Too many reporters still think they’re referees, when really, they’re in the game.
That was something I shared during an enlightening panel discussion I was a part of on ‘Fake News,‘ as hosted by WHYY and NPR host Joshua Jackson. (Read this overview of the event.)
Here are some other ideas I shared or participated in:
- Ultimately we news consumers are responsible for ourselves, but each person tricked by something hurts us all. You are your network. Don’t just sit and consume. Being a citizen is a full-time job.
- Does social media perpetuate fake news? Of course, just like the highway system contributed to an increase in car deaths, but that’s a symptom, something that needs to be solved for, not a reason to go backward.
- What is the incentive to be truthful and put the effort to be sure? The social contract. That’s tough because we want to be part of an in-group.
- We’re as honest as our in-group values. It matters when our in-group says it matters. Facts don’t matter, narrative does.
- Are news organizations being challenged as the arbiter of truth? Yes. It’s so much easier to distribute information, so the monopoly is lost. So news orgs have a responsibility to participate and play a role as curator and marketer of truth.
- What’s the difference between fake and a mistake? Intentionality. That takes context and knowledge from journalists to help with judgment calls.
- Fake news is not new. Yellow journalism between Hearst and Pulitzer papers in the 1890s, it’s just so much easier to distribute.
#FakeNewsPanel: Real panel on fake news getting underway at @WHYY, w/ @emarvelous @christopherwink & more. It's an @ONA / Philly Meetup too! pic.twitter.com/xh1fY9pGdp
— Jim MacMillan (@JimMacMillan) May 9, 2017