The dangers of fake news

It's important to challenge public officials, press

By Lanthorn Editorial Board | 2/19/17 10:18pm

editorial


Since the election, the political climate at Grand Valley State University has mirrored that of the nation: split, divisive and covered by a general cloud of uneasiness. Whether you love or hate Donald Trump, he will definitely be a president to remember. Something he has particularly emphasized recently is his war against the media, calling them the "enemy of the American people."

Fake news. We've all heard the term, and a specific news organization probably comes to mind. Maybe it's Fox News, maybe it's CNN, maybe you even think the Lanthorn is fake news. It doesn't make a difference, because the majority of news organizations out there do not report fake news. 

Originally, fake news was started when former President Barack Obama was in office. There were legitimately fake news stories that circulated, detailing events that never happened. These stories derived from made-up news organizations that were created for the sole purpose of spreading fake stories. Now, it seems as though "fake news" is a term Trump uses when a news organization criticizes him or his cabinet or his administration. 

Unfortunately, this rhetoric Trump uses is detrimental for his administration, the American people and the press. The press has existed for as long as presidents have been elected. Journalists are called "watchdogs" for a reason; they are there to keep those in public offices accountable for their actions. Fake news is not when a story criticizes Trump or any other member of his administration. Fake news does not equate to news you don't agree with or news you refuse to believe. Fake news is when there are stories being published by illegitimate organizations that don't exist, about stories, events and people that aren't real or never happened. 

The press is partly to blame for this as well. With sensational and attention-grabbing headlines, it may be perceived that organizations like CNN or MSNBC have a liberal agenda and hope to make Trump's four years in office highly contested. However, if you accuse organizations of leaning left, it is your civic duty to recognize there are right-leaning organizations like Brietbart News and Fox News who have a conservative agenda. 

We understand that many who support Trump are equally as frustrated with the media as Trump is. We at the Lanthorn are not saying everything that is reported by the media should be taken at its word. We challenge you to research the things that come out of Trump's mouth and the words that come out of reporter's mouths or in their stories. It is important to stay informed on views from both sides. Doing so will help us as U.S. citizens to lead more democratic lives. 

Also, Russia is not fake news. Russia is a country.

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