories that are salient and relevant at the time and frames them in a way that will gain approval.
Currently in America, the divide between Republicans and Democrats feels greater than it ever has before. Accordingly, news media has reflected this. While Fox News spreads coverage about President Donald Trump and all the work he is accomplishing, CNN insinuates his impeachment. Even our main sources of news have ended up being more extreme in their political bias. With the amount of fake news that is available and being created by any Tom, Dick, or Harry, our system of communication in the United States has become all the more murky.
Regardless of political party, there will be bias involved in communication. There will be dishonesty involved in communication. Mass Media is no exception to this .