A more accurate new year

By: 
NLJ Staff

Fake News might seem like a new concept, but it has actually been around for a long time. The internet and cable news networks have probably made it a little more apparent, but it has always been a part of our media consumption.

And Fake News isn’t always produced by news outlets. It is just as likely to come from elected officials themselves, who don’t necessarily have to lie to mislead you. Sometimes all it takes is distracting you with a non-story in the hopes that you will fail to notice the real story because they fear negative public reaction to their actions.

Big companies can do it too, and so can famous people. They just always called it “Spin.” When it comes to Fake News, only the name is really new. We were prompted to write this week’s introduction by this video, which does a pretty good job of demonstrating that Fake News isn’t necessarily about media or politicians lying to your faces. It is more subtle than that, and actually involves emphasis more than anything.

Politicians and news outlets — because of their own inherent bias, which we all possess as human beings — simply over-report or under-report an incident or issue based on how much they feel threatened personally. They aren’t lying, and generally believe that what they are telling you is important. Like the rest of us in the internet era, they simply end up being trapped by their own confirmational bias.

Like the vast majority of community newspapers, we make a genuine effort to set our own bias aside when it comes to story selection and perspective, but we are humans too so it would be dishonest to suggest that we succeed 100 percent of the time. Fortunately, newspapers have been giving local governments a chance to put their own information directly in front of the people for centuries in this country. Unfortunately, they sometimes don’t take us up on it.

So if you’re sick of trying to figure out what is Fake News — and what is the real thing — take a look at the video NLJ Publisher Bob Bonnar helped the Wyoming Press Association produce a year ago on that very subject. Remember that community newspapers continue to provide the most “Real” form of news imaginable in the printed public notices you find in them every week.

And we’re looking forward to partnering with our local governments to “Keep It Real” for you in the new year!

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News Letter Journal

News Letter Journal
14 W. Main St.
P.O. Box 40
Newcastle, WY 82701
Ph: (307) 746-2777
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