From the past election season to now, our country and its social media are fighting the epidemic known as fake news.
People log in to Facebook or Twitter and see headlines on their newsfeed such as “Penguins now responsible for cancer,” or “The Second Amendment threatened by preschoolers.” Of course, these are ridiculous headlines, but more people are able to fabricate fake news that can easily be believable if readers don’t spend an extra 10 seconds researching it on Google.
Also, who are the readers blaming? The guy in his basement who bought a public domain site to write a fake article? No, people are blaming the media, not only for fake news, but also for credible information that some people can’t or won’t accept as fact. So, how do we fix it?
First, understand that fake news can be easily sorted out by simply taking a minute out of your time to research what you read. Websites such as Snopes or Politifact are great at debunking myths and telling the real, objective truth.
Second, when reading news, be aware that some sites have an obvious bias toward one side or the other. Traditional media is usually good at being objective without infusing their own political agenda into their coverage. Some particularly good examples include foreign news outlets, especially British newspapers such as The Guardian or The Independent. On the other hand, if stories from other organizations that contain the words “liberal” or “conservative” in their names, they often contain unsubstantiated opinions and, in many cases, facts skewed to benefit the publication’s preferred side.
Third, if you really want to hear differing opinions without political correctness and raw truth, Youtube and online streaming services have news shows that can easily quench that thirst. The Philip DeFranco Show is notably one of the best shows for this after receiving the “Best Show of the Year” and “Best News/Culture” at the 2016 Streamy Awards. He often takes current events, gives viewers the lowdown on what’s happening, tells his honest opinion and encourages viewers to comment their opinions and views on different stories. Others include Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and The Young Turks.
Lastly, we at The Pacer want you to know that the only agenda we and other media outlets with traditional values have is to report news and inform the public. Sure, we have fact-based opinion pieces in the Viewpoints section, but the main goal is to tell the truth and give out facts, whether we like it or not. To blame the media for purposely giving out fake news is like blaming a dog for giving you allergies. Sure, you’re allergic to dogs, but you have the responsibility to realize that allergy and take steps to avoid it.
While the fake news epidemic is still going, happy researching and may the credible facts and statistics be ever in your favor.