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Fake News: Separating Truth From Fiction: 2. Current News Landscape

Partisan Views & Fake News

Fake News exists in virtually all disciplines and subjects, but the increased attacks on the validity of journalists have led to partisan views outweighing other factors when evaluating the legitimacy of news and information.  A hyper-partisan atmosphere also contributes to the increased employment of actual fake news to discredit or attack the opposing side.  This Pew Research Center Report and article from The Christian Science Monitor both illustrate the impact of this new reality. 

News Today

The Internet has led to a huge decline in traditional news sources.  In 2011, CNN fired 50 full time photographers and journalist as part of a plan to rely more heavily on its citizen journalists via iReport.  As newspapers have collapsed, blogs and other sources have stepped in to fill the gap with people that often lack the journalistic qualifications and knowledge needed to verify information. In a rush to be the first to release breaking news, facts are cross-referenced with Wikipedia or left behind altogether.

Financial firms now control half of US daily newspapers. Many local news outlets have gone out of business, and large companies have stepped in posing as local news sources. They create autogenerated and partisan content without high journalistic standards.

CNN logo in red letters

News on Social Media

Just under 50% of Americans get at least some news from social media according to a 2021 Pew Research Study. Social media makes video sharing easy, and editing tools and artificial intelligence allow for the creation of realistic fake videos. A recent August 2021 study found people are more likely to believe video fake news than audio or text fake news. People are also more likely to share video, leading to viral fake videos that reach hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Most People Can Spot Fake News Right? Wrong!

A November, 2016 Stanford University study of over 7800 students from middle school through college found that over 80% of middle school students could not distinguish legitimate news from ad-sponsored and fake news. College students had difficulty identifying activist posts in social media and potential bias.  These are digital natives, yet have great difficulty evaluating and determining the legitimacy of information.

A recent 2021 study found that nearly five years after the Stanford study, most Americans continue to struggle with identifying fake news.

 

Denzel Addresses Fake News

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