Fake news is all around us; Do your homework

Saturday, March 3, 2018

I wrote recently concerning the phenomenon of fake news that has become a daily part of current society.

And to be sure, if you read or listen to virtually anything pertaining to politics these days, beware that some if not all of what you read may have a fake stink about it.

We can assume with some accuracy that the much ballyhooed Russian election meddling was real and involved reporting fake news to throw a monkey wrench into our electoral system.

But there are countless other examples of fake news that are around us daily.

Inaccurate reporting in the past was simply chalked up to sloppy journalists. And the news outlet would print or report a retraction to correct the record.

But today's fake news industry is a whole different matter. It is not about inaccurate reporting but intentional misleading and downright phony news portrayed as fact.

But here's my take.

The fault with fake news lies in two areas. And we the people are the key ingredient.

An uninformed or misinformed electorate is more dangerous that any nuclear weapon.

Shallow and ignorant voters who believe to their dying day any and all things reported will eventual doom society as we know it today.

The blame on fake news is shared by those who promote this phony industry and by those among us who take as gospel anything they read or hear.

I am dismayed and disappointed at the so-called news outlets who live and die by fake news.

But that disappointment is small compared to the blame on those who lack the intellect or curiosity to question what they read or hear.

I am an equal opportunity skeptic. I know in advance that some news outlets skewer the news to fit their political agenda. And that applies to both liberal and conservative-leaning news sources.

But far too many people (in frightening numbers) read or hear something and lack the ability to question the source or the accuracy.

Those who peddle fake news know this reality of American voters. They know that few people will ask the appropriate questions and so fake news takes on a life of its own.

Unlike some, I don't believe the mainstream media are the enemies of the state. But I do believe we should no longer place these outlets on a pedestal and allow their reporting -- and their reporting alone -- to impact our stance on any issue.

Unfortunately, we have far too many people who swallow and digest news as if every item is factual and accurate.

And come election time, fake news may well win the day.

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