Although some people still enjoy holding that newspaper in their hands as they drink their morning coffee, studies are showing that more and more people are getting their news online. Mainly through social media.
But with the constant stream of news online, it may be hard to know what is legitimate news and what is not. College of the Canyons held a much needed discussion on the topic of fake news earlier this month to find out.
Professor Kevin Anthony who teaches in the Business field held this event. He is now also the director of institute of ethics, law and public policy. He states that this issue is not a political issue,but an issue about freedom of speech.
The meeting featured professors who spoke about the ongoing issue of fake news. Then afterwards had a question and answer session. Chris Blakey spoke first on “the importance of seeking truth.” He stated that we are living in a post truth society and then gave the Oxford dictionary definition of post truth society.
“This idea of post truth relates to or denotes circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than our appeals to emotion and personal belief”.
He spoke about known sites that post fake news to try to get people to click on them to make a lot of money with their advertisers and “they are laughing all the way to the bank”.
The other side of the coin, he states that President Trump and his administration refers to mainstream legitimate news sources as ‘fake news’,it is very confusing to a lot of people.
Two consequences he says this brings about, one is that some people conclude that that we can not get to the truth because if mainstream press is fake, how do we get the real news? The second thing he mentioned is that, some people think it is too hard to get to the truth, but taking the work to do it is worth it, because the less we know, the easier it is for people to deceive us.
The next speaker was Dr. Majid Mosleh. “Truth does matter. Many individuals seek truth through the mass media.”
Focusing on the mass media he offered important citations from some of our founding fathers of America. One citation by John Adams ,”The liberty of the press,is essential to the security of the state.”
“Were it left to me to decide weather we should have a Government with out newspapers or newspapers with out a government,I should hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” The audience chuckled. Finally he states that the media is an important institution,but more importantly, the freedom of press is more important.
He went down a list of the functions of the mass media. Political socialization, holding government leaders accountable, publicizing issues that need attention, educating citizens so that they can make informed decisions, connecting people with each other in civil society and lastly the mass media has emerged as powerful institution that now is empowered with responsibility of setting the agenda for public discussions.
The third speaker was Professor Lisa Hooper, whose expertise came from how we consume media.
Thinking about the mainstream media and how we are consuming that news. ” If you are in the age groups from 18-29 you are most likely to get your news from websites and or from social apps.
“Those who spend a lot of time on the electronic medium are overwhelmed.” Hooper said.
She talked about how twitter has gotten a lot of attention in the media, and how everyone’s Twitter feed blew up when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway named the wrong best movie at the Oscars and whether you were watching the show live or not, you knew right away because it was all over the Twitter feed.
She ends with reminding us, that if you are truly looking to inform yourself, then it probably does not need to entertain you, but we should be seeing enough substance.
Last speaker was Professor David Andrus, he starts and ends with the same statement, “If every objective truth is to be argued and challenged by a society, primarily for political reasons then how can society function and co-exists.”
He emphasized on how truth matters and that it is part of democracy. How when the President of the United States challenges every degree of truth of his opposition he goes on to say “Any President has to understand that their free speech carries much more weight in terms of the political culture of society and there is a certain degree of responsibility there”
Each speaker gave their own take on how fake news is affecting everyone. In speaking to some whom attended, they were very sure of themselves, that they know where to get real news, at the same time it does make one double check themselves and try to find the same story and all the details.
The emphasis was on freedom of speech and how it does take time to get correct information in the media today.