Fake News Police

The new term Fake News is a rehash of the term propaganda. Propaganda is an ancient concept. The definition from the Oxford dictionary is “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.”
It has been used by various rulers as far back as c. 515 BC, Darius I with the Behistun Inscription. In modern journalism, propaganda (fake news) can be spotted by paying attention to articles that include anonymous sources and excessive adjectives. Fake news is not hard to find. It exists on both far left and far right news sites. An example is “The White House, which is in complete disarray, announced today the appointment of…” To add the words, complete disarray, is adding propaganda to what should be a straight news story. This technique has been used by major media outlets continuously for decades. The most reputable news media outlets, in past times, would fire a reporter who added words like this to a piece. Today it is encouraged and is promulgated by news sources across the planet.
Now we have self-appointed Fake News Police, that claim to have the authority to point out, or censor, what they deem to be fake news. Facebook and Google both have announced that they are now Fake News Police. President Trump has labeled CNN a fake news site. His followers chant anti-CNN slogans at his rallies. CNN is charged with loading its news panels with only anti-Trump pundits. To check if this is true, one can watch and listen for any panelist to exclaim that the new Trump administration is on track and doing a good job with what was promised in his campaign. Or, is all the talk from the panelists using adjectives that denounce the efforts of the new administration. After watching a few shows, then a viewer can determine if CNN is a fake news site or not?
The question has to be asked, “Who will police the Fake News Police?” The answer is the internet of things!
The ubiquitous internet allows all users to search and read topics of interest. There are, and will always be as long as the internet remains free and open, sources of material that will either support or oppose one’s viewpoint. If a person questions an article they have just read, they can easily search to find an opposing view. Google cannot police the internet, even though they are arguably the most powerful search engine, there are many others that readers can turn to.
The new narrative surrounding Fake News could only lead to dividing readers more unless people learn to seek opposing views. People tend to group into sources of similar interests, reading the sites their friends, family and those with like interests read. In order to ascertain different viewpoints about any issue, readers need to find sites that present opposing views. The question is, how many actually do that? With the heightened interest around news, in the middle of a media war with both sides of each issue taking shots at each other, the readers and viewers will have an easier time deciding, if they open their minds to the debate and read both sides from opposing media outlets. This is made easier in today’s world of the internet as one can read opposing views with just a few clicks.

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