The Oakland Post

The truth about “fake news”

Kade Messner, Staff Intern

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While stumbling down the Oakland University sidewalks at 8 a.m., lugging around my 50 pound back pack, carrying my journal in one hand and spilling my scorching hot black coffee on my white Converse shoes with the other, I could not shake the thought that journalists need a fresh start.

Fox News, CNN, “fake news,” what’s the difference?

“Fake news” is not a new term. John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson used it during their attempts at presidency, and President Donald Trump resurfaced and popularized “fake news” in his first press conference as president.

“Fake news and bad journalism irk me,” my boss at The Post, Shelby Tankersley, told me. “In today’s turbulent political climate, many journalists seem to care more about their opinions than actual facts. But, of course, there are many journalists out there that are just trying to do their jobs. So, it’s important for today’s readers to do their own research, fact checking and analysis of multiple news outlets in order to get the truest version of a story.”

Journalism and good ethics are supposed to go hand-in-hand. The definition of ethics is: Moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.

Due to unethical writers, reporters and newspapers, journalists are losing their credibility, authority and trustworthiness. As a journalist, I am not here to defend journalists of today but to rather inspire the journalists of the future.

Although your Uncle Bob, who never went to college and barely graduated high school, is telling you to stray away from a journalism degree because he read on Reddit that, “Journalism is a dying field,” “Don’t get a journalism degree,” and “Journalism is no longer needed because of social media,” you don’t need to listen. Your Uncle Bob is wrong.

This is the most important time in history for journalists.

Due to all of the “fake news” and random social media accounts spewing out non-fact based articles, the general public has no idea what to believe and what is true.

“Journalists have always played an important role in writing the first draft of history through an unbiased and unfiltered lens,” The Wall Street Journal’s bureau-chief in Detroit and Oakland alum, John Stoll, said. “A number of recent developments — including the growth of social media, the intensity of news coverage and recent developments in politics — provide fresh evidence that our nation needs a media that pursues stories accurately and fairly.”

The general public needs a good journalist. A journalist who focuses on what is important.  A journalist who is unbiased. A journalist who reports on what is actually going on.

A journalist who can be trusted.

Two of the most famous and trusted journalists in history, Clark Kent of The Daily Planet and Peter Parker of the Daily Bugle were the eyes, ears and protectors of their city. They were the literal superheroes of society.

Our world, now and more than ever, is in need of some new superheroes.

A superhero who fights for the truth and nothing but the truth and who would rather die than to fight for something that is not right and just.

We need real superheros, not a “fake” ones.

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Oakland University's independent student newspaper.