“Fake news” is not news, and “alternate facts” are not facts. Those are personal biases expressed with a modicum of believability and truthiness. It doesn’t take much truthiness, because both sides of the political spectrum are determined to hear only what they want to hear.
When “fake news” plays to our predilections we tend to accept it readily, and then we repeat it to our friends. When “fake news” works against our personal beliefs, we tend to reject it as propaganda maliciously generated by the “opposite side.”
The other day a white police officer pulled over a white woman. When she refused to get out of the car, he said, “Hey, haven’t you heard? We only kill black people.” Those are the facts as recorded on the officer’s car camera. Depending on your choice of media outlet, you are going to hear two completely different versions of the implications of those facts.
That event was just too juicy for either side to pass up.
With the advent of new sources of media technology, personal opinions are creeping more and more into our daily consumption of “newsworthy” events.
The Constitution protects us from government censorship of speech in the First Amendment. It does not, for better or for worse, protect us from opinionated slanting of speech as delivered by politically motivated media outlets or the internet. Freedom of speech is, in fact, one of our most valued principles.
Still we need to fight back. Seek unbiased coverage of the news. Jettison coverage that divides us as a nation.