Lot a’ people talkin’ fake news lately. Lotta people using words diff’ren’ly, we reckon.
There are at least three different concepts/definitions wrapped up in people’s usage of the term “fake news.” In the majority of cases, they are implying/referring to either:
1) Intentional Satire, that simpletons confuse as actual journalism/actual events,which elites argue is corrupting/confusing the masses
2) Intentional fabrications, intentionally meant to mislead the public, either by illegitimate websites posing as “legitimate” established news source (CNN, Fox News, etc), by minor league blogs and conspiracy sites, or by the major news agencies themselves (rarely knowingly)
3) Unethical journalism – biased, unreliable, misrepresentative stories; outright “hit pieces” such as the recent PewDiePie Nazi allegations; skewed perspectives which do not
When people allege that something is fake news, they do this because either:
1) they simply do not agree with the story (alleged fabrications), usually because they do not trust the source or do not accept the impartiality of the journal/journalist(s),
2) They do not feel it qualifies as ‘actual news,’ meaning they allege it is blown out of proportion or was irrelevant to begin with,
3) They have actual evidence contrary to the message, details, or narrative expressed or implied by the reporting – meaning they have identified that the story presents a “version” of events which completely ignores, misrepresents, edits, or fabricates reality: neglecting to provide a balanced view of issues, in favor of a focus on (or omission of) scandalous elements, partial truths, obfuscation, omissions, and generally using the story to “paint a specific picture” which conveniently aligns with their biases and reinforces their existing worldview, without consideration for alternative interpretations (not of facts, but of data and how it is collected and represented, for example blaming Wisconsin’s abysmal vote count for Hillary Clinton on racism, sexism, hacking, or anything other than the fact Hillary never showed up to campaign there!), context (see again the WSJ hit-piece on Pewds), or .
What do all of these different definitions, all of these reasons, have in common?
They are rooted in, or are the product of Sensationalism, either accentuating or downplaying it, in order to serve their predetermined narrative.
They are all giving people what they want to hear, what they want to see and read. We’ve long established that we are now living in the time of personal echo chambers, we all rarely if ever come into contact with opinions and perspectives contrary to our own, and if we do, they are swiftly dismissed and deleted. And to feed our unending hunger for more and more similar opinions is simply too irresistible an offer for the once great media moguls in print, TV and radio, who have been suffering through a Great Depression for well over a decade – anyone still left in those businesses is surely well past the “brother can you spare a dime” phase, and has long since gotten used to eating any rats and pigeons they can sink their teeth into, meaning they (modern journalists) have become eager to take (or fake) any story they can get – even at the cost of murdering journalistic integrity in cold blood, in each headline and after every by-line the truth has become more skewered and spun than the rotisserie rat-kabobs they are cooking over their flaming garbage cans.. Anyways.. Thus, we’ve seen the rise of “native” advertising, as well as the decline in print media creating a force of journalists who are overstretched, overworked, and ethically compromised, favoring click-friendly articles over truth, reality, and journalistic responsibility.
In our opinion, it is not so much the existence of fake news that is, either by intention and design, or by mistake, to be blamed for the incredibly misinformed and misled public (of which we are all a part of), but the failure to emphasize and provide adequate coverage to Real News. Journalists are unable to fuel appropriate levels of public outrage over legitimate events and issues: why is this story not grounds for immediate impeachment??? It’s because we have failed to hold ourselves to standards as a society. Leave it to the Unists to shake their heads at the decline of Western Civilization, but it’s clear from our own lives and the lives of everyone around us – we only tune in to the voices that we want to hear. We only engage in the conversations we are already absolutely decided on. We only read or click on the stories that match our chosen narrative. News has become like music, something you enjoy only from certain sources, where your tastes dictate what kind you listen to, and the rest gets ignored and goes completely off the radar. Rather than subject yourself to untantalizing, unattractive, or God Forbid uncomfortable stories and news articles, why not, like with music, just spend your time on the ones you like? So without any demand for stories on complicated corruption, monopolist businesses, unsensational scandals, or city hall power grabs, stories born of diligence, accountability, and commitment to integrity, those stories disappear. And therefore, it is only in the absence of coverage of these actual events that the “fake news” has an audience, one more willing to remain unquestioning than ever, so long as they are entertained or validated.
Unism calls for an end to this. The future of journalistic integrity is grim, as the individuals and businesses who Own journalists are able to dictate what is an is not reported on, shaping what citizens come to understand as what is and is not reality. And our own tastes dictate what is and is not able to generate the most revenue, creating a loop which can only be broken at the source: by demanding political transparency, business regulations, and a completely free press, one unencumbered by arbiters aiming to shape reality by addition or omission, we can make the future of journalism, and thereby the future and intelligence of our population, less destined for downfall.
See you in the circle,
Tweet us @TheUnists