Fake News – [.it.isnt.all.bad.]

In a couple of my classes, professors are constantly explaining that news has become entertainment. The 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock news are merely programs entered into our long list of TV watching for the night. News might as well be made up because it has limited long-lasting effects on us. No matter what form you are getting your news it is laid out in the same basic ways in order to keep us coming back. Newspapers are surrounded by interesting real estate ads, while TV news headlines are only followed by funny phone commercials. How can news be taken seriously if our mind is constantly jumping back and forth from horror news story, to everyday civilian life? We no longer question the ideas we are presented with because nothing can shock us in today’s generation. News has undoubtedly “threatened society’s sense of distinction between fact and fiction – of the real and unreal.” [1]  

“Few of us have a sense of how media works” [2] because we have no need to understand it. The only time people investigate the information they are given is when something seems altered. As long as news stays as entertainment, people are satisfied. As ‘Toxic Sludge’ explains case after case, people (AKA us), are constantly being conned into believing lies. Fake news is everywhere we look, because ads surround us no matter where we go. Billboards, TV commercials, newspapers, the Internet and the sides of buses all try to tell us something. However, “thanks to clever public relations [so many facts] simply haven’t been announced.” [3]

No one proves it better than Noam Chomsky when it comes to misinterpretations and the fake world we live in. He repeats, “We live in tangled webs of endless deceit,” [4] meaning we have no choice but to love what we are presented with. “People have the capacity to see through the deceit… but they don’t make the effort,” [4] especially with the idea of citizen journalism. Today, anyone can contribute to the media around them. Whether it be calling in to your favourite radio station, or sending your cell phone video into CityPulse, playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information is critical in today’s democracy. [5]

Lastly, no longer is ‘fake news’ a bad thing, for it has been taken to a whole other level. As I have referred to before, ‘The Onion’ has made big bucks off satirical news broadcasts. The topics range from sports, to entertainment, to political, just as the real news does. As a commuter to UGH, I got a good kick out of this ‘traffic solution’ from The Onion News Network. Enjoy.

 

 

[1] News as Entertainment and Entertainment as News – Forum Summary. 4 Mar. 1998. CCJ. 14 Nov. 2008 <http://www.concernedjournalists.org/node/332&gt;.

 

[2] Lessig, Lawrence. Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity. New York: Penguin (Non-Classics), 2005. 36.

 

[3] Stauber, John, Sheldon Rampton, and Mark Dowie. Toxic Sludge Is Good for You! : Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry. New York: Common Courage P, 1995. 178.

 

[4] Manufacturing Consent. Perf. Noam Chomsky. 1992.

 

[5] “We Media.” How audiences are shaping the future of news and information. 21 Sept. 2003. The Media Centre. 14 Nov. 2008 <http://www.hypergene.net/wemedia/weblog.php&gt;.

 

[6] “The Onion News Article.” Tired Of Traffic? A New DOT Report Urges Drivers: ‘Honk’ The Onion News Network. 14 Nov. 2008 <http://www.theonion.com/content/index&gt;. 

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