Fake News In Modern Journalism: Negative Impact

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The journalism industry is forever growing and changing as time passes, but one major development in the past five years which has altered the way journalism is performed is ‘Fake News’. Fake news has various impacts on the industry, both positive and negative.

Fake news is ‘yellow journalism’ or propaganda that involves deliberate falsification of news that is spread via the media. The main suspects are normally reporters outsourcing for stories, which is evidently unethical. The boom of the digital age has revealed increased usage of fake news. This type of news is normally spread via social media, such as Twitter, but on occasion, slips into the mainstream media as well.

Fake news is produced with the intent to deceive in order to cause damage or ruin a reputation of an entity, agency, or person. It is also sometimes written for financial/political gain. The headlines of these ‘news’ pieces often include sensationalist, dishonest or fabricated information to increase readership, also known digitally as ‘clickbait’. Its relevance has increased in post-truth politics.

For the media, the ability to attract viewers to their websites, via ‘clicks’, is necessary to generate advertising revenue online. Fake news has a positive impact towards advertisers and media outlets through publishing stories with misleading information that attracts an audience and boosts ratings. The rise of social media, increased political division and ease of access to online advertisement earnings have all been contributing factors to the spread of fake news, which is in competition with relevant, factual news stories. Belligerent political candidates have also been accused of creating fake news, primarily during elections.

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As fake news begins to appear in more and more places, serious media coverage is being undermined and it is becoming more difficult for journalists to report on significant and relevant news stories. The term ‘fake news’ is also often used to steer away from legitimate news from an opposite political standpoint, this is also known as the ‘lying press’ (derogatory political term used for the printed press and the mass media at large, as a propaganda tactic to discredit the free press).

The term ‘fake news’ is most commonly known to be heavily used by President of the United States, Donald Trump, during and after his presidential campaign. In this context, he used it as blame towards the negative press coverage of himself. As a result of Trump’s use of the term, it has come under increasing scrutiny, and in October 2018, the British government made the decision to no longer use the term because it is “a poorly-defined and misleading term that conflates a variety of false information from genuine error through to foreign interference in democratic processes.” Along with this, the term was also coined word of the year in 2017.

After criticism that social media organisations are failing to combat fake news, Facebook, Google and Twitter have all announced ways in which they plan to tackle this false information being spread online. Facebook says it is enlisting fact checkers to flag disputed stories, cutting of advertising earnings to fake news sites, and better reviewing advertisements shown on their site. Twitter says it has become better at dealing with bots, and Google has promised better algorithms.

Critics still argue that fake news is ever present and that not enough is being done to combat its prevalence, and that large companies are hesitant to take action, in fear of being viewed as biased, or of being seen to accept that they are publishers. Facebook is now seen as the most powerful media platform on the planet, but repeatedly says it is not a media company.

News stories are often described as ‘so good you couldn’t make it up’, which is generally what makes them good news stories. But expressing scepticism about it all is valid and asking yourself; could this actually happen?

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Fake News In Modern Journalism: Negative Impact. (2021, August 19). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/fake-news-in-modern-journalism-negative-impact/
“Fake News In Modern Journalism: Negative Impact.” Edubirdie, 19 Aug. 2021, edubirdie.com/examples/fake-news-in-modern-journalism-negative-impact/
Fake News In Modern Journalism: Negative Impact. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/fake-news-in-modern-journalism-negative-impact/> [Accessed 23 May 2022].
Fake News In Modern Journalism: Negative Impact [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 19 [cited 2022 May 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/fake-news-in-modern-journalism-negative-impact/
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