Local News Since 1890 Now Online!

Posts Tagged ‘fake news’

Rounding up a decade of Deer In Headlines

In Dayton Ohio News, Entertainment, Local News, News Media, Opinion, Politics, Religion, Technology, Uncategorized on April 16, 2018 at 8:12 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

I wasn’t quite sure how to start this week’s edition except to just come out with it. The week of April 30, 2018, will be the final print edition of Deer In Headlines. After 10 years, it’s time for me to focus on something new. I greatly appreciate the loyalty of my readers and the opposing views and letters of praise I’ve received over the years. If just one person each week looked at the world just a little differently and appreciated anything new, I’ve accomplished my goal.

I started this column to offer my readers a look at subjects from all sides, rarely giving a hint of my personal opinion, although it was evident when I chose for it to be.  But today clear, logical viewpoints no longer have value. People seem to listen only to blowhards, the ignorant, and people who would rather spew hate than kindness. That’s why I have decided to focus on more positive projects, out of the public eye.

This is not a decision I’ve come to lightly, in fact, I have waivered numerous times in my deliberations about it. Over the last decade, I’ve offered a look at politics, religion, education, science, family, and even given you a glimpse into my personal life as I cared for my parents.

We live in volatile times and some have argued that now is when we need a clearer, more rational voice in the media. They may be right, but mine is simply not loud enough to be heard above all the noise of anger, fear, and ignorance out there.

There is a lot of negativity out there and I have worked hard to bring you thoughtful content. I’ve always hoped you’d take away something from the effort, even if, especially if, you didn’t agree with me.

I’ve always said I like to surround myself with smart people who disagree with me because it means I am forced to examine my own convictions, and I hope I’ve done that for you from time to time. If you’ve enjoyed my work, thank you. I appreciate your time and loyalty. If you haven’t, then I’m not sure why you’re even reading this, but, thank you anyway.

For more than 500 editions and in some 360,000 words, I have shared my observations of the world around us. I’ve found that most people are good and decent and try to do their best to improve the world around them. I’ve also seen some ugly things in researching these pieces, information I kind of wish I had never learned. As they say, ignorance is bliss, but I’m afraid I don’t operate that way.

I will continue my work quietly, however, in the background, making a difference by other means. I serve on charitable boards of directors, care for my family, and work to affect change in more concrete ways.

The world is a mess and our country is too, but I can’t do anything about it in the rail column of a newspaper because the people who could make a difference simply don’t want to listen. Still, as ugly as it can seem at times, the world is also a beautiful place, one of a kind – a spinning ball of life making its way around the sun, year after year, as our galaxy moves through the vast emptiness of space.

It was here millions of years before us, and it’ll be here millions of years after we’ve gone. We are but renters and if I were the landlord, I wouldn’t give back the deposit. But that’s a discussion for another time.

As you can see, I’m not done with my opinions quite yet and there are two editions to go. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be summing up the last decade in a look back at a few of my predictions for politics, newsmakers, and various other areas I’ve touched on over the years. I hope you’ll join me in these last editions, and thank you again.

Advertisements

Users must moderate fake news on social media

In Media, National News, News Media, Opinion, Print Media, Technology, Uncategorized on November 23, 2016 at 8:08 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOIn the fallout of the presidential election, one topic that seems to surface a lot is the spread of fake news online and on social media. During the campaign cycle, people were constantly posting and sharing fake news all over social media, often more than real stories.

Here are a couple of examples of headlines that turned out to be completely fake: “Terrorists are funding 20-percent of Hillary Clinton’s campaign;” “Tim Kaine will ban the Catholic Church from the US if they don’t change their stance on same-sex marriage;” and “Bus loads of paid Trump protestors arrive in Austin, Texas.”

The protestor story was reportedly shared more than 350,000 times in the first day, including a high-profile Twitter share by Donald Trump. Again, none of these stories were real or had any level of truth to them.

15215854_10154408865209342_1003992980_o

For decades, alleged “fake” news has earned millions of dollars from a public more than willing to pay for it!

Some false stories are merely satirical and shared out of humor or irony. Unfortunately, they may continue to be shared by some who take them as the real thing and never confirm the content, fueled by unqualified commentary.

Whether from laziness or apathy, most people never look at a story closely enough to see if the stories they share online are factual or phony. Some people never look past the headlines before they start commenting and circulating junk news. And, once shared, the cork has been removed from the bottle and the genie on her way,

People tend to share stories on social media based on political and religious views. Stories are passed along through a digital chain of telephone where no one really looks at the basis of the story nor do they take a moment to consider the logic behind even the most outrageous headline.

Those with a propensity for fake news believe either the liberal left or the fanatical right controls the mainstream media. So, combating the spread of this nonsense is virtually impossible, because even fact checking is ignored.

Additionally, the fact is that fake news has been around far longer than the Internet has even existed. Print media like the National Enquirer, the Globe and other checkout rags have long been accused of publishing stories with no factual basis.

Many of these tabloid publications have been sued for the alleged fabrication of stories. Before the Internet, these publications had circulation in the hundreds of millions but that has dropped considerably over the years. Why wait for sensational stuff at the grocery store checkout when it’s immediately available on Facebook?

There’s also something ironic about the fact that people who seem so upset at the slanted reporting of mainstream media will spend so much time circulating nonsense stories everywhere else. So what can be done? Most of that is up to the reader.

Much of the blame for the proliferation of nonsense news has been focused on the social media outlets. Facebook has come under fire recently for not doing more to limit the distribution of false news during the election cycle. Unfortunately, it’s not the responsibility of social media operators to ensure the accuracy of content generated and propagated by its users.

The real culprits are the folks on the other side of the computer and smart phone screens. Social media operates because of people and if they stop circulating this junk it’ll dissipate. It really is that simple.

Forwarding some outlandish tale simply because it degrades an opposing view benefits no one. And, commenting on a news story without checking out its validity just makes people look ignorant. Sorry, there’s no nice way to say that.

But just imagine if people read beyond the headline and checked out a story from a couple of different resources before passing it along as “fact?” The level of garbage flowing around social media would be immediately cut in half.

Before reposting something, check it out and make sure it’s a real story. They get it wrong sometimes too, but generally, if it didn’t come from a mainstream news outlet, it’s probably not been verified by anyone. There’s nothing new about sensationalism in news, but responsibility for the constant viral circulation of fake or outrageous stories must rest, at least in part, with the users.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at gerydeer.com.