Television and radio were sources most baby-boomers would obtain their news. The news media were trusted individuals that simply presented the news. We didn't know how Tom Brokaw, David Brinkley, Jane Pauley or Tim Russert (my favorite) political leanings. Every once in a while, the broadcaster may have a 30-second opinion piece to finish the newscast, but they would clearly state this is was their opinion. In the early 80's, Ted Turner launched the first 24-hour news channel and radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh where now hired to not only "present the news" but to provide opinion in the early 80's.
People are increasingly obtaining their news from non-traditional platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. "fake news" is described as published information that is not as true as it appears. Some of this "fake news" may be published by individuals to deliberately confuse or misinform. Some "fake news" is unintended. If you have ever had a story written about you or on a topic you are extremely familiar with, you realize that the article often contains mistakes. So why is it that when we hear or read a story that there could not have been any mistakes whatsoever? Think back to all of the stories we've listened to or read over the past week an we can only guess as to how many mistakes we must have been presented.
The concern with the amount of "fake news" has prompted many colleges and universities to have classes or hold workshops to help students identify "fake news". But maybe this is the wrong strategy. Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson has the solution; "We cry foul when fooled by fake news and other forces of brainwashing, when perhaps we should instead build intellectual defenses against it, inoculating us from such influences in the first place." The prevention of being infected by "fake news" includes reviewing data, reviewing evidence, critical thinking, understanding percentages, basic probability, risk assessment, understanding the scientific method and the willing to change our mind when new information is presented. I wonder when and where students can learn these concepts? Hmmm. Too bad these topics aren't reinforced in our curriculum.
But what the heck do I know...I'm just Joe.