Some Truth about Some Lies

“Some people say that the Sun has a problem with the truth. There’s no problem, we just ignore it.” While that may be a quote from Parks and Recreation’s goofy and conniving journalist, Kim Terlando, I’m sure that that is a belief shared by many, especially the current president, who, according to the Washington Post will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Now I’m not referencing this quote because I may or may not be a Parks and Rec fan, I quoted it because many people talk about various newspapers having problems with the truth, it is not an issue unique to television communities. This then brings up the news value of proximity; the issue of fake news and potentially straying from the truth is relatable for many individuals across the country as well as across socio-economic classes.

One of the things that brings “fake news” to the forefront, according to Pat Ferrucci, is the impact that social media has on spreading news. Social media allows for more bias among those who share this “fake news,” more people therefore have a platform to share it the way they wish to. Which then brings me to the difference between “fake news” and “inaccurate news.” Ferrucci argues that fake news is intended to deceive and is purposely not factual, sometimes news is given this label if it’s in any way negative; inaccurate news, in contrast, occurs when journalistic errors do.

Others, in turn, argue that satire is more or less the same as “fake news,” because of its alleged intention to deceive. However, by definition, satire is humor a humorous or hyperbolic criticism of something. So while some fake news may be satire, not all satire is necessarily fake news. Ferrucci says that “satire’s always played a role…but we have to understand what they are.” Here is where he too argues that fake news and satire are not the same thing, namely because they rarely serve the same purpose. Satire is meant to be a critique, while news, even fake news is meant to inform; he said that “fake news plays upon people’s fears of diversity,” but that real news is “not just about disseminating information, it’s a tool to educate.”

After Ferrucci’s talk, I spoke with two students from a class discussing the representation of journalism in media. One said that while the talk did not really give her new information about the topic, it “pushed [her] to think more about fake news.” This student believed that it is a problem, but it is the people’s responsibility, not the media’s to fix that.

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