Journalism: Fake News and Low Trust
Journalism: Fake News and Low Trust
Journalism forms the foundation of collecting, assessing, creating and distribution of information in the news media. In fact, reporting enhances the distribution of information about events, beliefs, facts, ideas and people to the world through various news media platforms. In this context, journalism is the root of information passed on in regions and global set up. The complicated process, journalism shapes the perceptions of as the information creates a new picture of the people around the world and the world itself. However, in the age of technological advancement and the rampant changes in the field of journalism including the freedom of the journalists, the publication of untrue materials has increased contributing to the low trust of the news media by viewers, listeners, and readers. The high rate of the false information has elevated the concerns about the news to trust and the fictions. While fake news exhibits features that mislead the audience the role of the media in controlling the material publications brings about the low trust and confidence from the general public.
Researchers have reported a decrease in the trust in the mainstream media in the current years due to the accumulation of fake stories. Evident from research by Rubin Victoria et al. shows that only 40% of Americans trust media sources in reporting of news accurately and fairly while a similar survey in the UK revealed that most of the read-newspaper were least trusted by people (Rubin, Conroy, Chen, & Cornwell, 2016). The worsening status quo of the fake news currently is fueled by the increased rate of consumption and low trust in journalism as the journalists are concerned with speed and spectacle at the expense of accuracy. Worse to the fast distribution is the inability of the audiences to interpret the information scientifically from different perspectives to detect any misleading information from work.
From the conceptions and the introduction of the digital reporting platforms, journalism has taken a new trend that has seen the field run out of the runway. Arguably, the lack of an ad-supported mechanism to regulate the collection, analyzing and distribution of the information has contributed to the exacerbation of the journalism and the increased incidences of false publication (Snelson, 2016). In this context, it is relevant to state that the role of the mainstream media that is mandated to take charge of the information is demanding de-institutionalization in the bid to sanitize the already worse picture of journalism professionalism. From one nation to the other and regions to the other the influence of the fake news and the mistrust of the entire framework are fresh in the minds of the audience. For example, most of the information presented in the media by the journalists is controversial and contradictory to the normalcy of the profession requirement.
In the long history of misinformation, fake news found a place in the pontifical election of 1522 when Pietro Aretino wrote false information about other candidates in the bid to manipulate the elections. It is evident that the production and distribution of fake, semi-fake news took roots in London in the eighteenth century with the release of ten dailies, eight tri-weeklies and nine weekly newspapers (Darnton, 2010). From the veins of diffusing fake news bleed small trust and much as witnessed during the French revolution leading to the execution of the queen in 1793. As old as the political aspirations and the invention of printing materials, people used the knowledge in journalism to create attention, lure supporters and even intimidate the opposition.
There is no dispute that fakes news and little trust in journalism has been there from the time immemorial. It has been in existence for long as genuine phenomenon though it has raised the alarm in the world today (Silverman, 2010). However, though the profession is limping and suffering from fake news virus leading to low trust the trend in the false news publications has shown that fake news sites are not staffed by professional journalists but are operated by individuals who see economic, political and any other prolific opportunity in the game. The fact remains that fake information lack hallmark in the gathering of information thus draining the value of the publications to the audience who in turn lose the taste and interest in the presentations.
From the report presented by Baym and Jones, the alleged fake news from the President Donald Trump is linked to the fake news used by historical, political leaders such as Adolf Hitler as well as the Australian television news parody (Baym & Jones, 2013). In this sense, the emergence of the fake news can be traced back a long time ago and what is experienced today is the resurrection of the fake news. In this reincarnation of misinformation, there is evidence in the reaction between CNN news and Trump over the alleged fake news meant to jeopardize his political career. The audience if the information is always left in a dilemma to distinguish the lying side and the actual one. It is important to mention that the trustworthy of the information published rely on the good will of the journalist to carry out robust research on the topic before presenting it for publication and release to the public.
Fake news and the low trust in nothing new in the world considering the propaganda uses by political leaders such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin in their tenure in top jobs in the political line-ups of their respective countries. Indeed, they employed it as a weapon to demoralize the opponents. In fact, Adolf is known to have successfully used fake news through the appointment of Joseph Goebbels as the head of propaganda in Germany to mobilize people to Join Nazism. In this context, Nazism spent the huge amount of cash on newsletters publications, newspapers, leaflets and posters to spread fake news. Other dictators such as Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini capitalized on the fake news to keep the trend in ways and continued support from them public.
A literature review of work by Mark et al., fake news and fake news sites complicates the entire field of journalism as the audience cannot weigh between the true and the fake reporting (Mark & Chen, 2014). Fake news and the low trust of the published materials are dependent words, and therefore it is important to explore the concepts of the fake news and the low trust. In this context, fake news has consistently been defined as any published material accessible to the audience, and the publisher knew from the time of publication that the information was untrue but posted it as the truth. Fake news is characterized with propaganda and wrong reporting for unidentified reasons in the bid to push some point of views and in turn, conceal the origin of the publication. Fake news is widely known to be political, social, economic and psychological weapons meant to intimidate other people and render them weak.
Though there is a development of cottage industry in journalism, fake news is never a new phenomenon in the world. It is not a new invention though the emergence of the new blood in the sector dedicated to contrive the little-taxonomies of the fake news has detrimental impacts to journalism (Rubin, Chen, & Conroy, Deception Detection for news: Three Types of Fake, 2015). The freedom of expression and the press freedoms coupled with the new technologies have shaped the current state of journalism in the name of employment creation. The history and the evolution of the false news and the sites have been deemed by the media ecosystem to vaguely describe fake news lightly with the aim of misleading the public. In the past, the term fakes news as associated to the low trust has been presented as a deliberate construction of lies thus obscuring the institutional features of the publisher.
Academic researchers have drawn subject of fake news in the current status from proliferation on the social media prior to the US presidential election and hyper-partisan news reports in the bid to reconstruct the resurrection of the fake news from the past (Carlson.M, 2011). One of the most shared stories covered the claim that Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton had traded weapons with the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria ISIS and that Pope had declared his support to the Republican candidate Donald Trump. Besides, the fake news reported the groping of Queen Ru Paul by the Trump and that Ireland had started receiving refugees. To proof the re-birth of the fake news, none of the stories achieved the threshold of any factual basis thus regarded as outright fabrication and tailoring of lies to take the shape of the truth.
The commitment and confidence of the people have shrunk in the recent decades due to the bad reporting stating fake travel advisories from nations to nations. The impacts of the false news have shaken the political, social and economic set up in the global world from the developing to the developed nations (Rubin, Chen, & Conroy, Deception Direction for news: Three Types of Fake, 2015). E-commerce is founded in the roots of journalism, and news media and most business organizations and companies found a new crop in the e-marketing of products through the online platforms. However, the excitement of the E-business is attenuated by the low trust in the face of the fake news owing to the fact that trust is a key variable in human-computer and human-relations.
Indeed, journalism in a huge crisis particularly in the problem of the growing fake news and current mistrust and low trust from the society. The new phenomenon in the field demands the restructuring of the body that is mandated to make regulations and policies to control fake news from going viral. As witnessed from various studies and observation from Tony Harcup, journalism profession has been characterized by resistance to professionalism (Harcup, 2014). Unlike of other fields of medicine and architects in the formulation of a guild-style body that would be involved in setting up of the standards and qualification of journalism leaving room for the creation of fake sites that spread propaganda and false news, in turn, tarnishing the entire reputations in the journalism industry.
Fake news operators are gaining ground in most of the areas in the world due to the contemporary factors thus gaining traction with global audiences. Unlike in the past decades, technological advances are enhancing the generation and transfer of publications in social media platform which rely much on the journalism (Carlson & Lewis, 2015). In this context, there is ample evidence in the fact that the mediums of communication and transfer face a threat and crisis due to the failure of the mainstream media to reconstruct the body to scrutinize the information before release and question the credibility as well as the validity of the published materials. Interestingly, some of the social media such as Face book and Tweeter are reposting real news for fake thus contradicting the audience further.
In conclusion, fake news and low trust in the journalism originates from the time printing press was invented and has evolved to greater heights today. As the printing press expanded, so the news distribution and the fake news were written concurrently with the real news as the journalists lacked journalistic ethics and objectivity. Indeed, fake news elicits decline of trust to publications and information materials which are rampant in the current societies due to the globalization, technological advancement, lack of professionalism in the journalism industry and the manipulation of the platform for selfish gains. As old as the political aspirations and the invention of printing materials, people used the knowledge in journalism to create attention, lure supporters and even intimidate the opposition.
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Carlson, M., & Lewis, S. (2015). Boundaries of Journalism: Professionalism, Practices and Participation. Milton Park: Taylor & Francis.
Carlson.M. (2011). On The Condition of Anonymity: Unnamed Sources and the Battle for Journalism. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.
Darnton, R. (2010). The True History of Fake News. The New York Reviews of Books , pp. 6-9.
Harcup, T. (2014). A Dictionary of Journalism. Oxford: OUP Oxford.
Mark, D., & Chen, S. T. (2014). Symbolic Interaction and New Social Media. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.
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