Fake News and Alternative Facts
Updated: Jun 3
I had a conversation with someone earlier today who only got their news from only one source. A source that is fairly biased by all standards and who shall remain unnamed.
I explained to the individual that I thought they were doing themselves and the people they were talking to (and about) an incredible disservice by not listening to all sides as he wasn’t getting all the information, at which point he scoffed at me and mentioned that I was referring to “fake news” and “alternative facts” in an attempt to shut down my conversation and paint me as a bad person. (something I’ll go into more detail about another time)
To that end, I would like to speak briefly about the rise of what people are calling “fake news” or “alternative facts”. I believe it’s the same thing and it’s a tool being used by both the left and the right.
Of course, mainstream media don’t want you know that, in fact they’ve gone out of their way to mock and even look down upon anybody that uses the term “fake news” in reference to one of their stories or refutes a competitors story by saying they must have use some sort of “alternative fact” while tittering behind their hand. Alternative facts is a much maligned term that causes no small amount of mocking and laughter but actually has merit. Let me explain…
The mainstream media, whether you’re on the left or the right, are in business to stay in business and make money. As such they are going to say and do whatever they have to in order to get those subscriptions, clicks, views, retweets, likes and shares that they need in order to sell advertising space to their clients. (It’s important that you realize, we the readers/viewers are not the clients; we are the product. The clients are the advertisers. They are the ones paying, not us.)
This quite often means that they’re gonna take a story and spin it however they need to in order to get more views. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are lying. It just means that they are taking the facts as they are and present their narrative by either omitting or massaging the information in such a way as to present the narrative that they need presented for their specific viewers and the political leanings there of. The bias is real and both sides do this.
But what really boggles the mind of most people (to include the person I was speaking to earlier today) is that it is entirely possible for the left and the right to take the exact same set of facts and present 2 completely different competing stories that both support their individual biased narratives. It’s actually quite common and done all the time.
In the early 1950s nations got together to have one of the most important horse races to date. The race was run, results tallied and at the end of the race all of the nations involved reported to their citizenry the outcome of the race.
The Russian newspapers 100% accurately reported that their horse did really well coming in second place and that the American horse came in second to last.
The American newspapers 100% accurately reported that the American horse came in first and the Russian horse came in at the very end, dead last.
The statements are both completely true and if you had only read one of those newspapers you probably would’ve had no idea that it was only a 2 horse race. A fact that both newspapers conveniently omitted in order to give more gravitas to their various narratives.
Now with that story in mind take a moment to reconsider “fake news” and “alternative facts”. I’m hoping at this point suddenly those terms are taking on a new meaning. Just because somebody screams fake news or alternative facts doesn’t necessarily mean that the media outlet is making up a story completely but rather may be there massaging the narrative in order to fit their political leanings.
There’s just about always some portion of reality and truth in every news story no matter which side but it’s just about how they paint the picture. The narrative is all powerful and if you are only listening to one sides story then you are only getting half the information.
This is the state of our country right now. We have millions of people who only listen to one sides narrative and think they have the whole story.
It’s polarizing and dividing us and breaking the country. We as individuals must stop doing this. It is supremely important that we seek out the truth and that sometimes means we have to go and listen to news sources that we don’t necessarily agree with on a political level.
Listen to both sides. It might make you uncomfortable, or even angry but at this point our country is depending on it.