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Fact v. Fiction - Fake News: What is Fake News?

Post-Truth Era

Over the past year, the phrase "Post-Truth Era” has been showing up in a lot of media.  But what exactly does this mean?  Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” 

The "Post-Truth Era" refers to the social phenomenon wherein people are more apt to believe what they want to or what they feel should be correct based on personal beliefs, rather than on concrete evidence and fact, even when contradictory facts are presented. 

This is not a new concept; however, social media and the ease and convenience of accessing information has given rise to incidences of news being distributed that is inaccurate, skewed, biased, or completely fabricated. 

Today there is an influx of finger-pointing and accusation about fake news.  It seems as if the most reliable of sources are being accused of disseminated falsehoods.  By taking the time to research facts as they are presented to you, you can filter out the false and biased news and concentrate on credible information.

Why is this important to you?

Fake news is a threat:

In the Information Age you deserve accurate and comprehensive information.  Encountering lies and biased information by deceptive means is frustrating, not to mention time consuming.  Everyone deserves the truth.

Fake news is dangerous:

Individuals can act in harmful ways after reading fake news.  A recent example is the Pizzagate story, wherein a person opened fire at a local pizza restaurant after reading a fabricated story.  The spreading of lies and deceit creates hostility.

Fake news can damage your reputation:

Sharing fake news or using it to support an argument can diminish your standing and credibility among your peers and colleagues. 

Fake news creates distrust in all news:

Accusations made against credible news organizations cause mistrust in those organizations.  These accusations can lead to a general mistrust of all media sources, including quality media outlets with high journalistic standards.