Fake News. It's a trending topic. But why? I still can't fathom how many people fall for these stories. I was brought up to not just believe everything I've read or heard...but am I a dying breed?
To be honest, I don't even take "real" news as fact anymore. The line between news and opinion has become so blurred it's hard to tell what is what anymore. Fun Fact: I wrote a paper in college (over 15 years ago!) on the blurring of news and gossip; this is NOT a new topic, just a trending one.
Even our current President Elect, Donald Trump, is spreading fake news (note: I'm not getting political here, just using a public figure as an example). He consistently tweets articles without checking sources, spreading misinformation. Because of his position of power, people take him at his word and then use the "news" as fact.
Seriously, whatever happened to doing a little research before you spread the word or form a concrete opinion? Are people really going to believe anything that sounds good and fits their preconceived notions?
Fake news brings out the worst of us all, especially on social media. I know several older relatives posting and defending news stories on Facebook that were clearly and completely false. While I gently let them know these stories were incorrect and pointed them to verified stories on the subject, others were quick to leap to the defense of the story and tell me to stop by "liberal nonsense". Side note: at this point, I hadn't disclosed my political thoughts, just posted more accurate information.
Clicking on the stories only led to massive amounts of the most vile comments you could imagine. People calling others the most horrible names that I would never repeat or say. All over an inaccurate news stories. Democrat or Republican, they went after anyone with a different opinion with a vengeance and fury I had never witnessed before. Furthermore, so many of these people were blatantly ignorant on the subjects they were battling over; the amount of fallacies in their argument was astonishing.
I'm sure you've seen it too so I'll stop my rant there and move on. What can we do to fix it? Let's go back to the days where you analyze things before you take a stance on an issue. Fill our lives and conversations with facts. Take any "news" with a grain of salt and research the subject. I'm ready to take on this challenge - will you join me?
Megan A. Dutta