The deception of "Fake News"
For the past couple hundred years, it has been the media’s job to inform the public about things going on in their community, their country, and their world. They would go to many lengths to unravel the truth in the world. Today’s media isn’t commonly known for this.
In the past election there was an incredible amount of fake news spreading around social medias and the news networks. It is argued that these false reports affected the outcome of the election. For example, there was a man named Eric Tucker who lived in Austin Texas. In November he was on his way to work. While he was driving he saw a large amount of Clinton buses that just so happened to be located a couple miles away from the anti-Trump rally. Tucker assumed that Clinton hired the people to protest Trump. He tweeted about it saying, “Anti-Trump protesters in Austin today are not as organic as they seem. Here are the buses they came in” (New York Times). Tucker posted photos of the Clinton buses along with this tweet. After a couple days, Tucker’s tweet was shared thousands of times. People around the country were outraged that Clinton would do something so unfair and corrupt.
A couple days later Tucker was informed that those buses were not used by the protesters. Tucker eventually deleted his tweet, and replaced it with one showing that the paid-protester tweet was actually false (New York Times). Sadly, this tweet was only retweeted about 26 times in 24 hours. This is just one example of how quickly fake news spreads in our country without checking facts.
Another story that was shared was one that said that the FBI agent who discovered Clinton’s emails was mysteriously found dead. This was not a true story, but that didn’t matter. This story came out days before the election, probably changing people’s decisions on who to vote for. False claims did come out about Trump and his campaign as well. Both candidates were affected by these false claims.
This is a huge problem in our country today. People are changing our country based on false information and impulse decisions. The obvious way to fix this issue is fact checking, however people don’t usually do that. Instead they share what they believe, and they just hope that it’s true. Sadly, with many people thinking this way, this increases the amount of fake news that’s spreading.
It’s not just that fake news spreads, but it spreads like wildfire. There are multiple reasons for this. One reason is because people have a way of believing what they want to be true. So if a diehard Republican sees a post about Clinton killing an FBI agent, or a Democrat sees a post on Trump talking bad about African-Americans, then they’ll be naturally inclined to believe it. Now, it’s not bad to believe what you want to believe, but to believe something there should be a significant amount of evidence supporting whatever your beliefs are. (CNN)
Have you ever been affected by fake news
Besides the issue of spreading lies across the country, there is another major problem that is coming from the popularity of fake news. This is an issue of separation in our country. Most of the people that spread fake news want to believe the lies so much that they’ll argue with the opposite political party, and with facts. This is causing the Republican and Democratic parties to distance themselves from each other. Which is a terrible thing to happen in our country. Abraham Lincoln said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand”(House Divided Speech). I believe that this is very true. And our country is showing signs of becoming even more divided based on their political identity. I believe that if this issue does not get resolved soon, there may be some even bigger problems to arise in the United States. There needs to be unity in our country. That’s the only way that we can prosper and influence the world in a more positive manner.
Back to the fake news topic. People have noticed how unhealthy spreading fake news is, so they’ve started to come up with ways to stop it. Facebook has been one of the main places for fake stories to thrive, so they’ve come up with ways to stop spreading fake news. They decided to not delete all the fake stories on their site. That would take up too much time, and be a violation of Americans freedom of speech. But they did come up with a way to hinder the beliefs of those stories. Facebook has started to flag stories that a false. They flag these stories with a notification that says “Disputed” on the post. This will tell viewers that this post may be true. However, they must not take it as complete fact. This is definitely a step in the right direction, but Facebook’s new “disputed” tag won’t fix everything.
There are many problems in our country, but there are very few that affect every single citizen. Even though not every American is on Facebook, fake news still affects them. This issue is shaping our country in a negative and destructive way, damaging the chance all Americans have of benefiting the world. We are all losing our voices in subjects that matter because we’re being drowned out by claims based on false beliefs and selfish lies.
There are many examples of false stories besides political ones as well. For example, in April of 2016 there was a story being past around that the NBA cancelled it’s 2017 All-Star game in North Carolina. The story explained that it was cancelled in retaliation against the state’s anti-gay bathroom bill. This was definitely a fake article. It originated from a fake news site that was pretending to be ABC news. Eventually other news sites like NBC and the Cleveland saw this article and decided to also share it. Millions of people shared this story, being outraged by the game’s cancellation. Eventually, it became clear that the game was not cancelled. However, the whole ordeal was pointless. All it did was upset a lot of people.
If there was no fake news being spread around by news networks or individual people our country would benefit a huge amount. People would be informed properly about situations happening around the world. They wouldn’t debate over if an article is true or not, because they would know for certain that it is true. Then people would spend more of their time knowing what is true, and not wasting their time on false beliefs. It would also help unite our country. People wouldn’t share fake articles because it’s what they want to believe, they’d either post a true article or not post anything. They’d have to make judgements on politics, sports, and international situations, based on facts instead of opinion. Of course there are always subjective opinions. But without fake news there’d be a clear distinction between objective and subjective statements in our media in the United States.