What a time to be alive, what a time to be journalist. Wait…is it?
Surely it is, I mean there is a constant stream of news and stories, you have global events and decision that are shaping the future of the world, and its happening as we speak. Whether they’re going to be positive or negative, who knows but one things for sure, it going to make great news, right?
Being someone who is from the UK, my news will be mostly about western content, and what are the biggest stories so far, two come to mind. Brexit and Donald Trump becoming the 45th president of the United States of America.
Now I’m not going to share my opinion on these topics because who cares right. But more importantly that’s not the point of this post. I want to talk about these phrases Fake news and Post Truth. Let me give you some context to why I’m talking about this, I’ll set the scene you’re in a taxi or a talking to a colleague at work. They ask you what do you do at university, ok a pretty average question. My response is “oh I study journalism” with a smile on my face. They proceed with “So you’re a lying bastard then.” Wait! What?! I mean What?! I studied journalism and want to be a journalist because it is a great source of knowledge for the world. A way to tell the stories of those without a voice, a way to hold those in power to account and most importantly a way to tell the truth!
So Post Truth and Fake News. Lets break this down, Post Truth is defined as ‘Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’ and Fake News is basically what is says on the tin. Brexit and Donald Trump’s becoming president are where these phrase came to for front of the public eye.We had promises made by the leave campaign such as £350 million a week to the NHS and also all the this scaremongering which was pushed by the remain campaign. We are two months away from the UK triggering Article 50 and leaving the EU officially and yet no one really has no idea as what is going to happen. Now I’m not saying it going to be awful nor am I saying it will the best thing since sliced bread. Post Truth was coined in the light of the EU referendum as politicians went back on their promises, I’ve heard people say to me that call it what you want Post Truth is basically lying.
Believe it or not but Fake News has been around for ages, but again it took a major event like Donald Trump presidential campaign to give it some lime light. Deny it of you want, but Fake News certainly had a substantial effect on America’s search for the 45th president. Stories like the Donald Trump quote calling Republicans the dumbest voters, the FBI agent suspected of leaking Hillary Clinton’s emails was found dead in an apparent murder-suicide, Pope Francis backing Trump for the White House, and that Donald Trump was born in Pakistan. Yes, these were all stories that came from the race and guess what, all Fake News. Some of these stories were run by respected news outlets in the US and the UK. When they were found to be fake caused an uproar by the public and led to a lack of trust in journalism and journalists. Which is something that worries me a great deal.
Its this notice of being first, being the first one to get the story out, the first to get the scoop, which I feel had led to Fake News. Not checking their sources to see if the facts are true. That’s the problem people will share it because it’s what they want to hear for example the recent article bad mouthing Trump with allegation like this Russian prostitution golden shower story, people will share it because they want it to be true and then those wrote it will make money from the clicks and shares or then you find out its was made up by a 14 yr old kid.
But what scares me is those in powerful position are now using Fake News to their benefit, such as Donald Trump attacking CNN and BuzzFeed by calling them ‘Fake News’ or ‘garbage’. This spells danger to me, because then I feel we lose that source that educates the world, that way of giving those without a voice a chance to be heard and a way to hold those in power to account. I’m not saying believe everything that is written, because at the end of the day it is truly up to yourself if you believe what has been written or reported.
Just don’t lose faith in journalism.