“FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn't tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad!” President Donald Trump typed. On another occasion, another tweet about fake news appeared on the POTUS’s Twitter: “The FAKE NEWS media… is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” Fake news is an increasing concern on the online world, and as of recent the media seems to be the center of attention in politics. The GOP even published an article dubbed the “The Highly-Anticipated 2017 Fake News Awards.” News outlets like CNN, The New York Times, NBC, and many other popular outlets are being labeled as fake- but why, all of a sudden, do media outlets all fall under the category of fake news? People go after journalists like hunting dogs on an injured duck. First, the statistics on this phenomenon provide a good starting point to get an idea of what the people are thinking. According to a poll conducted via The Crier’s Twitter page, 65% of people do not trust the mainstream media, compared to the 31% of people that expressed they do. 4% reported not following any publications. On a global scale however the statistics on trust are much worse; one may see the change in how the people view the press over time. According to Gallup, in 1997 a majority of the public trusted news agencies. 53% of the public said they had a “fair amount” or “a great deal” of trust in the mass media. Almost two decades later in 2016, this percentage had plummeted to a sad 32%. This trend is troubling, especially in an age where online press as well as newspapers and news stations are critical in getting information around. A large majority of the population reads newspapers- 69% in 2016, according to a Nielsen Scarborough study. On top of that, 57% of people reported that they often get their news from nightly network, cable, or local television news. These two mediums can be considered the go-to for how people consume publications published by news outlets. It doesn’t make sense to spend so much of one’s time on these sources, and then deny them being credible. It can argued that the spread of false information is a problem, and that point would be correct to some degree. Fake news, such as what was spread on Facebook around the 2016 presidential election, can be an issue online. What many people miss though is that this information is usually spread about by individual users or small and unreliable news producers, and not mainstream press outlets. Journalists are sometimes fed false information from faulty sources; therefore it isn’t really their fault when something misleading slips, so long as they let their readers know. Similarly, the hysteria around fake news in the most popular press is different from other types of false news. Most of the time, claims about an article or outlet as a whole being fake are made by people who don’t agree with the information being presented. Usually, this information is political and can be biased one way or another. While fake news is on the rise, there is a way to stop this unfair treatment on all sides. When consuming media, keep in mind whether or not the information has sources and is published from a credible outlet. There still are some websites that will pose as real news sites to dupe readers. As for reading news one doesn’t necessarily agree with, keep in mind there are different sides to all things. Just because one doesn’t like what is being published, it doesn’t mean the information is faked. Above all, be mindful (and don’t blame the journalist).
Story by Katie Heffernan