By: John Kay, Chief Editor at West
The country is in turmoil over the rise of fake news and the influence it has had in shaping opinions. There is substantial evidence to show that fake news is a real issue that needs to be explained, but the media outlets seem to be addressing the wrong entity in trying to prevent fake news.
To be clear, fake news has been around since the creation of journalism. Why is it that the U.S. and the world are seamlessly discovering this epidemic now…what changed? One could say that fake news has soared with the evolution of technology, and it is emphatically evident that such occasions are the case. Another explanation is that our educational institutions are failing us.
The recent surge in fake news does not survive without the demand for it. The decline in critical thinking skills among our schools has been feeding the fake news industry at the core. This epidemic is obvious through countless studies that show that the younger generation does not know how to decipher fake from real news.
A Stanford study of 7,800 students, showed that at times up to 80-90% of students had trouble with judging the credibility of news sources. Intelligence among our youth is on the decline, and that is the true crisis. Instead of the country focusing on how to stop the fake news epidemic…maybe, institutions should do a more pertinent job at honing students’ ability to think critically.
A recent example of fake news was when an article circulated that Denzel Washington had endorsed Trump. The source was none other than AmericanNews.com, which has no credibility in the news industry; however, millions of Americans had ignored the source. Thanks to fake news, countless of other false stories have developed.
Identifying fake news is as simple as knowing the source, date, author, and photo shopped image of the article.
If you are still scratching your head over how easy it is to decipher fake news, do not worry…most people are. The fake news industry is able to flourish because of its’ ability to attach itself to emotions and biases. It is of the equivalent to pouring gas on a blazing fire. It is also the same reason that democrats will likely watch CNN and NBC; while Republicans will stay tuned to Fox and other conservative sources. Most people gravitate to sources that agree with their own views, and while this is sometimes necessary…it often leads to more drastic biases.
Eliminating the existence of fake news is impossible; however, addressing it by attacking its’ very foundation is possible. This country and all that it embodies should and can do better at thinking critically, and allowing for open and constructive dialog. Then and only then can the country move to resolve these issues that face all of us Americans.