Opinion: I’m glad Trump is waging war against “fake news”

By Rachel Witbracht
Staff writer

As a founding member of the College Democrats chapter on my campus, you might be surprised by my support of the term “fake news,” but not for the reason you think.

Since announcing his candidacy, President Donald Trump has been nothing less than vocal about his disdain for news conglomerates like CNN and NBC. With the introduction of the terms “fake news” and “alternative facts,” people have been more skeptical than ever about where they receive news and how facts are represented.

There are many different interpretations of what fake news is to people; it could be fake because it doesn’t confirm your personal biases, or that you see it as bold-faced propaganda or that the way in which the facts are represented are seemingly un-contextualized. Regardless of the reason behind it, this makes people weary of news outlets.

You might not see it yet, but this is a good thing; people are now forced to do their research.

Skepticism is a positive attribute when we talk in terms of a well-educated, proactive society. The unconvinced or uneducated have a fire underneath them, compelling them to go do research on whatever is being criticized as fake news (although I don’t think you really need a reason to begin with — but that’s a different story). The negativity breeds curiosity.

The more of a war Trump wages against the news on Twitter, the more people begin to think autonomously. The discomfort of possibly being fed something untrue pushes people to think for themselves, to think critically about the world around them.

Now, I must play devil’s advocate here. I cannot say that there isn’t such thing as “fake” news or doctored facts. We are in the digital age, where sometimes clicks can, at times, be more lucrative than reporting good, honest stories. Instead of writing for what is noble, it becomes a popularity contest.

You can’t blame the media for this, though. In our capitalistic society, constantly generating revenue is imperative in breeding success.  

In no way am I promoting that, but part of being an educated citizen is being able to discern for yourself what the truth is. There is a personal duty to seek out the truth in our society. Just because the outlets put out these kinds of “clickable” stories, does not mean they’re out to trick you. It’s your fault for not being able to differentiate between what’s important and what isn’t.

The fostered hostility toward the media has, in a roundabout way, become a good thing. People are starting to realize that in order to feel that all of the facts have been represented, they must go out and get that information themselves.

Don’t blindly follow anything in life. Even with something as simple as the media, you must be mistrustful when facts are presented to you.

Do research. Challenge the accepted. Poke holes in faulty logic. And when you do none of those things, don’t blame the media for putting out unsubstantiated claims. Blame yourself.

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