The term “Fake News” is bandied about a lot in American politics, but it raises an interesting question about what the role of the news media is in modern America.
The news industry is supposed to tell us about things that happened that we were not there to see.
That’s the summation of their job.
You could look at news networks and newspapers as the equivalent of the town gossip.
The problems occur when news networks take it upon themselves to interject their own opinions into news stories, especially when it comes to politics.
For the first two and a half years of the presidency of Donald Trump, for example, the media has been constantly “reporting” that impeachment of Trump is imminent based on whatever anonymous sources they can find.
These anonymous sources could be anyone. They could be a pundit of the Democratic Party, they could be a member of the former Obama administration, they could be another reporter or editor, they could be the waiter at their favorite restaurant or they could be completely and entirely made up.
We, as consumers of the news, are never told who these anonymous sources are, which gives them free reign to say whatever they wanted with no repercussions.
Traditionally, anonymous sources are anonymous because they are whistle-blowers of whatever organization they are a part of. They ask for anonymity so that they don’t face repercussions for speaking out about possible corruption.
This flies in the face of what the modern Main Stream Media has been doing, where they are using anonymous sources to advance a narrative that they simply don’t have the facts for support.
If the facts aren’t there, or the examination of the evidence does not support the narrative, journalists should not go forward with the narrative.
When it IS supporting evidence that’s needed, the media’s favorite go-to place is Twitter. “Twitter blew up yesterday when…” is a common tag line.
What we are left with is numerous “news” narratives that begin with anonymous sources and are supported by several Tweets from anonymous users that are embedded in the articles.
Without journalistic integrity, the Main Stream Media will continue to earn its now infamous moniker “Fake News.”