For this final week, let’s discuss the role of the news media in a democracy, reflecting on what you have read from Chapter 15 of our text. We have all heard the term “fake news,” but this term has been widely misued in order to denigrate news stories we do not agree with. Here is a clip from NPR to help understand this phenomenon: http://www.wnyc.org/story/breaking-news-consumer-handbook-fake-news-edition/. And an investigative case study of how a fake news story goes viral: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/business/media/how-fake-news-spreads.html. And most important, an informative piece on how to evaluate news sources for accuracy: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/learning/lesson-plans/evaluating-sources-in-a-post-truth-world-ideas-for-teaching-and-learning-about-fake-news.html.
Many of use surround ourselves with news that parallels our political opinions, which often erodes the ability to understand the full context of the news event – our own echo chambers. Here are some articles that point out the echo chamber problem in how we receive the news, as well as examples that illustrate how susceptible we can be to “fake news:” http://graphics.wsj.com/blue-feed-red-feed/#/aca and http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/dont-get-fooled-by-these-fake-news-sites/?ftag=ACQ449302a&vndid=1858513217&nan_pid=1858513217&ad_id=4521790.
Bias is often also alleged and it can be difficult for news consumers to wade through such accusations. Nonpartisan organizations, such as Factcheck.org, Politifact, etc., are good sources for uncovering news bias and to learn more factual information behind a news story.
In your initial response, answer the following questions:
1) from you reading of Chapter 15 in our text, what is the role of the news media in informing the public on issues of public policy and news, in general?
2) what problems/solutions do you see in how the news media functions in the US; you can also add experiences with media from other countries, as well.
3) reflect on where you get your news on a daily basis and experiences you have had in consuming news.
Feel free to include other examples of news stories that you believe to be unfactual presentations of events