design: Ava Robinson
President Biden and his administration made the official announcement that as of March, they will take immediate action into taking back every stimulus check that was distributed last year. Unfortunately, many people just read that sentence and didn’t think twice about how inaccurate it actually was.
Dishonest journalism, insincere information spread by different news outlets, is biased, bogus and polarizing to its viewers. Not only that, it has been around for ages and still to this day, people succumb to its absurdity as it makes its way across the media.
The earliest signs of fraudulent journalism date all the way back to the 18th century. According to the National Archives, in 1782, Benjamin Franklin crafted a false article in “The Independent Chronicle” stating that there were packages found full of human scalps taken by the Seneca Indians. This story, despite its extreme fabrication, was believed by many and incited panic and fear among its readers.
Nowadays, false stories aren’t that extreme- but they still lead to unnecessary amounts of inconvenience. According to The New York Times, a college graduate known as Cameron Harris, created a fake news site around the time of the 2016 election and used it to defame Hillary Clinton. His most notable article was about an electrical worker who found a box full of pre-marked ballots for Clinton, swaying the views of her supporters.
News stories like these are what have led to the downfall of good journalism. Media malpractice has defeated the whole purpose of what journalists are all about; journalism is supposed to act as the fourth branch of government and fact checker for society. If its job is to expose the truth, why is it not telling the truth itself? It allows for no trust to be held in the news anymore.
The decline of honest journalism has become such a prominent issue, and in a world deserving of the truth, dishonesty has become so normalized. The term “fake news” is thrown around so casually, and many don’t stop to realize how “fake news” is very damaging to many different aspects of society.
Bogus news has brought upon the divide among people. Now more than ever, it feels as though there is constant division, and no one is capable of compromise anymore. A large reason for this results from polarizing information that the news spreads.
In addition to the division, dishonest journalism doesn’t allow individuals to form their own belief system. If the news is constantly putting out false and biased information, then it ingrains their own opinions into their viewers’ heads.
One of the most unique parts about journalism is that it gives both sides to every story and allows whatever is written to be up to people’s own interpretation. However, with the decline of honest and unbiased journalism, there is no debate or interpretation to be had, people will only believe what is decided for them.
It is exhausting having to read any news nowadays because no matter what is published, it feels like an opinion story. There is always one-sided information, fabricated ideas that support the view of the story and nothing with genuine facts.
The political spectrum of journalism seems to be the leading cause of mistrust and dishonesty. Oftentimes, there is bias and non-factual information given from news sources where there is a large emphasis on politics; these sources are very one-sided and don’t always give the most reliable information.
Muckraking was a period of journalism where writers sought to expose the truth and scandals of society with the utmost credibility. Journalism has long strayed away from this and watching muckraking disappear is extremely upsetting. Journalism is supposed to be honorable, but with the current conditions, it’s difficult to take pride in.
The rise of fraudulent news is capable of ending journalism as it has already led it to ruin. But, it doesn’t have to end like this. All journalists, especially younger ones, need to reinitiate muckraking and reinvent the way journalism is seen. Stories that bare truth with factual evidence can break the poor path that journalism is taking. In all honesty, that’s what needs to be done.