After reading the PBS article, I agree with Craig Silverman when he said that fake news predates the internet. The only difference is that today we have an overabundance of news just a few seconds and a few clicks away. Sometimes this surplus of information, reports, data, voices, echoes, and perspectives can all blend into each other and become a gargantuan gorilla beating his chest on the highest skyscraper and disrupting the calm within the chaos. News in itself can sometimes be that gorilla, no? For me, it can be a source of great entertainment and great distress, at the same time and at different times.
In my view, news is a form of acquiring and reporting worldwide daily occurrences. They can be in oral, visual, aural, even gustatory and tactile forms. When Silverman said that: “We just sort of consume things in an almost passive way, and fake stuff can slip into that real stream of news a lot easier” I realized that I too have fallen into that trap. I find myself sometimes reading an article and taking its contents for cold, hard facts without validating the article’s sources. There were many times where I was a victim of fake news, especially news originating from my native country. Guyana, being as small and underdeveloped as it is, has neither the finances nor personnel to ensure that all local online news is factual and accurate. As such, I ensure that the news I read online is fact-checked by my family and friends living in Guyana.
I obtain my news from many websites and tend to enjoy reading news that is delivered in enjoyable – yet factual – ways. I appreciate Buzzfeed’s and Bright Side’s innovative ways of reporting worldwide information. I also have the CNN, BBC and Apple News apps on my iPhone where I receive push notifications of worldwide news but I hardly read the articles from said apps. Rather I launch Buzzfeed or check Facebook to see what everyone else is saying about a particular piece of news. So in a way, I use CNN, BBC and Apple News to keep me aware of incoming news and then Buzzfeed and Facebook to actually read the news. For news pertaining to Guyana, I use the verified online news sites based in Guyana and also an online newspaper column that delivers the local news in a satirical but not condescending way.
Just a few hours ago, I received the Apple News notification of the Quebec Mosque shooting and I was amazed at how, in mere minutes following the incident, news were already streaming into Facebook’s permanent lexicon of data and information. With just a light fingertip of a touch, I could see, read and hear the world as it reacted to yet another mass shooting.
As I continue to trek through this technological time, I will seek to be vigilant in my news consumption because I’d never want to fall into that deep, dark abyss full of falsehoods, fakeness and fabrications.
Like Haymitch said in Catching Fire: “He wanted it to be real.” (Collins, 2009). Because realism is…
Collins, S. (2009). Catching Fire. New York, New York, United States of America: Scholastic. Retrieved January 30, 2017
How online hoaxes and fake news played a role in the election. (2016, November 17). Retrieved January 30, 2017, from PBS: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/online-hoaxes-fake-news-played-role-election/