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Journalists are losing their voice in Trump's America

by Breonnah Colón Editor-in-Chief
Tue, Sep 11th 2018 05:00 pm
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We’ve come to a very interesting point in society. People have more access than ever before to information, can interact faster and with more people than before, and can put information into the world with an ease that was never before an option. The technology that has become so integrated into our everyday lives have changed the way we interact so drastically, sometimes younger generation are completely oblivious to how things ran 10 years ago. 

With this great influx of social interaction comes a not so great development, or rather a increase in lack of development: people can’t discern the difference between what’s real or fake anymore - particularly in regard to information.

We’ve entered a point in society where so many people are technologically savvy that all online content is considered to have the same status to the general public. This means that news sources are viewed and therefore treated the same as blogs personal sites where content may be more focused on catering to a particular perspective rather than illustrating a clear cut picture in the fairest way possible. The general confusion of what a reliable news source is  paired with heightened sense of entitlement to only hear with what you agree with and the lack of proper leadership by important figure in our country, namely Donald Trump, we are in the age of ‘fake news.’

In order to truly understand proper news coverage we must first go over what ‘fake news’ is. Since this is a relatively new term, there isn’t really an exclusively used definition. However, there is a general understand of what ‘fake news’ is. Wikipedia defines the phrase as “a type of propaganda or yellow journalism that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media.” 

This definition basically explains that fake news is intentionally false and spread with the intent to manipulate audiences into believing and even acting on this false information. Urban dictionary takes this definition a step further, explaining there are different categories fake news can fall under. These categories are:

Omission: when a source intentionally avoids particular facts which are critical to fully understand and reacting to a situation or information.

Selective Outrage: when a source refers to an event or information with a clear cut bias, purposefully avoiding information that may go against the narrative, giving the sense that particular perspective is the only one.

Emotive: when a source establishes a story in which the narrative focuses more on the emotion of the audience rather than the actual story itself, thus skewing an audience’s perspective.

Outright Lie: when a source refers to or quotes information that is blatantly untrue and either proven or known to be incorrect.

It’s extremely important that we realize the phrase ‘fake news’ is used far too easily, far too frequently and oftentimes without proper reason. The most prominent figure to use this phrase is our president and it should noted that his use is frequently based on his misunderstanding of news as well as his inability to ever have anything other than his own twisted thoughts be applauded and agreed with. The fact of the matter is, that’s not the role of news outlets. As The Atlantic explains, “The role of the press is to ask hard questions and refuse to be deterred.” Highlighting the plight and injustices that plague our country is exactly the sort of thing journalists are supposed to be doing, no matter how inconvenient that may be to others. 

It’s become quite apparent to those in the field that the general public has become less and less trusting of news outlets. Both Forbes and Business Insiders have cited a sharp critique of journalists by everyday citizens. The general public isn’t aware of what fake news truly is, so all news is considered to be problematic. What we all have to realize is that no one will give you the knowledge we need. That must be done for and by ourselves. 

News outlets are meant to convey information, not tell the public how to think. While fake news certainly is problematic in the sense that it can heighten extremist agenda and potentially result in the mistreatment of minority groups, the fact of the matter is those who act in that way do so of their own accord.

Fake news would not be a concept if people took it upon themselves to actually be properly informed and weren’t merely looking for others to be a source of information and tell them how to think. News, like most everything in this control, is established for the people. Therefore, the people - the general public, must take it upon itself to properly and responsibly take in information handed. 

 

stylus@brockport.edu | @B_CO___

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