Fake News

Kira McHale, Staff

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The term “fake news” may or may not be something you hear often depending on your level of interest in politics, news, and the media. Our president uses the phrase regularly whether it be on Twitter or in his speeches, so if you watch any news channels or use social media, or just the internet in general, it is likely you have heard or read the term at least once. The Penn State University Libraries website defines fake news as sources that intentionally fabricate information, disseminate deceptive content, or grossly distort actual news reports. Although “fake news” is applied to news sources and outlets, the term is often used to refer simply to information that cannot be verified.

The Pratt Library website lists the sources of news ranging from the radio, newspapers, television, the internet, social media, and even word of mouth. Fake news can come from any of these sources. There are a few different types of fake news everybody should be aware of, including deliberate misinformation, false headlines, social media sharing, and satire. Deliberate misinformation is usually written for profit and shared to target certain groups of people who want to believe the information is true. False headlines are created to grab attention, but the information under these headlines differs. Comedic news is based on truth but twists information for the sake of entertainment and is likely to be spread by people who take it seriously and don’t recognize the humorous nature. “I personally don’t believe everything I see on the news because I know there is a lot of fake news going around and not everything is true. We need to keep the media to what is true so people aren’t freaked out or mislead by what’s fake,” sophomore Zeta Cashion says.

It is important for one to know how to tell fake news apart from real news. According to IFLA.org, some ways to do this are to consider the source of the information, do further research on the topic, check the credibility of the author, make sure the news isn’t satire, look for supporting sources, make sure the news is up to date, or go to a fact-checking site. “When I come across something I am skeptical of, I do some further research on my own to see if it’s true or not,” sophomore Ochen McHale says. It is dangerous to believe false information, as fake news can ruin people’s reputations or even affect which political leaders one votes for based on lies or biased information. “It’s a big deal for people to believe in fake news because it can affect who they vote for and elect,”  McHale says. Fake news is easily believed by many, especially by those who want to believe or whose views and opinions are reinforced by the inaccurate information. “Fake news is bad because it propagates untrue ideals and prejudices, and you need to fact check your news,” senior Dominick Quinn says. Next time you come across a shocking headline or an article that doesn’t seem quite right, before believing it and spreading it immediately, take a minute to make sure it isn’t fake news.