The “Fake News” Debate
January 24, 2020
The term “fake news” has been tossed around for quite some time now, but just recently has it become the talk of the country, especially over the last 18 months when President Trump started
The term “fake news" has been tossed around for quite some time now, but just recently has it become the talk of the country, especially over the last 18 months when President Trump started using the term in speeches, on Twitter, and throughout his campaign.
With this new notion of pointing out negative news stories and announcing them as fake news, people have started to question if this is a war on journalism, led by the President. Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote in an article, Fox News host’s hyperbolic take on the ‘war’ between Trump and the press , that “this isn’t really war, but at times it is something almost as unappealing: codependency. What’s actually going on between Trump and the press is that he — like politicians before him — needs a convenient enemy to keep his base of supporters fired up. With no Hillary to threaten to lock up, the news media will have to suffice. But Trump also craves press attention, enjoys schmoozing with reporters and is, in some ways, far more accessible than some of his predecessors."
This fake news idea has made people start to question the credibility and ethics of journalism. With the President of the United States targeting the journalists who are simply doing their job, a debate has been sparked about who is actually telling the truth.
The most recent example of this debate would be when President Trump allegedly expressed frustration when talking about immigrants coming to the U.S., questioning "why do we want all these people from 'shithole countries' coming here?" The Washington Post was the first news outlet to report on this statement made by the President, stating that the lawmakers and senators who were present were shocked by his remarks. There is a lot of confusion, as we are still not quite clear about whether or not these derogatory comments were actually made. However, many senators have come forward confirming that this comment was made, while some simply did not deny it.
This recent debate followed the President’s long promised Fake News Awards, a project to highlight the journalists and news outlets that were misrepresenting him or creating false news statements. Obviously, just like most things, there are many critics of these “awards," as it goes against press freedom. The winners of the Fake News Awards included CNN, The New York Times, ABC, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, and Newsweek.
We’re interested in learning your opinion on this issue. Do you think the Fake News Awards violated the rules of ethics?