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Fake News! - Does Media Bias Affect Opinions?

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Three of Seven, Thu 09 Mar, 2017 4:56 PM
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    #1
    COMMUNITY DEBATE
    FAKE NEWS! - DOES MEDIA BIAS AFFECT OPINIONS?


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    Fake news is a term popularised by Donald Trump, but is there some truth to the bold statement? There have been stories in history, which have been completely false in their content or even The Onion, which is quite literally fake news! But when Trump has called news fake, is he more saying that what is being reported is overly bias in one way or the other? On the wider subject, does media bias have an affect on how people shape their views?

    There are people who will read multiple news sources before forming an opinion, but with the rise of Facebook, others just believe what they see on their dashboard, which can quite literally be fake, or even misrepresented.

    What do you think? How do you form your opinions?
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    #2
    To be perfectly frank, all news is 'faked' to some degree as I haven't yet seen a news outlet which have given an unbiased viewpoint towards any topic, whether you look at America, Trump, Brexit, the EU, 'Cancerous' foods, diet and exercise, celebrity gossip etc etc. everything has been slanted more often than not in order to sell a news story rather than telling it straight and often exaggerating the facts or filling in the gaps.

    Only today the german newspaper 'Bild' forced to apologise for its deliberate use of misleading news regarding 900 refugees assaulting people on NYE in Germany to only then have to apologise as the news story was a complete lie!

    Fake news is rife, facebook being its sales forecourt and other social media outlets, people who are less well informed often believe a pronounced newstory blaring interesting headlines rather than a well constructed non-biased article because they cannot tell the difference or extrapolate the bits that they should pay attention to. Trump plays on this massively, he knows his electorate, he knows his big headline news stories grab the attention of the people when really he lacks substance and brands any well written, well constructed well informed news article or story about him as fake news because it sounds clever to do so, his ignorance and attempts to block media outlets and construct his own outlet for media is testament to the fact he knows exactly what he is doing in manipulating headlines to suit himself.

    Fake News probably wouldn't be as prevalent if people actually READ news articles as they'd soon realise beyond the headlines that they are complete BS or based on misconstrued facts and figures!

    I think its one of the most dangerous things in the modern world today, because it literally if we aren't careful about what we read and believe, will cause uproar - when frankly something may have never have even happened!

    Just to go slightly off tangent for a moment, Donald Trump reminds me of one of the Pakleds out of TNG, I am Trump, we are strong LOL
    Avenger
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    #3
    I think the term "Fake News" is more of just President Trump's method of insulting and trying to cast some doubt on what is being reported.

    Though, his term is a bit exaggerated, he isn't completely wrong. He isn't completely right either. But as Avenger illustrated above, *ALL* media has some kind of spin or leaning. Word choices, view points, whatever... the point of the reporter or speaker is to get *THEIR* message out and to get people to side with *THEM*.

    I remember writing an essay about this... long ago. Well, it was more about the change of how "News" was disseminated to the masses, i.e. people. It began as word of mouth, then you had village or town criers, eventually printed news, radio, television, and finally the internet. The speed of which news spread and the accuracy of the actual news are interesting points to ponder about. But that is a different topic of discussion. The main point I want to make is the shift of how news was "processed" by people. It went from intellectual to emotional. Today news tries to elicit an emotional reaction. When you do this, your message can be nearly anything and make no sense, but as long as people are emotionally reacting in the direction you want them to... you are doing your job. Sensationalism is the state of our current news and media outlets.

    And when you get people riled up with emotion, they can do some pretty atrocious things in the name of righteousness.

    Ask yourself, how many of you get quickly upset or know people who get upset when you discuss politics, religion, or alternative lifestyles? The "upset" is an emotional reaction. And when you think about it, emotion clouds judgment.

    I'm going to get a little nerdy and geek out here and mention a the Jedi Code, which I think politicians and reporters need to live by... Smile

    There is no emotion, there is peace.
    Don’t let your emotions overwhelm you. If you have a argument, it’s better to stay calm. Becoming emotional wont solve the problem and you often regret what you have said and/or done. This doesn’t mean that you can’t feel emotions of course. Just don’t let them rule you. Try to understand them instead.

    There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
    Never let ignorance be an excuse. Look up things that you’re not sure about. You are never to old to learn.

    There is no passion, there is serenity.
    You should never become so passionate about something, that it clouds your judgment. It seems similar to the emotion/peace line but this one speaks of a more long term emotional state.

    There is no chaos, there is harmony.
    Things may seem chaotic at first but deep down everything is connected. Yin and yang is a great example of this (and I’m sure was used for this). They are opposites at first. Dark and light, death and life. But you can’t have darkness without light and without death, there would be no place left for the living.

    There is no death, there is the Force.
    The Force, which I see as the universal energy that connects everything, is everywhere and connects everything. Dying doesn’t mean non-existence. Besides the memories, there are still the particles that used to be you. Don’t mourn the death to much. They are still part of the Universe/Force and they will always be around.
    (Source - Amanda Baptist's website)

    TL;DR - You have to be mindful of the source/voice of any news you hear. Try to deduct your own conclusions instead of being swayed to one. Remember even "trusted" sources and voices can lead you down the path to the dark side. Wink
    Silynn 2014
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    #4
    I don't totally agree that Trump "popularized" the term "Fake News". The Media and certain groups started this trend, but when it was applied to Trump he turned around and started to use it himself against others that he either felt were reporting incorrect or false information. Whether what they reporting was false or not may be up for debate or conversation.

    That said, he does like to use it. A lot. And I'm inclined to believe it's because of the media biased views and reporting claims that may not have all the facts behind it--in other words only partially true (if at all depending on the source). I personally don't watch the news much anymore because of a lot of the bias views and only selectively view certain news sources from a wide range of sources that have over time shown to show the facts only without emotional bias. Even then, I find I need to do more digging to find out if what was reported to me is accurate or not on certain subjects. It's the only way I can stay informed on what's going on.

    There is a lot of emotional bias, especially when it comes to political views (as Silynn pointed out) on both sides of the "aisle", and I find a lot of the emotional outrage comes from a lack of information--both reported and assumed.
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    #5
    Sorry this is so long, and all over the place I tend to do that.

    Oh fake news. I have to be frank this term is getting old. Every time I see it I roll my eyes. I mean if you really think about to some degree mostly everything you read could be construed as fake news. How do we know that a young boy walked an old man across the street unless we see it with our own eyes? I know this analogy is a bit odd but the point I am trying to drive home here is that seeing is believing and believing is seeing.

    As for Facebook it's at this point a joke. All I see is things shared by my friends and associates that to be frank just based on the article title is fake. It's frustrating because, you can tell that no one actually does research. It's like "do your research before you comment or share things!" It takes me quite a bit of research and looking into something before I believe that it's real. Or for that matter even remotely true. It's hard to disseminate through all the garbage on Facebook. That also being said supposedly, the key word is supposedly. Facebook is set to release a report fake news option to posts and a "team of researchers will look into the article and determine it's authenticity." I'm not sure this will even work.

    it wake up in the morning and don't even want to get online because, I am afraid of the bull crap that I will see. I mean if it's not something Trump has done it's something the Republican party has done. I mean let me say now I don't support Trump but at the same time I can only take so much haha.
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    #6
    Well I have a few thoughts on this, but I will attempt to keep them brief as I am working on a personal project at the moment. However I will say that while I dislike the term "fake news" because its used as a blanket term for people to discredit any news they disagree with. There certainly is fake news stories out there though which are generally click bait articles looking to make a quick buck from advertising.

    I would say large media outlets need to get away from the trend of trying to be the first to a story and get the most views and instead do some true journalism. Some big media outlets have published inaccurate or false articles because of a lack of fact checking there by becoming "Fake news". Truly this is an issue that needs to be addressed but just dismissing everything they say out of can be just as bad. We sadly live in a time where everything that were told should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Butt CNN is one of my favorite examples, I have heard many people claim they are fake news because they do not like them. We have seen them cut people off with opposing points of views but that only makes them biased not fake. At least to me thats an important distinction, while a source might certainly be biased doesn't invalidate their points, it just means they should as I said previously be taken with a grain of salt.
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    #7
    Other than a few obvious fake/satirical news outlets ....... (that a lot of people don't realize are fake), I don't think major news outlets deliberately post fake news.

    They do have a bad habit of not thoroughly checking their stories/sources, such as the time not too long ago where AP, CNN and a host of others reported "news" taken from a satirical article published on the Onion.

    Overall, I believe they mostly tell the truth, and nothing but the truth. They just leave out the "whole truth" part, deliberately leaving out facts on the story that would demolish the slant (bias) they are striving for.

    For example, some of the news outlets have a definite bias against law enforcement. As such, they will post a story about an officer shooting someone and deliberately leave out the details of everything leading up to the shooting, to include cutting sections of videos to make the story read as yet another officer gone bad and using his authority to kill people he just doesn't like.

    Of course, once all the details finally come to light, not only was it justified, it's obvious that anyone with any sense of self preservation would have done the same thing.

    Same thing with "undocumented immigrants"....no, illegal aliens...I'm not into the whole PC thing so I'll call them what they are. They will post a sob story about an illegal getting caught and deported, leaving a family behind and yet not mention at all the criminal past, or brush it off with a statement like "minor brushes with the law", when the real truth is the person has been charged with anything from assault, robbery and drug dealing, has already been deported instead of thrown in prison and has snuck back in every time.

    Disclaimer: News outlets with the opposite point of view do the same thing and yes, it is my own personal bias which prevents me from having examples right off the top of my head.

    No matter which slant the story has on it, I prefer to know the whole story. If I have any interest on the topic, I take the time find all available information and then form my own opinion rather than blindly go with the opinion the "reporter" is trying to force on me.

    And I don't trust any "news" from social media sources.

    Of course the OPs question still remains. My answer is that yes, it does. Most people will not take the time to fact check anything and form their entire opinion on something based solely on what one report on one news outlet says. Sadly, just like news outlets, a lot of people have their own biases and will outright refuse to pay attention to any news/reports etc they do happen to see that doesn't agree with their own personal bias.
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    #8
    Fake news and biased news are two different things.

    Trump labels biased news as fake to obscure actual fake news. Or maybe he really can't tell the difference, that might explain the "OMG Obama wiretapping!" thing.

    Personally I form my opinions using my handy Magic 8 Ball.
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    #9
    Lots to unpack here, but I'll succinctly say that people need to enhance their ability to critically assess the streams of information that are hitting them and to screen the information for even the most basic logic and sense. It happens far too little, in my personal opinion.

    I'm inclined to require everyone to read Fahrenheit 451 and to ask ourselves whether, sans outright burning of books by "firefighters", if we are in fact living in that world...and to discuss the implications.