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The Myths of Fake News

Riley Sims, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Over the past year, the phrase fake news has been heard time and time again. President Donald Trump first used this phrase in his campaign as a response to deny claims about him that the press released, the most notable ones about his relations with Russia. It seems as if today’s society believes it’s easier to blame the media than it is to seek the truth, because they simply don’t want to admit that were wrong or have to deal with the consequences of a scandal.

We, the staff, believe in telling our readers the truth by using the most reliable sources and information.

The idea of fake news is not something that was coined by today’s society as one may think. It is a version of yellow journalism that reports misleading information to damage someone or something. Yellow journalism is a form a journalism that uses eye-catching headlines for stories that contain little to no real facts. It is like a version of propaganda. Many politicians, countries and businesses have used such propaganda to bring down competition and make themselves look better.

There is no law that bans fake news, because that would go against the first amendment. As result, it is up to the reader to determine if the news they consume is reliable or not. According to a Pew Research Center survey from December 2016, 23 percent of U.S. adults have shared fake news, whether it be consciously or not. A major reason for this is something called filter bubbles, which are algorithms that websites use to customize the results of a search that the viewer might like. As a result, if one is already reading fake news, it will continue to pop up in their searches, because social media sites like Facebook want to share articles related to what you already tend to read. According to a 2016 report from Stanford University, 62 percent of American adults look to social media for their news. Facebook used to have no filter on what kinds of news articles were published to the website, which allowed users reading false news articles to share them with friends. However, Facebook announced in December 2016, that it would take steps to identify fake news on its site, so readers could be more cautious about what they read and believe.

There are ways for readers to check a news articles’ reliability. First, look at the title. If it sounds outrageous, then it probably is. If the title or story uses slang words or has misspelled words, don’t trust it. No reputable news organization would ever allow something like that to be published. Each article is edited multiple times by multiple editors. At the Raider Echo, we have our stories edited at least three times by three different people. We even edit again when the pages are laid out digitally before sending it out to be printed. Second, look for statistics and interviews. If there are no quotes or numeric evidence, then it probably is not reputable. Opinion pieces or editorials are exceptions. Finally, look for any small print. Typically, if it’s an ad or a satirical piece that information will be disclosed.

We, the staff, take our jobs as journalists very seriously. We strive to provide the best news for our student body and encourage our readers to notify us of any misprinted information.

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