You may or may not remember, or have ever heard, the old saying that “you should only believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.” When I was in law school, one of our professors conducted an experiment on our class to see what people remember about certain events. As we were listening to his lecture, there was a commotion outside one of the classroom’s doors, the door was flung open, and two individuals came running through the room, with one person seeming to chase the other and both yelling at each other. When they departed through the opposite door, the professor asked each of us to describe on paper what we saw. Needless to say, there were dozens of versions of what transpired, proving that we each see the “truth” in our own way.
All the news we read and see has some element of being “fake” because we each inject our own bias into what we see in print or on the big tube. So, when we are listening to news or reading about it, we have to consider the source, because certain stations and networks have an admitted political leaning, and we have to understand that we are reading or seeing through our own biases perhaps without realizing it. We can balance the tendencies of the various news sources by listening to several to hear all interpretations of the news.
We also have to bear in mind that “fake” may include human error in reporting, embellishment, or simply an event or statement that has not been corroborated. In these times, newsrooms are rushing to get on the press or on the air as soon as humanly possible. This benefits ratings and strokes the egos of the reporters.
In reporting or seeing news reports, one word can dangerously change the context of what is being said or written. And, people, especially politicians, can publish fake news intentionally. The greatest purveyor of fake news currently is our president who uses it as a negotiating tactic without regard for accuracy. While his opponents are trying to paint him as erratic, untrustworthy, and simply wrong or lying, the president is off on another agenda leaving consternation in his wake while he is achieving other goals. It is simply a new way of doing business.
Now, do you know whether you have just read fake news? Think about it!