From my previous link
Why lie? (a brief history)
Sometime in the 1960s the Networks realized that over 60% of their profits came from news. Growing up, I had believed that "News" and "Entertainment" were separate things. The truth, it seems has been that "news" is a form of entertainment. It is also a
tool used to control what facts and information people have access to. More importantly, it is a profit generating mechanism for media moguls like Rupert Murdoc.
In the 70s and 80s competition between news networks became more intense and eventually lead to sensationalism and spin to reach more of an audience and sway opinions in a general direction. Instead of just reporting facts, it was found that by
emotionally charging an argument, they could increase viewership.
Types of Lies
There are a number of ways in which media lies to you. Sometimes directly, other times indirectly.
Truth by Repitition - This kind of lie is when something is repeated enough times, particularly a headline, so that the actual truth becomes irrelevant. This can be attributed to a human flaw known as "confirmation bias". If a "fact" is confirmed enough times by enough sources it becomes subjectively true. In this case, one cannot blame the media directly, except for their own eagerness to "get the story out". Remember, they are in the business of making money. After you read the first story, subsequent stories will likely only get a "headline" view
Lie by Deflection - This is when media sources deliberately report on information that is not relevant or attempt to distract from factual information by creating an emotional spin on it. This happens when the people in charge want to push their opinion on their readers and form an "Us against them" with their readers. Watch out for the next lie, because it often is found in the same agency, and next to the deflection.
Lie by Omission - This is when important and relevant facts are deliberately removed from an article to focus on the agenda the reporting agency has in mind. Support this candidate, hate this person, or even buy this product, amongst other things, are all agendas networks and news have pushed.
Focus on Opinion - is a lie where the media repeats its news and offers no dissenting views, particularly when it comes to reporting on an opinion piece. The objective here is to isolate people whose ideas differ from the reporting agency and magnify the representation of ideas they want to go through. Liberal news talks with liberal supporters to show how many people support liberal ideas. As does conservative news. This lie is often followed up with "Truth by Repetition". Together, they create an environment that the reader may be in a minority opinion group, and thus more willing to "go with the flow" of the majority.
Distortion of Fact - is when the media reports heavily on facts as though they are far more important than they actually are.
Misrepresentation of Facts - this is classic "taking out of context" to purposefully or inadvertently change the meaning of factual
Sensationalism - is when the news reported has wording meant to excite its reader.
Spin - is when the "direction" of the news is turned towards something else. An example might be that, instead of focusing on a particular fault of their own, a company may redirect attention to the shortcomings of a competitor.
Truth and Fiction - The best lies are told with a grain of truth. This is when news presents some factual information with added information that is not true. Usually it serves the purpose of guiding the viewer into having a particular opinion about the subject. The factual information lends credibility to the fictional information. In the end, people tend to forget information and remember more of a feeling about something. Therefore, once this information is proven false, most people are still left with the original impression the article gave them, thereby distorting their opinion of the subject unfairly.
Lies through "Trolling" and Commentary - Modern media has had the onslaught of people able to express their opinions and views on reported information. If you think these are all honest individuals you are mistaken. If you think they're just people with a sick sense of humor, you are also wrong. Here are some reference articles that talk about it:
I would like to note at the end of the second link's article, the author personally does not feel paid trolling is an extensive business. As I'm inclined to agree, I would still like to point out that in some cases I also believe there have been incidents. Here is a link to an article on Snopes.com (link below) that asserts protestors received money, but were not "paid".
While this kind of thing may be rare, it still occurs. Furthermore, as the posters are not really held accountable for expressing their opinions or "facts", it is often dismissed. Regardless, it does have an impact on a reader's interpretation of an article.
The main point here is that there are many ways in which the media either deliberately or inadvertently lies to
What is the Problem exactly?
Much of the problem with all this lies in a relaxing of Ethics in Journalism by governing bodies. After all, if journalism is a category of entertainment, there is no need to legislate or control what is actually said. As media moguls are in private business to turn profit, they are free to report on whatever they wish and in the manner they see will turn that profit. Ethics in Journalism ceases to exist because it's just another private business. Asking the government to handle journalism isn't a solution either as thegovernment is seen as having its own agenda to push. There needs to be a clear distinction between news and entertainment and the articles presented as news should aptly reflect the same ethical standards of teachers and reference materials (such as old school encyclopedias). The articles that are presented for entertainment need to be clearly labeled as such and recognized as an unreliable source of information. Facts need to be presented without bias, without emotional language, and without spin or other forms of misdirection.
Here is a list from the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) on what ethical journalism is:
1) Truth and Accuracy
3) Fairness and Impartiality
You can read the full article here:
What Can I Do About It?
As modern journalism seems to further lack standards, let alone ethics it becomes important that readers in general take up some fact-checking on their own. Here are some strategies to confirm factual information from fictional accounts.
Read articles from conflicting sources. That is, find any two articles on a topic from two sources whose motivation is opposed. Perhaps an article from Fox and CNN about the same event. The truth will be on the shared information they agree on. Everything else is garbage meant to cater to the reader's sense of right or wrong. The more articles you read on a particular story, from differing sources, the more you'll be able to find the "common thread" connection. Those are likely the facts. It's been argued recently about where COVID-19 started. However, what every source agrees on is that the first known outbreak started in Wuhan China. No one disagrees about that. As you explore this, you will find, little by little, what is actually known and what is speculation.
Look for articles that post their references and sources. Check on those sources. Most writers know you aren't likely to read twenty articles to fact check them or their interpretation of an article they read. Yet that is exactly what you need to do. Why is this source credible? How does the author make that particular statement? Why does the author say this?
Shared opinions doesn't equal a fact. Realize the difference between subjective reality and objective reality. Sharing a subjective reality can make you feel connected but it won't do anything to help you find the truth. Unfortunately, too many people enjoy living in a bubble reality where everyone agrees with them and they don't have to support their statements. Too many people don't like to have their beliefs challenged and go into cognitive dissonance when they are presented with facts that don't match their reality. Don't be among them. Keep an open mind.
Learn more about critical thinking. Openly challenge ideas and information until you can prove it to yourself. Know what it will take to prove something to you. Set your own standard, but do so earnestly. If information presented qualifies your pre-set condition
of proof, then accept you were wrong. Neil deGrasse Tyson tells a story in his MasterClass (available on the website: Masterclass.com) about a man that wanted proof of the moon landing. Neil asked him what he would need to prove the moon landing. The man said he would need a photograph. When Mr. Tyson presented the evidence, it was still not enough. The point of this is, there is no way to prove something to someone that wants to believe otherwise. Incidentally, I highly recommend Mr. Tyson's "Scientific Teaching" masterclass.
Eye-witness testimony is worthless unless it's your own or been documented via video where you can also see and evaluate what happened.Understand however, even videos can be subject to the above "Lies" and misrepresentation.
Ask yourself, why is this news and what is the article's agenda? Are they honestly trying to share information with me or is it geared towards a particular opinion? How many adjectives are used in this article and for what purpose? Yes, adjectives indicate subjective truth, and in the case of factual information, irrelevant: does it matter what race or color the man who robbed the bank was? However, it might make a difference when reporting that a suspect is wanted for questioning and in giving a description so as to track them down.
About the Author:
I am not a reporter. I am not a journalist. I am a freelance writer. I write under the pen-name Victor. I do not have a "rosey-view" of the world as has been suggested by some commentators, but I do believe in the better nature and logic of mankind. People do what they do for a purpose, usually to meet some need they have that is lacking otherwise. Before you judge someone, consider where they have been and what they have learned in their lives. Conflict is resolved by understanding, not accusing or judging. Likewise, I am not perfect. I'm just another person wandering this road and trying to make sense of it.