During President Trump’s election campaign back in 2016, his supporters were regularly reported as chanting: ‘We hate Muslims. We hate blacks. We want our great country back’.
Do you believe this statement? Well, you shouldn’t, because it’s completely false, and was one of the many fake news articles released in the lead-up to the presidential elections last year.
In 2016, fake news was the new buzzword everyone wanted to know about. From alluring headlines to exaggerated stories, fake news seemed to make a mockery out of real journalism. But as unreliable and fake as such a phenomenon was (and still is), millions of people seemingly believed the ever-rising amount of false information sent their way. And now with news being more accessible than ever, its authenticity has become a topic of great controversy. From being blamed for influencing the US presidential election to becoming an enemy to social media giant Facebook, it seems that fake news is casting a grey cloud on everyone’s parade.
But what really goes on behind such news, and just how false is fake news?
Well, recently, an article was released on Huffington Post called ‘Fake News: Confessions of a Professional Faker’, and it reveals our worst fear. The majority of things we see in the media, including the news, are slightly altered to make us perceive what happened in a particular way. Speaking from personal experience, Brian Drew refers to the work being done in the visual effects industry, revealing that the ultimate goal is to ‘make it appear as though we were never there and, in fact, we are at our best when we are invisible’.
When discussing fake news specifically, Drew says: ‘A red line has been crossed somewhere, sometime in a dark room in an innocuous building. It could be a small change to a few pixels of “real footage”. It could be removing something that wasn’t important for the story, but obstructed a crucial piece of the source footage. It could be cleaning up the tears of a crying bystander because this was supposed to be a happy story’.
With the distinction between fake news and authentic news becoming more increasingly difficult to establish, it only seems fair to say that we are in a bit of a pickle. And with US president Donald Trump battling Russian officials over allegations that he handed them classified information, it seems that even those occupying the highest authoritative positions can become victim to misinformation and a lack of truth.
But where does that leave those of us who want to be informed about what is happening in the world? How can we distinguish between what is true and what is false? Is there any truth to what we see or read nowadays?
Only time will tell.
If you would like to read Brian Dew’s article in full, please click here.