Persuasive Speech about the Impact of Fake News on Modern Society

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Falsehood and information that mimics truth have been floating around in different forms since the dawn of the dissemination of ideas. Rumors control the way society functions, dictating cultures and counterculture formation at the time of the idea’s infancy. When analyzing what exactly “fake news” means and how the term might evolve with changes in time and attitude, it is clear that it is synonymous with the term rumor. Rumors always have at least some aspect of truth or knowledge behind them, and examples of true 'fake news' are always seeded with reality and embellished or falsified in other manners. By comparing the fake news climate to a rumor, it gives a strict enough definition with room for vague applications to real-life examples. The implication that all “true” fake news stems from the basic definition of a rumor, allows for the truth behind the matter to become more clear. Realizing the difference between misinformation and blatant lies opens the door for conversation and media literacy to improve. While erroneous information runs rampant across media, especially today’s new internet and communication platforms that seemingly emerge instantaneously, deciphering the meaning behind fake news, deception, and trustworthy content is becoming harder and harder.

Today’s access to constant news circulation has made the rapid spread of content become so mobilized that the differentiation of fact and fiction has to happen almost synchronously with when a material is published. Tenfold of sources to get information to create an overwhelmed public in which consumers will search for any element of “truthiness” in everything they read. The looming threat that the news they are allocating their time to is fake or deceiving them is a constant threat for most Americans. Searching for “real”, and this term is used with extreme elasticity, information seems similar to the adage of searching for a needle in a haystack. Consistent wariness plagues the public when it comes to wondering if their news has been tainted. Most news sources, even the top four news networks have dealt with a decline in audience and credibility, spiking during the 2016 Presidential Election. However, this distrust in the media and perhaps the government itself does not only haunt the American people. Brazil’s recent president-elect gained vast popularity through the mass campaign through the messaging tool WhatsApp.

The BBC article “How WhatsApp is being abused in Brazil’s elections” explains in-depth the methods of communication and promotion the candidates used. “Many people join interest-based WhatsApp groups to talk about politics and hobbies with people they have not met,” the campaigns scraped data from these internet groups to target constituents and reform their system to make the eventual winner, right-wing Jair Bolsanaro, popular amongst the public. Looking at this example of how the dissemination of news, in Brazil’s case mainly fake news, it is clear to see the problem at hand. The differentiation between the truth and something that may contain some truth is getting out of hand. This can also be seen in effect with political satire and satirical newscasts. Shows like Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and The Colbert Report flourish the pressing matters of global issues with a cynical twist. Parodic news sources have weaseled their way into nearly every political news climate for decades. These entertainment shows broadcast a variety of content, but perhaps the easiest to mock are civic distress and prevalent politicians of today’s era.

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Usually composed of “biting one-liners,” as Amber Day describes in “Truthiness and Consequences in Parodic News”, these parodies open new conversations between the lines. Because of the lack of media literacy and education, shows like these can provide one of two results: the proliferation of misinformation or the opportunity to search deeper for the truth. So many find devastation in the current political climate, that the option to receive news in a lighthearted manner jumps out to those who might have turned away from staying educated in the first place The “truthiness” offered to the public poses a danger and a solution all in one not so neatly wrapped package. Stephan Colbert defines this “truthiness” as the trend of feeling what's right rather than doing the responsible action of research. The danger is that naive viewers may not grasp in its entirety the sarcasm and context of the entertainment portion that these political satires are presenting. The solution is that these media forces promote conversations among viewers and debates on the real in the fake news being reported. Spreading information disguised as humor has the potential to give wide-eyed spectators the chance to lose trust in their government.

Satire gives people the power to engage in opinions, and rumors give people the excuse to lose assurance in their authority figures. Mixing the two creates a realm of chaos and alters the true meaning of knowledge. The issue with this trend is that there doesn’t seem to be a line drawn in the sand to define an end or boundary. Fake news has been ramping up throughout the centuries, and its impact is only getting stronger. From analyzing the effects of the “penny press” and the industrial output of blatant lies, at least in American culture, “fake news” and other personas these fabrications have taken on are dictating the culture and the way society gathers information. Penny presses manufactured pure lunacy and was one of the major reasons why literacy among Americans skyrocketed. The phenomena behind the rapid gathering of information are synonymous with today’s feeding frenzy on Twitter trends and “witch hunts”. It is impossible to tell where the future of fake news will take us, but many have already predicted its course. Charlie Booker, creator of the science fiction thriller television series Black Mirror, draws up this dramatic plot in the episode “The Waldo Moment” where what first seemed to be an innocent satirical play on politics, turns a salacious cartoon bear into a successful British Parliament member. At first glance, this could never be the case, surely the public could never allow such a lewd and fictional being to have any authority over them. Booker’s commentary displays that societies, especially those that are run by media cycles, are losing the ability to differentiate between reality and fiction. However, it seems like Booker’s cartoon prophecy was not far from today’s world. Volodymyr Zelensky, the current president of Ukraine, came to his position, not through a long history of politics, but through television fame. Eerily similar to Waldo, Zelensky rose as a public figure and championed the Ukrainian elections. Ever evolving, media and the cycles it goes through have continuously molded how the public perceives information, the degradation of the trust among news sources, and the current state of media literacy.

Noah Levin takes a satirical approach to this phenomenon of poor media literacy in “Area Man Realizes Errors of Ways After Reading Onion Article,”. His approach of analyzing the man who made the mistake of trusting The Onion just serves as an example of the naive public who fall for the antics of satire every day. Looking at media consumption and how it has progressed, “fake news” has always had a foothold in the propagation of information. Rumors spark conversations that open doors for difficult communication. To definitively determine whether all fake news is rooted in malicious intent or is designed to divert from the seriousness of societal issues can only be determined by taste and personal opinion. Comparing gossip tabloids at the checkouts to speculations that can undermine entire campaigns, seems to be an extremely inappropriate exaggeration of the definition. What fake news truly means is objective and cannot be pinpointed to a singular moment in time where the interpretation was solidified. However, despite the uncertainty of a definitive definition, the behaviors and trends displayed by the many facets of fake news prove to hold great danger. The misinformation and rapid news cycles provide a ground for festering frustrations among the public. To prevent this forfeit of trust, media literacy must be established among all media consumers. Through the new media platforms and easy access to ebbing sources of entertainment and news, fake news has become the most prevalent it has ever been in society to date.

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Persuasive Speech about the Impact of Fake News on Modern Society. (2023, October 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/persuasive-speech-about-the-impact-of-fake-news-on-modern-society/
“Persuasive Speech about the Impact of Fake News on Modern Society.” Edubirdie, 09 Oct. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/persuasive-speech-about-the-impact-of-fake-news-on-modern-society/
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Persuasive Speech about the Impact of Fake News on Modern Society [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Oct 09 [cited 2024 Apr 20]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/persuasive-speech-about-the-impact-of-fake-news-on-modern-society/
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