We hear the term “fake news” tossed around all the time, but does anyone really know what it means?
Four members of the journalism industry gathered to answer this question at Unity Church last Wednesday. The panel, hosted by the nonpartisan organization American Public Square, explored the ins and outs of fake news.
Some members of the panel described fake news as unverified stories. Others disagreed with the usage of the term.
“I don’t use the term because I don’t think it means anything,” stated Bloomberg Senior White House Correspondent Margaret Talev.
She believes there is irresponsibly reported news, but the phrase “fake news” is thrown around too often.
The panelists agreed that part of the reason false information spreads so quickly is because of the rise of social media.
“Really incorrect information, really bad information, can be shared much faster,” said Kansas City Star Vice President and Editorial Page Editor Colleen McCain Nelson.
Spreading unverified information isn’t the only impact of social media on journalism.
According to the panelists, social media also makes it easier for people to filter out information that they disagree with.
According to CNN Commentator and former senior advisor to the Romney campaign, Kevin Madden, “So many people have these partisan identities were they attribute whether or not the information they’re getting is factual or accurate based on the preconceived notion on who’s delivering it.”
The panelists also discussed reporter bias.
Some of the panelists stressed that readers should look to a variety of sources to get their news.
“If you have a balanced diet coming in, you’ll have better discernment about your judgements,” said Fox News 4 anchor Mark Alford.
Feature photo credit: From left: Margaret Talev, Kevin Madden, Alan Katz, Coleen McCain Nelson and Mark Alford discussed fake news at an American Public Square discussion last week. (Source American Public Square)