Saturday, December 10, 2016

Not all fake news is created equally.

“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Mark Twain
There are several varieties of fake news. Here are two of the most common forms.
Michael Mullen and Jon Stewart
The most obvious type of fake news is satirical fake news. This includes everything from material in The Onion, to Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, to The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. The emphasis is on humor and getting laughs. Sometimes people are not aware that they’re reading or watching satire. Some people take satire completely seriously. Also, there are people who don’t understand what satire is or how it works through irony, exaggeration, and by other methods.
Good satire is funny, although not usually to everybody. People generally don’t like it when they realize they or their beliefs are being made fun of. Also, there’s generally a point to good satire. In many cases, satire can be more effective for getting a message across than trying to be persuasive in a straightforward manner. People enjoy laughing. If they’re laughing, they’re listening and processing what they’re hearing.
People who read and watch the news don’t always realize how tedious and time-consuming it is to put a story together. It involves research, tracking down people who may not want to be cooperative, interviews, writing, fact-checking, rewriting, editing, and probably more rewriting. In addition, media professionals are being asked to do more than ever before. Instead of covering one primary beat, a reporter may now be called upon to cover two or three or more areas. 

A reporter may also have to take pictures, shoot video, and engage with subscribers on social media. It’s not as easy as many people who have never done it might think. Rather than deal with those challenges day after day, some reporters simply make things up. Quotes, characters, whatever. Making things up is much more efficient for a busy reporter than producing a real story, doing real interviews, and digging beneath the surface.
Another type of fabrication that sometimes goes on is when media professionals massage the information available to them to suit their own agendas. Video and audio can be edited in ways that distort what happened. Although journalists are not supposed to have agendas or to allow their biases to affect their work, it happens. It’s human nature. That appears to have been the case in the leadup to the election of 2016 when it was widely reported that Donald Trump didn’t stand a chance to win the Presidency.
Yet another type of fabrication is when people lie to the media. They do this to get attention, or to promote their own agendas, or both. Unfortunately, busy media professionals sometimes believe lies far too easily. It’s easier to simply believe what you’re being told than to dig deeper for the truth. This has happened with women who claimed to have been raped and with people who falsely claimed to have witnessed or been the victims of various forms of racism and discrimination.
The following are interesting articles.

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