Infiltrated by propaganda

Social media slowly killing journalism

Over three billion people worldwide have social media accounts according to The Next Web, a website and annual series of conferences focused on new technology and startup companies in Europe. To put that number in perspective, the total population of the United States for 2019 was 329.45 million according to the US Census Bureau. And according to Pew Research Center, one out of five American adults use social media as a news source.

There lies the problem. People are relaying on social media for their news and aren’t paying attention to how credible those sources are.
Social media allows for anyone to make a post, whether it is true or not, whether it is biased or not, and as long as it goes viral, the facts don’t matter. People assume that because thousands are sharing it, it must be true. They don’t look into who posted it originally, they don’t look into the credibility of that person, they just go with it.

Anyone who has studied World War II knows that Adolf Hitler had a team who put out propaganda films portraying the Jewish concentration camp as fun places like summer camps for them. We all know that was the furthest thing from the truth, that actually, millions of Jews were being brutally slaughtered and abused. The camps went on like this for 12 years before people started figuring out what was really happening inside the walls of places like Auschwitz and Birkenau.

This was all done before cell phones and the internet was invented. Could you imagine how things would have been different during WWII if they were around? Could you imagine how many more people would take things from social media at face value without questioning them?
Well, it’s happening now. It may be a different time, but the danger is still here. We need to vet our sources, not just what we see on social media.

We need to believe in journalists over the random Joes posting to their Twitter and Facebook accounts. People shouldn’t make Karen down the street their 6 o’clock news source.

Unlike Karen, journalists are supposed to follow four rules known as the code of ethics, those ethics are seek truth and report it, minimize harm. act independently and be accountable. This is what they have spent their whole life training to follow.

People everyday go viral for their fake news stories, there’s a whole generator online just to produce news articles that look real to play practical jokes om social medias. Yet people play into them, they spread like wildfire because most don’t bother to read past the headline let alone check the source or author.

Even if the articles are real and from a reliable news source, people just pick and chose the details they want to share online. They pick the details that reinforce their beliefs and try to spread them like crazy so people will believe them. Withholding information is just as bad as making up information to reinforce ones beliefs.

We need to leave the reporting to the journalist, they have brought light to many situations. For example the time two journalist exposed who broke in to the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate Complex in Washington, DC. Journalist have been around forever, way before social media was even a thought and the world hasn’t fallen apart. News organizations used to be our go to find out information now we check our twitter pages, we need to go back to our old ways.