Come on people. Fake News has been in existence since like…. Forever.
It’s also known as disinformation, misinformation, gossip, hoax, falsity, distortion, and deception.
It’s been used as a military tactic in both covert operations and disinformation campaigns.
It’s been used by politicians with smear tactics and negative campaigning
It’s been used by parents to dissuade children from specific activities (don’t run with scissors or you’ll poke your eye out)
And most often it’s been used in the print/news media to sell more books, papers and clicks (even Benjamin Franklin printed fake news back in 1782).
Fake news will keep coming
Now with internet news outlets and 24-hour cable news, Fake News is not just a reality, but will most likely continue.
This is because fact checking and editorial review is nearly impossible to maintain when you fill pages and air-time 24-hours a day, 365 days-a-year.
Add to that, the modern news approach of filtering everything through algorithms and internet searches that are designed to only target audiences in a specific demographic . Then on top of that, we have entire media companies consumed with a specific world view, who seem to be only targeting others who believe the same.
We can all learn something from fake news
So what possible good thing can we take away from this seemingly endless barrage of Fake News. Well, let me start with just 4
We all know that headlines are often filled with adjectives and verbs used to get your attention. You know the expressions –breaking news, amazing discovery, ultimate secret, newly discovered, just revealed, exclusive coverage, and then all those horror words like disaster, chaos, outrage, famine, disease, dying and death.
These are used to both get our attention and to build some type of emotional attachment to whatever they are selling. And don’t be confused, they are selling something. Which is to get us emotionally attached and dependent on the information they provide. Then we will get that quick emotional fix every time we open the page, turn on our tv, or click the link.
Don’t let yourself get distracted.
History is full of fake (and real) news that has no real bearing on our existence at all. So why get distracted? Sometimes you just have to disconnect and stop paying attention altogether.
Train your brain.
Getting our news fix may become no more than a daily ritual or a force of habit. Which is not a problem unto itself. If most of the news we consume is just information about an event or item that can help us stay informed and educated. However, the danger of daily consumption of both fake or real news may be a problem when:
- We begin to let others opinions negatively impact our life and those around us.
- When we use mis-information to establish our belief systems.
- Stop thinking for ourselves and rely on other’s opinion and commentary.
- Only watch the things that support our pre-established opinions. This one will limit our ability to analyze and research for ourselves what is real, fake or a mixture of both.
With these thoughts in mind, we must stay vigilant. Our brains need excercise. But sometimes excercising our minds may allow too many biased, untruthful and even dangerous ideas into our firtile little brains. In this case this news watching brain excercise may not be right for us.
Don’t let the news of other people’s life affect yours.
This phenomenon seems to be epitomized today with the election of Donald Trump. Families, married couples, news outlets, schools, businesses and other aspects of society have become polarized and even traumatized by the actions (imaginary or real) of just this one man. I know quite a few individuals that have let their personal life get turned upside down, just by watching all the editorial/opinion based news cycles surrounding the president. However, sometimes you have to step away and focus solely on your life, and let the other persons life become part of history.
Yes Fake News will continue on, but we dont have to consume it, and can even learn from it.