I don’t think the common reader knows what it is to be objective. Worst, the Americans consuming current and trending news do not realize the importance of what they are reading.
Therefore the balance and fairness, objectivity, in the news does not matter. There is no further research for truth, and the public simply believes there is truth in all they see. This lack of further search for the truth, otherwise known as confirmation bias, is described by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as “our tendency to see only the evidence that confirms our existing opinions.”
Confirmation bias allows the public to be negligent in their search for the truth, as they ignore any news that doesn’t fit their current opinion. Our ignorant society would choose to consume watered down, half-objective-half-bias news from misleading sources rather than research what’s going on in the world and make an informed decision.
Do we blame the public, for not proactively searching for the truth after making a few quick clicks to find what’s trending in the news? No, we cannot blame the public for falling faintly to the fast and vast variety of breaking news headlines. We can blame the boom of fake news, and the amount of fabricated information available because of it.
There is someone always out on the internet injecting falsehoods into the media for naïve minds to cogitate on. Journalists must report objectively on what is happening in the world in order to better serve a public that is not naïve, in an effort to bring to a halt the popularity and spread of fake news.
As journalists publishing in an era where our work is rated by intelligent algorithms that promote ‘what’s popular’ as ‘what’s important,’ we need to closely monitor what we publish to provide justice to our audience.
While it becomes cheaper to post anything and everything on the internet, credibility and objectivity are still respected by the public to some degree. It would be insulting for a journalist to report on an event without any supporting materials, hence the premise of fake news.
“Tying stories more tightly to reputable fact-checking information, and expanding efforts to teach media literacy” is the easiest way a journalist can remain reputable, credible and objective against fabricated news.
With trustworthy news comes bias, and the fight to understand the impact a journalists’ own bias when published inappropriately. However, remaining unopinionated while reporting cannot be avoided, all people alike have experienced life differently, that alone sways our thinking, writing, and personalities one way or another.
Journalists need to counteract personal ties to their reporting by striving to be objective. In a PEW survey, two-thirds of print journalist described objectivity as “providing an interpretation of the news” as a core principle in their work, pointing out that balance comes with interpretation.
However, an organization cannot just force objectivity onto their writers. Journalists and their publishers cannot please everyone as “this damages the credibility of the craft by making it seem unprincipled, dishonest, and biased.”
Instead, a need for objectivity distracts journalists from utilizing their platform to deliver the truth where it is so desperately needed. What journalist report must be pushed to inform, “a deeper understanding of what is true and what is false” to serve justice to a public often blinded by bias.
Why? Because the public is reading the first opinion, poll or Tweet on their timeline and deciding from that idea their own stance and agenda with no further research. Considering the algorithms tied to our searches and news feeds, artificial intelligence that is constantly learning about our personal bias and preferences is the reason bias news seeps into our feed.
PBS reports “it’s not so much that individuals lose their ability distinguish low-quality information from high-quality information,” it’s the fact that algorithms running our feeds cannot uncover the truth from the lies.
An alarming 51% of Americans reported reading somewhat fake political news, another 16% didn’t know they were sharing fake news until later on.
The ingestion of fake news cannot be entirely blamed on a naive public when 39% of Americans are confident they can spot fake news. It is entirely the fault of the platforms running the internet that fake news is becoming prominent.
The algorithms that run every feed we have our names attached to is constantly searching for information to fit our needs and our opinions.
Our social media feeds are confirmation bias on steroids. “What you see when you look at the top of the feed is determined algorithmically by what you and your friends like,” further causing less of a need to research the news we see.
So if the system that decides what we see cannot decipher what is true, and the public is increasingly becoming more confused with what is true, it is journalist responsibility to uncover the truth and report.
There is an inability in the public to determine breaking news from fake news. There is also a struggle for the public in interpreting whether they are reading bias news or objective news. It is journalists who need to acknowledge “our readers need, more than ever, reliable reporting that tells them what is true when that is knowable, and pushes as close to the truth as possible when it is not.”
If 75% of journalists in 1999 agreed “it was possible to obtain a true, accurate, and widely agreed-upon account of an event,” then journalist of 2018 should be able to do the same, and better.
In a clickbait based society where foreign governments can release Russian propaganda to America skew elections and declare “Hillary Clinton once sold weapons to the Islamic State,” the public needs credible journalists to unearth the truth.
The applications that we use to post what we find relevant, Twitter and Facebook alike, make it too easy to put opinion powered information at everyone’s fingertips. Proving easier to make up the truth rather investigate what is the truth. While the internet is filled to the brim with information, and the public becoming increasingly too lazy to delve the news, journalists have to push more of the truth to the public.
The people who sell fake news have muddied an area that was once the grey. Journalism has always had some sort of alternative motive, some type of grey area.
But when the news became deliverable to our fingertips, to our watches and new found “tablets” all hope was lost; the birth of fake news.
Credible journalists have to find a way to report and be objective while constantly providing the public with the truth. Objectivity is journalist “transparent approach to evidence” so that whatever is breaking the internet at a certain time is backed by credible voice and raw, hard evidence.
No matter how quickly a deadline is approaching or how little information may be available, credible journalists have to find a way to bring to the forefront the truth.