If I can be serious for a moment… Well, not too serious but just a little bit because I’m kind of fed up with how the world seems to be now. Everyone is at odds with each other and the world seems to be divided more than ever. This is incredibly terrible, considering that this is the era when we’re supposed to be so enlightened and caring and accepting of everyone’s views and passions. But no. The opposite is happening and everyone seems to be at each other’s throats and everyone loves to spew bile at everyone. What the hell is happening today?
There are a lot of reason why this is happening today. But I think one of the biggest contributors to this great divide in the world is something that some people are calling “fake news.” But not in the way that you think. The term itself has taken a life of it’s own. Fake news isn’t the spread of misinformation or totally bogus facts anymore. Fake news is now any piece of information, real or made up, that we don’t even bother considering anymore. If it doesn’t line up to our way of thinking, it’s automatically fake news.
But you know what makes this even worse? It’s that we’re the ones that are actually spreading this kind of fake news. Essentially, we’re the ones who are causing the disparity between each other. We’re all “fake news.”
The weird thing is that fake news, in the traditional sense, has always been around. But it’s gotten even more traction today thanks to this little thing we like to call the Internet. It was incredibly difficult to pass along fake news before the age of the Internet as you had to make a big stink about it in order to spread it. But nowadays, all you need to to is to press a button and voila! It’s out there for everyone to see.
I guess creative people kind of took advantage of this as fake news websites started popping up soon after the birth of the Internet. Take one of the original “fake news” publications ever, The Onion. The company has actually been out for a long way, way before the proliferation of the Internet. But The Onion only started getting really big when they started posting online. Usually, it’s kind of obvious that the news The Onion publishes are made up but with a slight grain of truth mixed in. That’s how satire works and The Onion does a great job of it as it looks like it could be real on some level. A really insane level.
This should be all fine and dandy if a lot of the “fake news” sites make it obvious that they’re just joshing. The problem is, sometimes, really unscrupulous people intentionally publish fake news and try to pass it along as real news, thus blurring the lines between what is real and what is not. Usually, these fake news sites try to have an agenda of some sort. They try to play to a particular audience they cater to. They intentionally make up stories to make it seem like the other side is doing something shady or stupid and vice versa. This wouldn’t be so bad if they make it seem like the stories in The Onion. However, it’s like they go out of their way to make it look like fact instead of fiction.
What makes it worse is that a lot of news, real or fake, works in a way that caters to a specific audience, leaving a certain slant on the story. Everyone has an opinion on something but some people contend that their opinion is the correct one. Take the latest Ghost in the Shell film. The latest film starring Scarlett Johannson has garnered a lot of controversy because it stars Scarlett Johannson! The main character in the Ghost in the Shell animes always starred Mokoto Kusanagi who is, just from the name alone, is Japanese. This got a lot of fans up in arms because they say Hollywood should have hired an Asian actress to play the role, even though the Japanese were actually pleased with the casting of Scarlett Johannson for the live action Ghost in the Shell film!
Of course, that’s the general Japanese opinion. I personally don’t really care about who’s playing who unless it plays an integral part of the plot. I mean, shouldn’t these same people be upset that there’s a movement to cast Idris Elba, a man of color, to be the next James Bond, a decidedly white man? Shouldn’t they hate the idea of this casting decision? I’m honestly fine with both of those casting decisions and I have no qualms of seeing a black James Bond in the future… and long as the acting is good.
But does my opinion matter? On a certain level, yes. But in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t. But, once again, here comes the Internet! With the Internet, it’s become incredibly easy to express your opinion and demand that everyone conforms to it. To them, your opinion doesn’t matter. There is no compromising with them. They’re essentially thinking like computers with a bunch of 1s and 0s. There are no two sides to the story. There’s only one side: theirs.
And you can definitely see this when you go to your Facebook page. I don’t know about you but my Facebook page is dominated by numerous friends expressing their opinions and thoughts on various subjects. That includes the posting of “fake news” for everyone to read. It’s maddening and depressing at the same time. This issue is compounded by the fact that each and every news story they post is black or white. They see something the government is doing, they’re either 100% for or 100% against it. They see something happen in the world, they totally hate or live it. There is no middle ground for compromise nor is there a debate to check the benefits of one side. Because that would be “fake news” to them.
This is why I say we’re all “fake news.” We’re part of the problem. We spread our own opinion and we will defend it to the death, even if other facts creep in. As long as those facts contradict what we “think” is right, it’s automatically fake news. No one is open minded anymore to new thoughts as we all think we know everything. No one likes to listen to the merits of a point of view that differs from theirs.
I will freely admit that this entire post can be considered fake news because this is my opinion. But I am willing to debate and try to be receptive to the ideas that you present.
What’s your take on “fake news” and how people handle it? Let me know in the comments section below!