The Plague known as “Fake News”

If any of you have been conscious during the last, oh shall we say 6 months, you are aware in some way of the 2016 Presidential election, our current President and his adventures in office, and the conflict between different news sources that sounds like the neighbors in 7B arguing again even though you’ve made them aware that you can hear them and they know that the arguments that they have are over stupid, trival things. The anxiety over what is real and what is not in the news media has continued to build, has it reached a fever pitch? We won’t know until the deafening, antagonizing reporting ends.

The idea of fake news has taken off, especially in regards to the recent elections, so why do we see this proliferation now? The role of the news media has been evident in American history, from the pamphlets circulated during the Revolutionary period, to war reporting in the Civil War, and beyond. American opinion has often been shaped by the apparatus that claims to keep the public informed. One of the most infamous times the media is the period at the end of the 19th century where the news media gained the moniker of “yellow journalism”

Yellow journalism of this period was seen as sensationalist and profit motivated dishonesty which led in many parts to the Spanish American War. In many different places the conflict between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer has been recorded as one which increased anxiety in the nation, and helped to shape politics. The important thing here is to remember that these stories were profit motivated. The Spanish American War and the annexation of Hawaii during this period were business motivated actions which saw the death of American servicemen, the death of native peoples who were attempting to achieve their popular sovereignty, and a continuation of American interventionism now beyond the Western hemisphere.

How does this relate to our plague of Fake News today? First; we now have a news media that appeals to one side of a story in many ways. In this the news has helped to divide the nation into opposing camps and it has encouraged the conflict between the two sides by requiring strict adherence to the policy beliefs in which each side represents. Secondly the media has been altered completely by the advent of social media news, now a nice group of people from foreign nations with social media skills can generate web pages that look like news and post them on people’s web pages to sway opinion, yet those stories are filled with advertisements which generate a large amount of wealth for those people.  And what I see as my final assessment is that the large media corporations are just that, corporations. They have their own business interests which are profit motivated so that their programming is devised in such a way to enhance their profits.

FOX News is owned by Fox Entertainment Group. This corporation, founded by William Fox’s 1904 purchase of a nickelodeon in New York, has grown to a billion dollar business. They finance, make, and distribute films all over the world. They own parts of the Dodgers, Knicks, and Texas Rangers. And their primary business is in television broadcasting as they present on several different media outlets from the FOX network to FOX Sports and FOX News. Each of these entities is a business which represents the business desires of one Rupert Murdoch.

NBC is owned by Comcast Corporation. Anyone who has waited hours for comcast service technicians or been a victim of this company’s “customer service” knows why this is all I have to say. Their CEO is Brian Roberts who is worth an estimated 1.75 billion

And there are other news sources…but I am to depressed about the state of media to explain the outrage that I feel that such a group constitutes the majority of news we consume every day. For it is my belief, here is the editorial, that these corporations and men seek to shape the way that we consume everything. So that not only do our news habits enrich them, so do our buying habits. One thing to think about is that the owner of the Washington Post is Jeff Bezos…a company who knows how you shop and what you shop for so much that they can tailor advertisements to you as a person while on their web site. If they can do this with products, they can do this with news…effectively isolating you from an opinion you might not like or disagree with. Become aware of this and seek multiple media sources for consumption. I am including some of the ones I like at the bottom here. A mixture of traditional and non-traditional outlets are need to be informed and realize that your crazy (insert political ideology identifier here)_______________________ neighbor/friend/family member/parent isn’t crazy, they just read news that is tailored to their establish point of view.

  1. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/   – Conservatinve
  2. https://tytnetwork.com/                                      – Liberal/Progressive
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/us                     – Foreign Media
  4. http://www.chronicle.com/                                – Educator News
  5. http://www.npr.org/                                            – Publicly funded
  6. http://factcheck.org/                                            – A great fact checking site

Read them all, be informed, and realize that partisan issues shouldn’t divide us.

Comment below to let others find alternative news sites, not blogs! This site itself is editorial, not news.

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