We Must Seek out the Truth Regardless of what our Political Ideology Is

Between Donald Trump’s lies and fake news, it’s becoming harder to know the truth. This is making it increasingly harder for the media to cover the White House. What makes things worse is Trump gets a lot of his false information from the media that is producing the inaccurate facts.

As a journalist, I have my trusted sources. But I also hold the media accountable when they mess up. My sources have even widdled down to journalists in some cases. I was very upset with the results of this election but I still want the facts and I still demand good coverage of this administration. I hate when I see my friends posting articles on Facebook that can’t be verified. Sure, you may want that article about Trump to be true but just because you want it to be true, doesn’t mean it is. We can’t let our distaste of this president get in the way of our news judgment. The Guardian and Forbes both published stories in the last week about the rise of liberal fake news. I especially liked how Forbes explained this:

But liberal sites and networks are no strangers to fabricated news for the simple reason that the desire to believe something that caters to our existing prejudices isn’t restricted by political ideology.

Sadly, we can all fall victims of believing misinformation. We are too swayed by our own beliefs. Now, when there are so many lies coming from every direction, we have to be smarter about the news we read.

During the campaign, Hillary Clinton was called a liar constantly. The Washington Post published an article back in November showing that Trump lies more than Clinton. Clinton had an average of 2.2 Pinocchios (out of 4) while Trump had an average of 3.4. All politicians lie but I scratch my head at the things that Trump lies about. Why lie about the unemployment rate and say that violent crimes are up when they’re not.

I was very happy when John Oliver did a segment on his show, Last Week Tonight, about Trump vs. Truth. I’ve been concerned about this since Trump got elected. Journalists have to be more vigilant when covering him but we as a society, have to be too.

How do you deal with a president that lives in his own reality? That’s why we have two other branches of government. Congress and the judicial branch have to be tough. The Judicial courts are putting up a good fight but Congress Republicans need to step it up a bit. While I’m sure they’re staying pretty quiet because they are getting what they want, they can’t let the president keep putting out falsehoods.

I was so concerned about all the lies it never even dawned on me until Oliver pointed it out that Trump is creating policy around those lies. That’s a scary precedent that he is starting.

The most important thing we can do is make sure we are responsible about our news gathering. Don’t just believe something because it aligns with your beliefs. Seek out the truth. Do you trust the source that you’re reading? Are there facts to back up what the source is saying? Do they constantly get things wrong? These are some of the things Oliver pointed out in his segment and these are the things I’m already doing and I wish more people were doing too. We’re all either really upset about this election or really happy but that doesn’t mean facts are irrelevant now.

Secondly, we must contact our representatives when we are not happy with something and we must vote during elections, especially midterm elections. It all starts with better informing ourselves. It’s no secret that fake news played a big part in this election, on either side of the campaign.

It won’t be easy to hold ourselves, the press, congress, and the administration constantly accountable but it’s something we must do during these next four years. And not just the next four years, always. If we want more from our government, we must demand more from them.

Check out Oliver’s segment, Trump vs. Truth:

 

No Comments

Leave a Comment