Have Untrustworthy Journalists Left Us Vulnerable To Fake News
There have been rummer’s and accusations that in the recent US elections that Donald Trump had a propaganda machine running alongside him generating ‘news’ stories to keep people talking about him. This dominated the media with Hillary Clinton almost as a side show.
An article on The Guardian website said that in a survey carried out by Buzzfeed they found around 75% of US adults believed fake news headlines as they are shown.
The fake sites look professional and read well, usually hitting with stories regarding big name celebrities or around major events.
One example of this occurred earlier this year following the passing of David Bowie.
Eamonn Holmes whilst reporting for Sky News spoke of how only days before Bowie died he preformed an impromptu gig at a Suffolk curry restaurant. The credit for this information was a publication called the Suffolk Gazette.
Suffolk Gazette is run by former Sun Journalist Simon Young, this paper is not real.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-35635929 is the article from which I found this information.
This highlights the amount of fake news around, it names several of these websites. Many of the publications named are familiar names such as The Poke and The Daily Mash.
The Poke is often see on social media quoting news stories. The articles are well written and look professional. There is really no wonder some people, even professionals mistake this for real news.
To try and understand The Poke I looked directly on their website to see if it was made clear the content is Fake News.
When searching for the site via Google the search results showed the following:
The way the tag line states: Time well wasted. The description claims it to be the biggest humour site in the UK. There is nothing claiming it is a ‘News’ provider. Looking more closely within the sites disclaimer it makes clear that in most cases things have been changed.
When asking the question regarding are we been left vulnerable to Fake News due to Untrustworthy Journalists? I am finding it hard to find a definitive answer. In the beginning I thought yes, it is the responsibility of the journalist to be honest, transparent and factually correct. After reading around this subject I am beginning to change my mind.
If a journalist is writing for a publication such as The Poke or Suffolk Gazette they are fully aware of the nature of these outlets, is it therefore the readers and distributors (the people who re-post articles) at fault? In the instance with Sky News they employ people to check on the credibility of their sources. If the public see someone or something given credit and such a high profile platform they will trust what they see.
Social media’s distribution of Fake News is becoming a world wide issue, as mentioned at the start of this politicisation’s as and example have mastered the propaganda machine. It also must uphold the right of free speech within a strict guideline.
Everyone involved in News is causing vulnerability to Fake News not just the journalists, it is just easier to point the finger at the individuals rather than the organisations behind them.