WARNING!!! This Post is Full of Sarcasm

sarcasm_big_bang_theory_signIn the weeks (oh God, I mean months, has it been that long?) since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the former (or current depending on who you ask) CEO of The Trump Organization has set his sights and most of his breath on “defeating” one particular foe. A foe so treacherous, Trump himself has declared them on Twitter, via his preferred presidential method of communication, the “enemy of the American people.”

Of course, I am talking about the press. You know that horrible, no good group of people doing their job and not destroying or taking any lives in return. They are terrible, aren’t they? (That was sarcasm if you couldn’t tell.)

Despite Trump’s totally unbiased and not-alarming-at-all declaration (again with the sarcasm), from an outside perspective, the press is doing rather well since Trump took office early this year. It must be difficult for reporters to try and do their jobs when arguably the most powerful man in the world (not sarcasm, but, God, do I wish it was), is doing everything in his power to discredit them and their work. But luckily for the American public, journalists aren’t weaklings. Take CNN for example. Despite being labeled as ‘fake news,’ the journalists with the 24-hour news organization persevered and continued to do their work, reporting the truth in a (mostly) non-biased fashion and standing up for the American new industry as a whole.

All in all, I would say that the majority of national new organizations are doing well under the current administration, who has made it clearly that any news not in alignment with its beliefs is unequivocally false. Regarding the purposes of journalism, meaning telling the truth and informing the American public, most are progressing rather well.

Admittedly, there are a small few organizations, mainly those that lie on the extreme right and left of the political spectrum, which are more interested in tarnishing the other side than reporting truthfully and fairly. Their names are often found in the address bar on the web pages for salacious news rumors. And unfortunately, their names are also on the list of the outlets that our wise president (and the sarcasm is back!) trusts unyieldingly. Without question, these outlets would receive the grade of a D, if not an F, from any respectable journalism professor. And rightly so. Outlets such as Breitbart, InfoWars, and OccupyDemocract neglect all journalistic ethics and morals with the purpose of inflaming audiences to follow their particular biases, and this is especially true since the recent presidential election.

On the president’s blacklist of such as CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, who, while having taken a more forceful approach that before when it comes to their reporting on the President, have remained focused on their overall purpose, to let the American people know the information necessary to make them knowledgeable citizens, regardless of political affiliation. Of course, these outlets have their moments. There is a bit of smelliness regarding CNN’s reporting of a largely uncorroborated dossier regarding the President and a few of his rumored exploits while in Russia before his election. I think it is safe to safe you could comfortably grade these outlets with solid B, if not a B+, based simply on the fact that, though they are under attack, they have remained journalistically ethical and correct.

It must be noted that were someone else with stronger political feelings, one way or the other, could write this same post and come to entirely different conclusions. While I try to remain unbiased in most things, it is likely (see: definite) that some of my sympathies have affected my thoughts here. But here’s the thing, I am not a national news organization. It is not my job to be unbiased. I am simply a girl sitting behind a computer with a head full of sarcasm asking you to read this and maybe give it a think.sarcasm_big_bang_theory_signsarcasm_big_bang_theory_sign

 

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Fact or Fiction: How Fake News Became So Popular

news-media-standards
Wikimedia Commons

Fake news. For those who use the Internet or watch CNN, it seems like it is all anyone can or wants to talk about at the moment. But why the sudden interest?

Fake news is hardly, well, new. Tabloids, such as The National Inquiry and Us Weekly, have been publishing dramatic, false stories under the name of “news” for decades. Whether it’s plausible but false, celebrity break-up rumors or fanciful accounts of Elvis and aliens, we have been conditioned to meet these headlines with skepticism when we encounter them in line at the grocery store. Now, however, with the ability to share news online via Facebook and Twitter, it seems we are throwing our b.s. meters out of the window and taking everything our friend of a friend of a friend posts as fact. What changed?

With digital media still being a relatively new frontier, it seems that it’s rapid growth has outpaced society’s average level of media literacy, or the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media. While some consumers can adequately critique a piece of news that they encounter on social media, the majority are left in the dark and, thus, tend to take something online that remotely looks like news as truth. Add in the fact that it also probably aligns with their political leanings, a.k.a. inflammatory towards the party/candidate they dislike, and you have a recipe for easy shares.

And creators of fake news know this. They create domain names similar to those of news sites we know to trust (i.e. ABCNews.com.co vs. ABCNew.go.com). They utilize outlandish headlines to draw readers to immediately sharing without investigating further. They create fake authors with fake accolades that would put Robert Frost to shame. And these are just a few of the multiple techniques they employ to trick readers, reputable news organizations like CNN and FoxNews, even international governments.

Duped by fake news story, Pakistani minister threatens nuclear war with Israel

So how do we fix this? While sites like Google, Facebook and PolitiFact have taken measures to inform consumers as to whether a piece of news is likely to be found false, the best way to help combat the spread of fake news is improve consumer’s media literacy regarding social media and web articles. Like we were taught to treat the tabloids that line the grocery store check out lanes with trepidation, we need to be taught to view news we find on social media the same way and to investigate the claims we read before we swear by them. Until then, it’s probably best to take everything you read on Facebook with a grain of salt.