The “Fake News” scare that is jeopardizing our access to a free press in America could have been prevented. The entire Trump travesty could have been prevented. The attack on our first amendment rights started a long time ago and is just now coming to fruition.
Knowledge is power though – so read on, educate yourselves, and join the independent journalists that are making a stand for truth in reporting.
Let me start with a little background information:
“Under the Reagan administration, the FCC killed the Fairness Doctrine (in 1987), doing away with a policy — put in place in 1949 — that required broadcasters to cover controversial issues of public importance and offer contrasting viewpoints on those issues.”
“The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials. The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented. The demise of this FCC rule has been considered by some to be a contributing factor for the rising level of party polarization in the United States.”
Once the Fairness Doctrine was gone, the floodgates opened wide for ANYONE to call themselves a “News” program and tell you whatever insane thing they wanted and call it news. Thus was born Fox “News” and websites like Breitbart, conspiracy theorists on the internet like Alex Jones, and on the radio, political pundits like Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh.
No venue was left untouched and this has led to the brainwashing of entire communities of people in this country. People think they are getting “Fair and Balanced News” when in reality they are being hand-fed propaganda. Now people are so confused they don’t know what to believe.
This isn’t confined to the conservative side of the aisle – liberals have their own spin too. The difference is that on the liberal side, most of what they say is at least grounded in truth – it just has a liberal spin, or bias. On the conservative side, the “Pants on Fire” rating is used often in debunking entire story-lines. This can be evidenced clearly by a simple comparison of the most recent candidates for president:
Many of you have noticed that President Donald Trump’s favorite battle cry has been “Fake News” any time a news outlet has reported honestly on what he is doing. This is a coordinated effort to get people to mistrust their news sources. It is a common tactic that has been used by dictatorial leaders to discredit reputable news sources and make people dependent on relying on one person, or one source, for all their news.
When that one source is feeding you BS – all you have are propaganda lies to “rely” on. The cry of “Fake News” has been lobbed at esteemed news outlets such as NBC, CNN, and newspapers such as the Washington Post and The New York Times.
If we can’t trust our news, who can we trust?
President Trump? Not with his track record.
Unfortunately for smaller, independent news outlets, the cry of “Fake News” has been taken up by too many people that really ought to know better.
An assistant professor of communications at Merrimack College, Melissa Zimdars, created a list of supposedly fake, click-baity, satirical, and misleading news sources that quickly went viral. The problem with the list is that the selection criteria used to label news sources is highly opinionated and not in the least bit accurate. Zimdars’ list has cost news outlets, especially small independent online news outlets, hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue by scaring people.
This has played right into Trump’s hands in declaring all news except HIS news as fake.
Computer App designers jumped on the bandwagon and quickly inundated the market with phone and browser apps that screen your news and automatically block all outlets on Zimdars’ list from even appearing in your news feed on social media. This is how they limit your access to a free press and limit what you are able to see, read, and use to determine for yourself what is true. It allows Trump and company to control the narrative. And people have VOLUNTARILY downloaded and are using these apps!
This has further added to the burden of smaller outlets and has added to their lost revenue.
These small, independent news sources aren’t making millions of dollars because you read their news articles. These are people who were barely making enough to feed their children – and now they’re making even less. Because our own president wants people to be AFRAID of news sources that he doesn’t endorse, or that don’t report on him in a favorable light.
So, what do we do about it?
We learn to make our own determinations. Rather than relying on a list compiled by someone who might be too opinionated to provide a level playing field, or installing an app designed to do your thinking for you, maybe we should just read and listen to a variety of sources and form our own opinion.
A liberally biased site will provide liberally slanted reports. A conservatively biased site will provide conservatively slanted information. Your job as a reader or watcher is to determine where they meet. Fact check the information yourself. If you find a site or station that is factual, or even mostly factual – stick with it.
Targeted reporting is something that happens – even under the Fairness Doctrine – but it doesn’t mean that the news reported with a slant is any less the news. It just means that you tend to read or listen to news reports that agree with you on a fundamental basis.
Is there true fake news out there? Heck yes! The article that sounds too outrageous to be true – yeah, fake news meant to inflame your emotions. If you check the About page and Contact Us page of any site and there is no identifying information on it to tell you who owns it or the pages simply don’t exist on that site? Probably not a very good source to rely on.
(Now for the obligatory plug for OUR news outlet…)
Liberal America has been labeled as Fake News, click bait, and a slew of other uncomplimentary things over the past two years. I want to let you, our valued readers, know the process that we go through in order to bring you the best in liberal and progressive news.
Our writers are all freelance journalists – they work for themselves and receive a portion of ad revenue for their articles. They decide what they wish to cover. They submit a pitch/idea to a small group of people tasked with determining if that subject will do well, is timely and pertinent, and if that particular writer can cover that subject in a knowledgeable manner.
Once an article idea is approved, the writer writes it and submits it for editing. Our editors, also freelance journalists, read the copy, check sources to make sure that it is factual and complete, and run it through a copyright checking program to make sure that it was not plagiarized.
The editors often add a headline that will peak the reader’s interest. Sometimes these might seem click-baity. We have a rule that any headline must be supported by the article content – so if we make an outrageous claim in a headline the article will not disappoint you. If we used bland, humdrum headlines no one would bother reading our articles no matter how good the content is. That is just a fact of our information super highway existence – people want excitement, blood, gore, and juicy gossip. Own it.
Once an article checks out, and is edited, it is published on our site and put out there on the Internet for our readers.
Liberal America does lean left and we make no attempt to hide that – hence the word “Liberal” in our name. Our facts are facts. If you look on the About page for our site and our Facebook page, you will find information about our owner, and even a phone number where she can be reached directly. She might not answer straight away, but she will return your call if you leave her a message.
A good portion of the smaller, independent news outlets operate in much the same way. Although I can’t specifically tell you their guidelines, if they are reputable and you ask them – they will tell you.
In closing – we ask you to pass this along to someone that might benefit from it. We need to get people to start trusting news sources that are not Donald Trump. He is lying to the world and most of us know it. The minute we stop fighting for our news, we will lose it and Trump News will be the last dog standing. Don’t let him control the message any longer. The real Fake News is Trump News.
Featured image from Grand Forks Herald.