What is it about Donald Trump’s media usage and fake news that’s making headlines in the media industry?

By Chloe Sladden Turner

Fake news is defined as news without no sense of truth behind them. It has been a constant occurrence in the media since new media really took off. If you asked someone to associate a person to it, they would probably say America’s president, Donald Trump and his love-hate relationship with fake news.

It could be suggested that Donald Trump makes it difficult to tell what the fake news is. A possibility is that he has some prejudices or dislike about media organisations or their writers. Or simply he knows the viewers of those unsupportive of him, and dislikes them.

A USA Today article by Ryan W. Miller reflects on Trump famously telling a CNN reporter “I like real news. Not fake news. You’re fake news” at a supposed press conference, and refused to take or answer questions from the CNN reporter. It is not confirmed what made him say this, but it could be argued CNN may have given him some negative press, which could have made him not like them? Although, it may be that very high ranking people in positions with lots of power, like President Trump, want to maintain a certain image or use the media to back up their own agendas, despite negatieve news being somewhere part of the freedom of the press?

Trump recently attended a X rally in October 2018, falsely accusing Hillary Clinton. This in turn, is a example of someone not liking fake news using it for their own gain. In a article by Greg Sargent, from the Washington post, it was reported the president said: “There was a collision between Hillary, the Democrats and Russia, Trump said, adding there was ‘a lot ’ of such ‘collision’”. This was suggested to be nothing new, as the Washington tons post’s Greg, added: “Trump has made more than 5,000 false or misleading statements”. If so, then why are all his “false or misleading statements” making headlines in established media’s?

Putting Trump and his use of fake news, aside, a real display of fake news actually being fake news are the posted messages on social media, after major incidents. When Hurricane Harvey took place in Texas, August 2015; as seen in this BBC article by Georgina Rannard. It was posted that a Canadian man had not opened his mosque doors to Christian survivors of the hurricane. This was revealed to be untrue as the man in question had never even been to Texas.

Social media networks, particularly Facebook and Twitter, allows fake news to spread. The fake news may even be picked up by print and broadcast medias, before the truth is revealed. By then, millions could have seen and reacted to it.

In other news, the rise of fake news is suggested to have possibly made more University students, concerned about it. A Poynter article by Daniel Funke, it has commented how: “almost half of the 6,000 American college students surveyed said they lacked confidence in discerning real from fake news on social media. And 36 percent of them said the threat of misinformation made them trust all media less”.

Students appear to perhaps be fearful of news, because it is looks so real it can be hard to tell ll if it’s real or fake. This idea of fake news could be causing people, as Daniel Funke article suggests: to be “gullible and cynical” when it comes to using or interpreting the news. The media industry could be severely affected, if young people are less active media consumers, due to the risk of fake news.

In Fubkea article, a quote from Northwestern professor Wihbey, is added and it reflects on fake news as he says: “We don’t want to raise a generation not to believe in the power of well-reported, we’ll-researched and well-sourced news”.

If the quality of authentic looking fake-news, and the fear/risk of being fooled by it continues; it could become a serious issue in the media economy. This makes it harder for honest, ethical and good writers in journalism to serve their role or purpose in the news for the people, if fake news is making people second guess them.

The important thing to remember is that if the facts of a news story don’t add up, or a lot of sources cannot be confirmed or written by a reliable source and so on, it could be fake news. As time goes on, it should become easier for people to trust the media again, and be able to recognize the fake news, when it appears.

For now, just be vigilant towards fake news and enjoy and be educated by the media, without fear.

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What is it about Donald Trump’s media usage and fake news that’s making headlines in the media industry?