US Media should take full responsibility for creating and spreading fake news

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Recent comments made by President Trump questioning the legitimacy of certain media outlets, and even questioning whether or not these companies should continue to operate under license, are to many, including myself, concerning. The comments of possibly removing licenses from news giants like CNN and MSNBC could threaten First Amendment rights, but the concerns held by the President have some merit to them. A post-truth and post-fact era, such as the one that we as Americans currently face, is confusing and dangerous. At times like these, it is difficult to discern real fact from the opinions being forced upon consumers by major news outlets. Of course, private corporations and private citizens should always maintain the right to express their opinions as they feel is necessary, as long as the method in which they are doing so does not threaten the rights of other Americans. These methods include the attempt at hampering the First Amendment rights of those with opposing views, such as the inflammatory and threatening actions taken by extremist groups like Antifa, who use physical threats and at some points violence to try to overwhelm those who do not agree with leftist rhetoric and, at some points, radical ideology. SImply publishing articles and ideas in newspapers and broadcasting the views of pundits over television has not threatened the liberties of Americans in the past. However, in a post-truth era, the unbridled ramblings of news corporations going unchecked can lead to a dangerous indoctrination of viewers, who take the opinions expressed by these outlets as fact. The disintegration of credibility of what now seems like every source of information leads many Americans to take shelter from this by using the establishment news sources, as they have been around for years and are credible based on the fact that they have been in existence for such a long period of time. These sources include those from (although most sources claim to be unbiased) both sides of the political spectrum, like CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and more. The fact that these companies are able to broadcast as they please is well within their rights, but as they begin to present unfounded opinions as fact it then becomes dangerous. There is a difference between CNN and sensationalist tabloids like The National Enquirer, in that the former is a credible news source and the latter is an embellished and sometimes downright libelous newspaper. It is dangerous to the public when the lines between these become blurred, as is now becoming the case when corporate news machines run stories unchecked and refuse to concern themselves with fact or truth. These organizations should not be shut down or punished for publishing information that is untruthful but continues to hurt the careers of politicians and other Americans, but they should be held to some standard of truth. The slope that American media, both conservative and liberal, is quickly sliding down is a long and detrimental one. Americans should be wary of the increasingly partisan news outlets and the possibility of untruthful information presented by them, but it is difficult to do so when the giant, for example CNN, published a story and then smaller but equally as effective organizations, such as the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and local organizations pick up and publish almost immediately, so fact checking becomes more and more difficult to accomplish. Although the aforementioned example was of liberal media outlets, the same can be said for organizations like Fox broadcasting stories that are then picked up by other conservative sources like Breitbart. Should these organizations lose their right to publish? Absolutely not, that would be a blatant attack on the First Amendment, a document integral to the functioning of American society. However, there should be consequences for these companies when they continue to lie to the American public, swaying popular opinion and damaging the cooperation between ideologies. A possible solution to this is enacting fines for when these organizations are caught spreading mistruths, just as the same organizations are fined when their pundits or characters in television shows curse on air. Certain things, such as swearing, nudity, violence and more are not allowed on television to maintain the integrity and, to some point, honor of the institution, and the same should be said for presenting lies as truth. The line between regulating this and censoring opinions is a thin one, and in all reality, a real solution will not be reached in this regard. It is up to Americans to determine for themselves what is truth and what is not, which in itself is also a difficult thing to do. President Trump’s comments may be concerning when taken to mean that he intends on shutting down these news outlets, but should be taken seriously in that the media has a very tight grip over the mindset of Americans, and if allowed to run loose and sway these opinions based on lies is just as unnerving as shutting them down.

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