Although the phrase “fake news” has been around for more than a century, President Donald Trump has been using the term frequently since his 2016 election campaign. If the President of the United States refers to members of the press as “the enemy of the people” in his tweets, the only outcome is the loss of public trust in the press, and therefore, loss of faith in journalists. So what can we, as consumers, do about this?
News-gathering is an act protected by the First Amendment, which allows all citizens to gather news. Trump's false claims are not so much an attempt to establish his inventiveness, as it is an effort to cement his own definition of “fake news” as a real definition.
One tactic used in the past by fascist leaders and dictators to gain more power is to create an enemy out of the press, arguing that any news article that speaks negatively of them is false. In this way, the general public feels sympathetic toward them and believes them, and instead loses belief in the press. This means that the press becomes suppressed and loses its First Amendment rights.
CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta believes that it is up to reporters and journalists to stand up for what they do. As for the public, the power of fake news is in their hands. We need consumers that will take an informed approach when watching the news. Doing so encourages people to do their own research on stories, and form their own opinions. Once people discover the truth, the outlets that put out misleading or false articles will then be held accountable. Hopefully, such awareness will stop articles like these from being published.
If something seems unbelievable, do your research and know the facts. The best medicine to combat the fake news epidemic is to let consumers build up their trust in the media again and develop the ability to defend their opinions.
My name is Jackie Garcia and I am 21 years old, majoring in Media Arts and Design. When I'm not busy with school or writing, I love to travel, dance and watch reruns of New Girl.