Why we should be more careful about trusting the media | Teen Ink

Why we should be more careful about trusting the media

May 24, 2019
By Mason_Meyer BRONZE, Sparks, Nevada
Mason_Meyer BRONZE, Sparks, Nevada
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Fake News. We’ve all heard the term from various sources, but most famously from President Trump, who accused several news companies of deliberately misleading the public using false facts. While this does have some truth to it, oftentimes this cry of “fake news” is used as an insult, and doesn’t always show the whole story. Which is why the people of America should collectively pay more attention to the news that they receive from organizations like CNN, Fox, Washington Post, as well as shady or suspicious news sites. In order to maintained an educated and aware populace, it is essential that we not trust these news organizations until the news that they offer is proven by evidence and checked by another news organization.  

First, let’s begin with the data. According to a study by Politifact and Facebook about reliable and unreliable news sources, unreliable outlets usually put out their “fake news” maliciously, some going as far as to attempt to impersonate reliable news sources. The study explains “It’s less clear that these aren’t legitimate news sites, because their domain names alone look kind of familiar”. This shows the lengths to which the spreaders of fake news will go, and how they will, in essence, commit watered-down identity theft in order to make money. The study also cites that “research has shown that the most common route to fake news websites was through Facebook”. Many of these fake news sites also have corresponding social media pages, in an attempt to both legitimize themselves and to draw in unaware viewers. These fake news websites are sometimes very easy to mistake for being real, which is why it is imperative that Americans stay extra-vigilant and look to official, verifiable news outlets for news.
However, these parody and identity thieving accounts aren’t the only ones that spread fake news. There are also several major organizations that have produced fake news, intentionally or accidentally. Sometimes, it’s because the organizations themselves are misinformed or a simple error, other times because they attempt to disguise opinion as fact. Examples of this include when CNN ran a headline saying “Trump faces credibility crisis in prime-time address tonight,". While this may appear to be, on the surface, completely factual, it is still obviously opinionated. Who decided it was a credibility crisis? Shouldn’t they be named in the headline? The Washington Examiner supports this, referencing “Sure, Trump’s credibility is often questioned. He spreads demonstrable falsehoods like fertilizer on a farm. But who is a nameless video editor to decide it’s a “crisis”?”. The headline simply reflects the video editor’s opinion, not actual fact. An example of there being an error that could have caused confusion is when Fox News reported “Trump cuts U.S. aid to three Mexican countries”. Obviously, there is only one Mexico, so the logical assumption would be to think that they meant three Latin American countries, perhaps. Either way, this is something for the population to look out for, because if you are in a debate and say “Trump cut aid to three Mexican countries”, you would look uneducated. It is important for us to explore the available evidence that news stories offer in order to validate them, so that we are not being manipulated by the media.

In conclusion, the American public needs to be more educated on issues such as how to identify fake news and false facts. Throughout the last several years and election cycles, there have been accusations of foreign election meddling, fake news, and conspiracy with candidates. Now more than ever, it is imperative for the American public to stop falling for these attempts at swaying the opinions of the people. An uneducated populace that believes everything the media throws at them undermines the values of democracy, and could lead our great country to ruin very easily.

The author's comments:

My name is Mason, and I am currently in High School. I like skiing and hanging out with my friends and my favorite color is blue.

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