The Term "Fake News" Needs To Die

"Fake news" (n): A news article with no factual basis (i.e., Pizzagate). An Odyssey article or an opinion/commentary piece mislabeled as "journalism." A click-bait hit piece that isn't actually newsworthy. A satirical piece from the Onion that someone took too seriously.

In our social media-focused world, where "citizen journalists" (a fancy term for kids with blogs) are considered on par with professional reporters, actual fake news could proliferate easily. Distinguishing between click-bait trash/rumors/commentary and actual journalism has become increasingly difficult for many people.

The implications of this phenomenon are horrifying. At one point, the "fake news crisis" certainly appeared to be worth holding a national conversation. An open, reliable and easily accessible press is a necessary part of a representative democracy. Without it, how would we make informed decisions in voting? How would we hold our government officials accountable?

However, the "fake news crisis" has been blown out of proportion by the far right. The term used to carry weight. But now "fake news" as used by President Trump and his supporters just mean "any story I don't like." I'm sure we're all tired of hearing the president holler "fake news" about every single article published by pretty much any major news outlet except Breitbart and Fox. No citizen of any country wants to hear about scandal after scandal turning out to be true after politicians have decried the rumors as "fake news."

Moreover, I don't want to live in a society where people just accept everything politicians tell them. I don't want America to be a country where "unfriendly" journalists are banned from press conferences. I don't want "conservative" people who "love the First Amendment" to be okay with censorship because "CNN and the New York Times are fake news anyway." According to Trump supporters, every negative story about Trump is actually "fake news" and part of a vast, left-wing, globalist conspiracy. Apparently, all the Trumpkins magically became journalism majors right after the election, and now they know more about good reporting than professionals do. They apparently can spot "fake news" just by glancing at the byline.

This is why the words "fake news" need to die. Not because fake stories aren't circling out there. But because the phrase itself has become so hollow. "Fake news" doesn't describe inaccurate articles-- it's just become another phrase the president uses to manipulate his fans and discredit his opponents.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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