Does Fake News Impact Our Daily Lives? by Bill Storie
“Only if we let it” is the simple answer.
I’ve been following the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland this week. I’ve watched it for many years and it always strikes me how powerful it seems to have so many of the world’s leaders sitting in the snows of Switzerland pontificating about future trends for health, economics, diversification, technology, social justice, investment and on and on and on.
It all sounds wonderfully productive and entertaining until you realize that you heard the same guff same time last year, and the year before. Nothing gets done as a result of their meetings.
But this year they have been talking about social media and trusted sources and fake news. All of a sudden, they are taking an interest in the rubbish we, the consumers of the world, have to suffer every day.
There were years when we listened to the BBC or CBS or read the New York Times or London Times and believed everything they told us. We never questioned the veracity of the material or the objectivity of the presenters or journalists. They were above reproach. How the Times have changed.
These days we just do not know when there is some hidden agenda in play. Whether the writer of the piece is genuinely impartial or whether he/she has joined the forces of social media nonsense and feels they can say anything to sell their newspaper.
The problem is that there is so much news and information and data from zillions of sources that we the unsuspecting public are being inundated with rubbish and lazy journalism. Having said that of course even journalists are human, in as much as they also look at the millions of newsfeeds and websites that they can’t separate the good from the bad from the ugly. Shame really.
So much so they have become UnTrusted Sources.
Deliberately making up false stories about politicians, sports people and business people has become a tragic attempt at revenge tactics. I would say the same about so-called Hollywood celebrities but to be honest, that lot deserve all the criticism they get – or should be getting. Their morals are sickening. Their hypocrisy is staggering. Their desperation to be photographed standing in front of a microphone talking gibberish is beyond belief. They certainly don’t live in our world.
So, this fake news business has been amplified immensely by the advent of online twittering and other social media applications. A comment can be made at the flick of a finger and gone around the world before the finger is off the keypad. In fact the comment can be in China or Brazil or Canada long before the Twitter Twit has walked into his own kitchen. Too bad if the information is wrong or fabricated, it has gone.
Then 2 Twillion people latch on to it, believe it to be true, re-tweet it with a twist or two – or even worse a personal addendum to make themselves seem clever - and send it on. And of course, the trusted organizations have so many twits in their own offices who have no idea how to validate information, so they take it as correct then write some stupid “Op-Ed” about it, publish it – and then the public is thrown information which is claptrap. Yet because it came from a solid, reliable source, assume it to be true. And so it goes around and around.
Wouldn’t it be nice if some of those organizations who are so desperately needing to sell newspaper or airtime were to step up to the plate and investigate the information in the first case?
Would perhaps we, the public, start to trust them again, and as long as they maintain sustainable information would probably flock back to their publications – because we want the truth. We only want the truth. We don’t want sensation garbage – we just don’t. Oh sure, there are lots of clowns who thrive on sensational journalism and disgraceful photographs of scantily clad attention-seekers.
I’m smart enough to read and understand quality information and I argue that the vast majority of people around the world are like me. However, we seem to be forced to read fake news by fake journalists who live in a fake world.
Meanwhile the Davos crowd will still believe they are saving mankind. Oh dear !!!!
By Bill Storie