This past year has been filled with controversial and highly-contended events, and with these comes an influx of fake and misleading information that ends up putting many people on edge.
Take the increasing distribution of the coronavirus vaccines, for example. False claims, such as a vaccine making some persons magnetic, enabling some to shed the virus onto others, or making women infertile, are just a few of the ideas that have circulated.
Or we can look to the 2020 presidential election and the claim that there was widespread voting fraud and ballots were being purposely misplaced or destroyed.
While the claims for these issues alone have been disproved time and time again, it’s hard to counteract this spread of misinformation when people can blindly share false information on social media, whether they are aware that it’s false or not, because it aligns with their beliefs and supports their personal agendas.
Misinformation is typically something outrageous and interesting, making people think that there is no way it can’t be true. As a result, it has made it that much more difficult for legitimate news outlets to be viewed as reliable sources because of the fact that, when they report truthful information that contradicts the details of this fake news, people believe it’s the media trying to cover something up.
The entire point of the media industry is to provide accurate information. While there are definitely exceptions to this point, many journalists do their due diligence to inform the public to the best of their abilities. But, such widespread misinformation is always going to lead people to believe that they have ill intentions.
As a journalist, it can be hard to continue to put time and effort into your work when there are always going to be people who call you biased or say you’re reporting in bad faith. Misinformation has become more dangerous than it ever was before, and it has negatively impacted the outlook on the media landscape.
Despite this pushback, journalists need to continue to go the extra mile for their stories. The only way to overshadow fake news is by gaining back the public’s trust and helping them realize these media organizations have been around this long for a reason.