Although it feels like it was only yesterday when I worked in the broadcast media, reality tells me that it has been at least 20 years. Whenever I watch, read, or listen to a news story today I feel disappointed in the fake news that is being reported and the lack of integrity in so many newscasters. Contrary to the past, what broadcasters post now is not always the original source of the news. Anyone in the public can now contribute to and control the news, reaching an audience in real-time, often faster than traditional broadcasters can get to it. I must admit that I miss the days of being able to trust and rely on a media outlet for the truth.
When I worked in the broadcast media, all staff members were taught and held accountable to always tell the truth when reporting the news. Our greatest assets at the time were honesty, and integrity, presenting both sides of every story and allowing the listener to make their own decisions.
Unless we are talking about breaking news, by the time you get to your television to turn it on, you’ve already seen the “news” on your favourite social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or YouTube. Without being totally aware, when I wake up and look at my mobile device to check the time or to stop the alarm from ringing, a news story message appears on the home screen. We are bombarded with the news of what's happening all over the world, some good, but most of it seems to be designed to get a reaction from us. The news, be it real or fake, is in our pockets every moment throughout the day. In all honesty, there is no "breaking" news anymore, because it's always breaking and available to you right in the palm of your hand via the internet and social media, whenever and wherever you go.
Would you agree that social media has made a great impact on the traditional broadcast media landscape and the various ways that we consume information? Stories that broadcasters post today are not always the original source of the news. Contrary to the past, anyone in the public can contribute to and control the news, reaching an audience in real-time, even faster than traditional broadcasters can get to it.
When I read or listen to the news today, I always research the data or information being presented, especially if there are any doubts that it's true. More often than not, some of the information is not true but has been designed to fool and control audiences with misinformation and gain ratings for the media outlets. Almost 75 to 80 percent of the time, I have discovered many untruths. For some reason, a lie is easier to believe by the masses than the truth. According to Mark Twain, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” Today, I would change it to traveling around the world.
The public’s confidence in their ability to recognize fake news is on the rise. This is an important step given that fake or inaccurate stories can quickly gain traction, and sometimes distort audiences’ perceptions and knowledge of subjects ranging all the way from public health to presidential elections. When asked about the impact of fake news, many consumers said that they check facts more thoroughly themselves, over 10 percent stopped getting news from certain outlets, and approximately 15 percent said fake news had led to them reducing the amount of news they consume overall.
Can you think of a news story that you wanted to believe but discovered that it was a lie? This reminds me of many stories that have penetrated and harmed communities, especially those of colour all over America. A good example is the amount of fake information shared through social media about COVID-19. Lies and misinformation started at the very top of the U.S. government with President Donald Trump, a man who knew nothing about the virus, but pretended he was an expert and many people believed his theories for a cure. Lots of people lost their lives because of the lies and deceit of Trump. However, many refused to accept the truth from Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. So many people believed the lies and tried using bleach to eliminate the virus from their bodies because the President of the United States recommended it. His vicious news stories also turned people against anyone who appeared to look Asian. Instead of calling the virus by its proper name, the Coronavirus, he called it the "Chinavirus", which caused many attacks on Asian/Pacific Islanders in America and several other countries too.
Don't ever forget the lies that were told to steal an election from a qualified candidate, Hilary Clinton, and how Russia's President, Vladimir Putin helped Trump to win an election in return for his loyalty and complete support. Kremlin papers showed his plot to put Trump in the White House. Putin launched secret multi-agency efforts to interfere in U.S. democracy. He personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support an unstable Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
Always remember the January 6th U.S. Capitol attack that was motivated by lies and misinformation to instill anger and violence in many people who were told that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. He also helped to encourage the terrorist attack to happen. Why hasn't the media learned its lesson about covering him? I suppose it takes the biggest balls to stand up and stop giving him a microphone to babble on about what's not true.
Today, stories in the news that make me laugh the most are those about Santos. It makes me smile when I think of the next television series on the life of a U.S. Congressman from New York, George Santos. From the beginning, there has been nothing but lies and misinformation to help cover up his stories. I am already getting the popcorn and snacks prepared for when the series is written and released. It would be more amusing and interesting than the life story of Trump.
Over the years we have watched Rupert Murdoch and Fox News boldly create and report fake news stories and spread nasty rumours and lies to create anger and hatred among their loyal audience. There should be a government organisation to hold every media outlet responsible for their on-air behaviours. It's obvious they will do anything to make more money and promote their brand. Now is the time for each of us to do our own research about many of the stories that surround us every day.