Over the past year, we seem to be fixated on Russia and political collusion or electoral ties of foreign influence. A bulk of the conversation seems to focus on Facebook or other social media outlets as the center point of false news. I can only step back into time and think about when Obama was a candidate for President and used social media to get voters motivated. It was a different tactic that worked. On the other hand, there were much libelous conversations and accusations that Obama was a Muslim and possibly not American. Credible news sources, even today, redistribute conversations based on social media feeds and introduce that as a news segment rather it be entertainment or editorial coverage. The point is that news sources have contributed without much fact-finding to false news. At this point, it would be hard-pressed to blame Russia or any foreign government that they are ultimately responsible. At least with a news story, there is a journalistic standard to retract or publish a correction. The internet does not allow retraction because it becomes a trend of an unstoppable train of misinformation.
Long ago I have said that Facebook is a dangerous company with an addiction for numbers rather than quality. Today Facebook appears to be the hot topic of Washington politics. Instead, what does Facebook do to speak before Congress? It sends its lawyers instead of its CEO. But lets not just throw Facebook under the bus. It is fair to say that local news media outlets are just as responsible for allowing fake news or facilitates bias and misinformation. Take a look at any local news website and take notice of the public comment section. It is usually filled with hate speech and equally disturbing information. Sure, its community based but the rhetoric distracts from the actual news coverage towards community conversations. That is not news. That is creating an entertainment value that distorts real news to essentially become misleading news – because it’s on its website. Such comments are no different than Facebook or any other social media site.
First, Facebook is not our news source as some would like to insinuate. Television media is not really a news source either as we would like to think it is. Television regardless if its Fox News or CNN has its own bias and spin. Real reporting is old fashioned journalism where a story develops and progresses based on the facts allowing the reader to decide or speculate. Newsprint will enable us to be educated on the facts and allows constructive dialog by editors and those that engage in a sensible and respectable level. Social media has very little respect value and sensibility.
Sometimes technology and flash news briefs don’t make us smarter. In fact, I argue that it makes it hard to distinguish what is factual versus what is not credible. Old fashioned newsprint and some bits of patience could potentially restore our credibility value and reduce the hyperbolic rhetoric that appears on social media and television newscasts each day in America. For the sake of quality news, it may be safe to say its a good idea to turn back the clock and reinvest in print media once again. At least we can learn a bit of patience and not be up to our ears in news overload.