Mainstream media has come under fire lately for producing stories that are only half the truth or are completely fake. In the past few months it has become difficult for consumers to tell whether or not a news source is reliable or not.
It is incredibly important to not only be a consumer of the news, but to know which sources will tell the entire story and, as they should, the story will not have bias.
One way to spot if a story is fake or not is to look at who the news provider is. Sources such as The Onion, BuzzFeed News and others like them are not considered the most reliable. The Onion is a satirical website that produces stories that seem insane, but also fairly far-fetched. They produce content to get views and shares on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
This is referred to as “clickbait” and many news outlets are relying on shocking headlines and sometimes embellished stories to receive views. Consumers are becoming frustrated with this form of news media because the story is either anti-climactic or the story is not credible and many viewers do not know which sources are trustworthy and are worth their time. This is not a new tactic to news outlets and has been used by major networks to tabloids.
BuzzFeed News however is more of an entertainment site that has tried to delve into the world of news and producing actual news stories. The reason they are seen as unreliable is due to a story that they recently did over Donald Trump and Russian relations. BuzzFeed produced 35-page document that was put together by a British operative who had complied information about Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The website said in their article that they were producing this to allow Americans to make up their mind about the president-elect. The documents however have not been verified.
This caused many people to question the ethics of journalists and how they are meant to conduct themselves when producing and writing stories. Many veteran journalists began to criticize the company for running the story in the first place and choosing to keep the story published.
On the other hand, many notable news sources have been criticized for their use of bias in their stories.
In 2016, the United States had an abnormal year due to our election and the discussion of race relations and police conduct and how those matters should be dealt with. Journalists are taught to not have bias when they are writing an informative story, especially news. Journalists are meant to take themselves and their opinion out of the equation and write from an outside perspective. People from the right and left sides have criticized broadcast and print news sources for allowing their opinion and personal feelings to get in the way of how they report a story.
Unfortunately, journalists and news sources have had to appease the masses and report what they know will give them views and shares.
This is not what journalism is meant to be. The basics and some ethics of journalism have been forgotten and this has not only been a frustrating process for consumers, but for those who are going into this field and veteran journalist alike.
Some have said that the news medium is dying and with clickbait headlines and biased news stories it is not helping the problem, it is hurting the cause.