It Is NOT The Government's Job To Determine News Credibility

Since the presidential election, public distrust of the media has continued to grow. I feel safe saying this because I have heard the term “fake news” used more this year than I ever have in my entire life.  Additionally, many politicians, including our current president, have taken to constantly criticizing the media and questioning its credibility via social media.

While politicians have an interest in protecting themselves from libelous statements, when they call credible news sources “fake news” simply because they do not like the story, they are disrespecting freedom of speech and undermining our entire political system- democracy. This is not something that should be taken lightly.

The entire point of having a free press is for it to be an additional checks-and-balance on the government. When we let politicians decide who we listen to and what news we consume, we are giving up a portion of our freedom of speech. We are letting the government pick and choose what news is “real”.

However, there is “fake news” out there. There will always be click bait and outrageous stories that only aim to get you to click on them long enough to see an advertisement. That is never going away. That’s why we all have a role to play if we want this whole “democracy” thing to work.

Yes, it’s the media’s job to be credible, but it’s the consumer’s (*cough* YOUR *cough*) job to seek out and support credible new sources, and the politician’s job to respect freedom of speech. It is NOT the politician’s job to determine what news we consume and believe.

So you can continue to scream “fake news!” at everything and contribute to the erosion of our democracy, or you can do your job too. Look for news with sources you can point to and by writers and news sources you trust.

Even then, you still have a responsibility to question everything. In fact, that always has been and always will be your responsibility as a human being. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what to think. Use your brain to decide for yourself whether or not a news story or source is credible or biased. It’s easy to point to the media as the cause of all of our problems, but the reality is that the system only works if you do your job too.