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Fake News, for better or worse?
Within today’s society of the digital age, people have discussed a topic that some may find to be alarming or controversial. The topic of “Fake News” has surfaced throughout the digital age, there are numerous reasons why fake news is considered a “dangerous” topic. To some people it can be something silly like aliens crash landing on earth, while to many it is over serious matters such as a certain presidents doing something irrational again or something that is considered surprising. Fake news is when people are misinformed on information about an event, topic, or person; or even information related to past actions of history. The misinformation can spread and cause rumors that aren’t true; thus, causing possible negative actions toward the matter at hand.
Fake news has been defined as “a catchall term that seeks to discredit a source, typically unaccompanied by any other supporting evidence” (Fernandez) or as false or misleading stories that are shared between people. This can be to get either a negative or positive response on issues that some may find controversial. In Judith Donath’s article on fake news, she informs that “Posting fake news stories is a modern form of identity politics, proclaiming an affinity for a particular community” (Donath). While most people can see clear indicators of fake news spread all over social media, it typically consists of bias opinions or un-factual claims. While conducting research for fake news in social media, I came across some fake news called “Obama Signs Executive Order Banning the Pledge of Allegiance in Public Schools Nationwide”. While this being a dead giveaway due to the fact that it would be outrageous for a president to dismiss the pledge in schools, it was also found on an untrustworthy website that was thought to be a trustful website.
Most trustworthy websites end in .net, .edu, or .gov, but the website I looked into ended in abcnew.com.co. These websites are labeled as “trustworthy” since it is from the government or other superficial people that have conducted research and tested the areas being discussed to be considered actual facts, rather than claims. Another way I was able to tell the article was fake was how the author used repetition to start off the sentences, “Early this morning, President Obama made what could very well prove to be the most controversial move of his presidency with the signing of…” (Rustling). Thus, giving away to the realization that the authors is not a particular trusting source of information.
The source from where the article was obtained from is not the only indication this article is not true. The Pledge of Allegiance has been recited for many years, it is symbolic and important to our history. To ban this pledge would be very unreasonable and would cause a lot of uproar by the people. The pledge was written by a Youth’s Companion employee, Francis Bellamy, in preparation for a Columbus Day celebration in 1892 (Martin). However, during that time period people did not realize how symbolic the pledge was. Students were required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school, even if they did not want to for religious reasons. In order for a student to have permission not to recite the pledge they must have a letter from their parents stating why their child cannot recite the pledge. In 1943, the supreme court case of West Virginia State Board of Education v Barnette ruled that students did not have to recite the pledge if it was against their religion and did not disrupt the class (“Parents”). The meaning and importance of the pledge change when a tragedy occured. September 11, 2001 was the day that changed everyone. There was a terrorist attack that left the entire world in silence and devastation. Students gave the pledge a new meaning of hope and unity. the pledge is not only important to the students, but also to those who fight for our country.
Within the articles I read, some points seem to be believable, but if you pay close attention then you won’t be fooled into their lies. It goes on to say by calling this ‘one nation under God’, we exclude the millions of hard working atheists and agnostics who call America home. By saying “liberty and justice for all’, we ignore the grievances of millions of Hispanics, African Americans and Muslims who feel they have neither liberty nor justice” (Rustling). Furthermore, Rustling goes on to include Hillary Clinton to mention that she supports Obama’s decision. Not only was Hillary included, so was Donald Trump, however he was not in agreeance with this order; he went on to call Obama, and I quote, “illegitimate Muslim traitor.” All this evidence and text citations make this news believable, however, this story is fake.
While some may consider to believe the fake news of “Obama Signs Executive Order Banning the Pledge of Allegiance in Schools Nationwide” you actually have to take into consideration of the source they gathered their materials and whether or not they are trustworthy source as well. A good way to make sure your information is legit is to fact check the information. Fact checking is when you consult a website or personal knowledge to assess whether a website or your source of information is actually reliable. This can be processed through websites such as FactCheck.org which is a very reliable website that checks whether or not the source is reliable. If the article is open to other points of view and allows the reader to better depict the situation then it is more likely to be a reasonable and honest source than that of one that is biased to their one sided claims. Overall, when it comes to whether or not fake news is a problem the answer is in the eye of the beholder. Fake news is an unprecedented problem that has swept over the eyes of millions and can not always be dismissed so easily, but if you are able to catch the unprecedented signs of the reality vs fake news then you can easily choose your own opinion on the matter.
- Martin, Leisa A. “Examining the Pledge of Allegiance.” vol. 99, no. 3, 2008, pp. 127-131
- “Parents, Students, and the Pledge of Allegiance: Why Courts Must Protect the Marketplace of Student Ideas.” Boston College Law Review, vol. 52, no. 1, Jan. 2011, pp. 375-410. EBSCOhost,
- Rustling, Jimmy. Obama Signs Executive Order Banning the Pledge of Allegiance in Schools Nationwide. Abcnews, 2016. http://abcnews.com.co/obama-executive-order-bans-pledge-of-allegiance-in-schools/
- Donath, Judith. Why Fake News Stories Thrive Online. CNN, 2016. http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/20/opinions/fake-news-stories-thrive-donath/
- Fernandez, Peter. “The Technology Behind Fake News.” Library Hi Tech News, vol. 34, no. 7, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Aug. 2017, pp. 1–5, http://search.proquest.com/docview/1941353026/.
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