Fake news in­deed

The Niagara Falls Review - - OPINION -

Re: Post­media’s edi­to­rial on fake news and Peggy White’s re­cent col­umn.

Pur­vey­ors of news have the ar­du­ous task to de­liver ac­cu­rate and timely knowl­edge of cur­rent events.

Over the past few decades, we’ve seen a change in the “de­liv­ery” of news. The ba­sic five Ws have been al­tered to ac­com­mo­date “opin­ion” and news has taken on a dis­tinct flavour of political bias. News has be­come a com­mod­ity, an av­enue through which to sur­vive but, more­over, the abil­ity to sway pub­lic opin­ion.

Pub­licly-funded state broad­cast­ers will slant news items in favour of any political party that gen­er­ously funds them. Pri­vate news sources will typ­i­cally fol­low the money, hence advertising dol­lars and pros­per­ity.

Such al­ter­ing of news de­liv­ery has been the cat­a­lyst for the term “fake news.” The con­jur­ing of is­sues, the per­sis­tent ham­mer­ing on base­less top­ics and the use of fac­toids and truthi­ness have all played a role. News out­lets go­ing to war with one fac­tion’s so-called ne­far­i­ous deeds, while to­tally ig­nor­ing bla­tant vi­o­la­tions by the other fac­tion, is merely the bully pul­pit in it’s purest form.

Ref­er­enc­ing the terms “a ma­jor­ity of sci­en­tists” or “a panel of ex­perts” and “a body of ev­i­dence” with­out sub­stance or proof has bluffed the pub­lic con­fi­dence away from hard news with real facts and truths. This egre­gious be­hav­iour sways pub­lic opin­ion en masse and can al­ter so­ci­etal val­ues and af­fect the bal­lot box. This is where it gets dan­ger­ous.

In the court of pub­lic opin­ion, free speech it­self is un­der fire. Peo­ple are ridiculed and shamed be­cause they voiced an opin­ion con­trary to such po­lit­i­cally cor­rect group­think, re­gard­less of whether said opin­ion has a ba­sis in fact. It seems the truth and facts don’t mat­ter much any­more, only pop­u­lar con­sen­sus.

I would ad­vise any reader/viewer to broaden their scope of news sources, al­low­ing cre­dence to more sides of the ar­gu­ment. To­day’s news should be taken with many grains of salt and the pub­lic should be al­lowed to make up their own minds on any is­sue, in­stead of be­ing told what to think. Wil­liam Mor­gan Wel­land

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