I’d be relatively unsurprised to later find out that my blog post for this week was the most viewed and read, not because of my stellar writing skills (which I assure you, they are far from stellar), but just because of my headline. Yes, it seems that nowadays in America the flashier headline always wins, even if it sacrifices the truth for entertainment.
This cosmic rise in “fake news” can be attributed to several factors. The immense power of the Internet has led to almost every person in the world is connected to one source which means that spreading a false news story can still reach millions of people and influence them. With huge social media sites like Facebook not doing a great job in providing a barrier from these sources and their articles, the opportunities for clickbait authors are endless. Another factor that must be looked at is the realization that the political environment in America is very polarized. Just like a magnet causes a dipole that separates positive and negative charges, a “magnate” has caused further division in America (feel free to use this whenever you need a crappy pun). Having Donald Trump as our President has caused a gap to widen between the left and right, so much so that the moderate population has started to thin. The enlarging of the gap has led to a more emotional tie to left and right such that sometimes logic isn’t the overlying basis behind a political opinion. Like the Samantha Bee video for this week shows, people on the right need their political ideologies validated in the form of a news story that proves that what they believe in is, well, right. What this video fails to show is that the same occurs for people on the left as well. Even though our President causes some outlandish stories to actually come true, there are still plenty of articles that falsely accuse him and members of the alt-right movement, especially Milo Yiannopoulos. The protests in Berkeley and the other countless disruptions at his events add to the problem. So in reality, while false articles tend to lean towards satisfying conservative appetites, the fake news sword is in fact double-edged.
This poses a problem for all Americans, Democrat or Republican. Our abandonment of logic has led to the lowering of our standard of journalism. We no longer care about the quality of the source, but rather if we like the headline or not. Whatever happened to unbiased journalism and reporting the facts? In my opinion, I think Americans need to take a step back and completely rethink the way we all discuss and ponder politics. We need to detach ourselves from our emotions and start thinking about policy in a logical sense. In that way, fake news and outrageous headlines won’t be distracting and the gap between the two parties can shrink. I know it is hard, especially in this current day and age, to be unemotional but it is imperative if we want to be able to fix journalism and how we view the news. This is just my view on how we can combat fake news, what are your strategies to fix this problem? How big of a factor are the weak restrictions implemented by social media outlets in the sudden rise of fake news?