In the past year or two I’m sure everyone has heard the term “fake news” more than they care to. As someone who has a respect and appreciation for journalism I find it is an insult to tell journalists every time they publish a story anymore that it is fake news and think it would be fitting to dive into what is “fake news” and what is not.
In the 2016 election cycle it seemed like every time President Trump was asked a question he didn’t like or had a story published on him he didn’t like he’d wave it and the news outlet off as “fake news.” I will give an example. In early 2017 not long before his inauguration President-Elect Trump held a press event. CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta tried to ask a question and Mr. Trump pointed at him and said twice “Your organization is terrible.” At another event Mr. Trump told Mr. Acosta “I’ve watched you on television, you’re a real beauty.” At the same event Mr. Trump also decided to point at Tom Llamas of ABC news and say “Like this sleazy guy right over here from ABC, he’s a sleaze in my book.” I could list more insults Mr. Trump has had for the correspondents and news outlets but I’d probably have a list that’d be off the end of this paper by the time I was done.
To evaluate if the news media is “fake news” I think we need to look at their history. Most outlets I honestly believe have a good history of providing fact-based news and when they may make an error from time to time they own up to the mistake and admit it. Some of the more major outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News have been known from time to time to make their stories fit their opinions. But one could argue with the more major networks some bias may be expected.
I personally believe the president has done an incredible job of turning citizens of this country against news media outlets, both major outlets and the smaller local affiliates. I view that as disgusting and wrong. The vast majority of people in the news business have one sole mission that is to provide you, the public, with a factual collection of the day or previous day’s news every single day they work. To paint the news media with such a broad brush as all “fake news, sleazes” and the like will only lead to a dark future for this nation. If our “news” is just what our leader(s) wants us to see, that’s called state-run media. In a nation where we have a first amendment that allows us freedom of speech and freedom of the press we cannot and should not say yes to a state-run media system, we’re not North Korea for example.
So where do we go from here? Will we see the demise of our system of news as we know it? Will our president come out with a state-run form of news media? Whatever the future holds, I would just pray to God that we as Americans still receive fact-based news with no spin one way or the other. If not, then that will be breaking news, and not for the better in my eyes.
MATTHEW PETERSON is a young Streator resident who recently rediscovered a passion for writing and getting people thinking. His columns will range in topic from anything going on in the world, to his perception of local news, and anything and everything in between. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.