Fake News is THE news of late. Our new President called some traditional news outlets “fake”, and the topic of fake news is now dominating social media. How many times have you see someone post this- “I don’t know what news is real and what news is fake anymore?” As a media trainer for the past nine years, this is both disturbing and unacceptable.
With that in mind, back in November of 2016, we posted our first blog on recognizing fake news and it received a lot of views. In case you missed it, please read up- http://www.dubekmediagroup.com/blog/how-to-spot-fake-news/
The link above will get you started but after reading your comments and feedback, it has become clear that the topic of fake news is worth deeper exploration. We thought it might make sense to keep it as short and simple as possible, but also provide valuable tips you can use to help distinguish between what is real news and what isn’t. The topic of this blog-what’s in a name?
By name, I mean the actual name of the news organization, news show, website or program. I recently started to list all of the REAL news I consume and found that the vast majority has the word “news” within the title. As an example, “Nightly News with Lester Holt”, “CNN headline News”, “Fox News with Shepherd Smith”, the “CBS Evening News”, “World News Tonight”, and many more. As it turns out, most real news outlets are reluctant to label and brand any program as “news” which isn’t actual journalism. As an example, “The Rachel Maddow Show” airs on MSNBC but does not qualify as a news program. “Hannity” airs on Fox News but also is NOT news. Other examples include “Rush Limbaugh”, “The Daily Show”, “Last Week Tonight”, and “The O’Reilly Factor”, also on Fox News. There is a really good reason these programs do not have the “news” name. None are based on reporting and journalistic practices and subsequently, all fall under the entertainment category. Now that is not to say that these shows, at times, do not include truths and facts and relevant information. They do. But these programs are opinion-based entertainment programs, and do not present information in the context of journalism, where both sides of a story or issue are presented.
Of course, there are always exceptions to any rule. “National Public Radio” does a nice job of reporting facts but does not include the “news” branding by name. Same with the “Al Jazerra Network”. But, as you can see above, one simple way to to separate news from entertainment is to look for the word, news.
As it turns out, one word can be the difference between what is real and what isn’t.