What Defines Fake News, Defines Us
It was just not so long ago that fake news became such global blockbuster that even the no less than a caretaker of truth from the Catholic world Pope Francis shared his reflection that it began right from the book of Genesis.(cruxnow.com)
Fake news defines the triumph of one’s civilization or empire and the setback of another. The Battle of Kadesh, where Ramesses fought the Hittites single-handedly, amplifies how fake news can define the fate of an empire. As ancient as Before Christ, fake news had already thrived in that beauty where Lies are truth to the impeccable, the chaste, and the virgin.
Nowadays, fake news continues to define the fate of the society, including the elements, the organs, and the systems that compose it. It defines the very existence of society. It becomes a driving force used methodically to serve one’s purpose—be it for the best or for the worst.
“It’s Not Fake News, It’s Misinformation/Disinformation” Claim
Wikipedia has such this dramatic definition of a fake news. Accordingly,
“Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media. Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to damage an agency, entity, or person, and/or gain financially or politically, often using sensationalist, dishonest, or outright fabricated headlines to increase readership, online sharing, and Internet click revenue.”
Articles, blogs, reports, documentaries, or any information with elements described by Wikipedia definition of fake news are fake news. But there’s a flaw with that definition on the business side, especially in marketing and advertising. For a business to earn revenues, marketing and advertising step in.
Advertisements, in general sense, may have this element called dishonesty as a “catch”. Mainstream media both online and print may use exaggerating headlines misinforming the minds of the readers by reading the headline alone. Legitimate monetized websites and blogs use click baits to earn revenues. By following Wikipedia‘s definition, all we see around and read throughout the corners of the world are faces of a fake news.
To the common end users of information, are they aware being misinformed or disinformed outright? Most of us may retort that information campaign against fake news can be the answer to solve fake news diarrhea. But, are these people who have introduced themselves as guardians against fake news don’t have these so-called intentions for the business or entity they may be representing? Unless these people and organizations are impeccable, chaste, and virgin, their intentions to educate the public about fake news are real (all eyes roll). Isn’t Hypocrisy a fake news?
Misinformation and Disinformation: Elements of a Fake News
Misinformation bears an information without an intent to deceive or to spread false information. Disinformation, however, bears an information that is obviously manipulated to deceive, with an intent to spread false information in a deliberate manner. Whatever these types of information are, they are considered as elements of fake news. The only difference is the intent of sharing the information obtained.
Journalism speaks of an objective information dissemination to the audience it serves. Blogging exercises an art with elements subjective and dependent on the comprehension of the audience a blogger serves. Along the lines of journalism and blogging, there is this cloak of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression and of the press.
While journalists are guided by such Journalism Code of Conduct and by such editorial policy and guidelines, bloggers may either guided by that same Code journalists have or by the principle of professionalism and self-imposed blogging ethics. Whatsoever, they are all subject to the existing laws that penalize a crime committed. However, before one is being penalized, here come the elements of intention to misinform and to disinform—a court battle of reasoning and establishing an objective shadow out of the shades of subjectivism—a journey that is so costly and exasperatingly freaking tedious.
How could one precisely calibrate that the information obtained is within the confine of misinformation or disinformation?
First Draft News, a project of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, devises a scale that measures the type of contents published—Seven Types of Mis- and Disinformation. You can read the description of the scale HERE.
First Draft News suggests that in making decisions and in formulating judgments on the information obtained, let us consider first who creates the content and why the content is being created.
While there are other schools of thought that attempt to distinguish fake news as different from disinformation basing on various factors and motives, it would be too puristic and cumbersome to us to subscribe to that thought when all lead us to a misleading information—fake news.
When Formulating Solutions to Fake News Problem Is a Backward Thinking
The rapid success of the information technology and communications and the widespread information war are all breakthroughs of the changing time. As fake news has been the widespread concern globally, and right until now there has been no concrete mitigating ways and approaches designed effectively to it from conception to actualization, why making ourselves be bothered about fake news?
There are other problems that are killing the entire moral fiber of the ecosystem day by day. Besides hypocrisy and vested interests, corruption, poverty, employment, education, etc. are entirely worth the effort, energy, and budget spent. We are not only making ourselves trivial in spending the time to fake news but also making the entire country to think backward, conditioning the minds of the younger generations to learn only black or white limiting them of possible options that may make them effective and efficient in the changing times. #ForgetFakeNews #MoveOnPhilippines