False balance in media is real.
The integrity of modern media has been in to question recently, as it has played a potential role in many controversial topics--the existence of racism, the reality of climate change, and even the presidential election results. False equivalency (journalism that intends to be objective, but has most evidence stacked in favor towards a specific argument) has been on the rise this year, as has fake or false news published on major social media networks. Most attention has been drawn to Facebook, where fake news sites such as The Denver Guardian have posted misleading news stories during the election process. Social media has become a prime source of information as of late, with a Pew Research Center study showing that 62% of Americans get their news off of social media platforms.
Yet how do we get rid of it? With the state that journalism is in now, no one can be sure. Fake news is erupting from every direction, from extremist and partisan parties to a group of Macedonian teens, who had created a cluster of right-wing news sites that published many inaccurate or completely false pieces, one of them commenting:
"Yes, the info in the blogs is bad, false, and misleading but the rationale is that 'if it gets the people to click on it and engage, then use it."
-Macedonian student, BuzzFeed Interview
In regards to false equivalency, major news sources such as the New York Times have come under rapid fire for lacking complete objectivity in their articles, most notably in the coverage of the 2016 presidential candidates.
Recently, Google announced that fake news sites would be cut off from any revenue offered by advertisement. Although this is a wise move, and is likely to eliminate some false sources, the issue stands that many of these sites, most especially those advocating alt-right perspectives, are posting to stir up their target audience, and so actual revenue isn't as much of a concern. As for the integrity and objectivity of journalism, where exactly do the boundaries lie? Let's face it, President-Elect Donald J. Trump has been the main focus of journalism for most, if not all, of the previous election. Does it mean, then, that journalism is lacking objectivity if the odds are stacked higher against him?
As for the integrity of journalism, the question stands: will it recover?