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The Truth About Fake News: Emmanuel Professors on Fake News Media Today

Photo by Catherine Hayes ’21

With the multitude of events and news sources in America, it can be difficult to distinguish the difference between real news and fake news. What is fake news media? This question is exactly what Emmanuel professors helped to answer.

On Tuesday October 10, the Cardinal Cushing Library, Political Forum and The Hub co-hosted a fake news media panel that invited 5 professors from a broad range of departments to answer questions about the topic. Dr. McDonnell (Communication and Media Studies), Dr. Moryl (Business and Economics), Dr. Otero (Biology), and Dr. Natoli and Dr. Silver (Political Science) were tasked with answering the question of what fake news really is.

Some of the professors spoke about social media. They pointed to how almost everyone uses Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other channels. They also discussed how these channels serve as many American’s main news source.  The panel agreed that the problem with social media, however, is its lack of truth. Sometimes when a story is popular on social media, the complete details of the event can be lost and overshadowed by opinions, making the facts difficult to find. We are swamped with misinformation.

Dr. Otero answered a student’s question of where one should go to understand the full story.

“It is important to think like a scientist. Find the evidence, find the sources, create a hypothesis and find the results. Find sources that are not objective such as talk shows, and always think critically, and then think again,” Otero said.

When a student asked about how media shapes social interaction, the panel discussed technology’s effect on conversation.  The professors explained that social media has a pre-existing role as a “celebrity.” Often people pay too much attention to words posted on the media rather than the actions of that person.  Panel members offered the example of how a politician can use social media for a stronger image, even if his or her actions do not reflect this mediated image.

Dr. Natoli answered a question about social media’s role in the government.

“The government today uses social media as the modern way of connecting to our country today. However, the government has actually begun to twist the use of the media to their own advantages. By discrediting the media as a valuable source, it causes our views towards the media and journalists to become negative,” Natoli said. “Journalism today is a valuable necessity that is much needed in our society today, as it allows for us to fully comprehend our world and what it is we should know. Journalists provide the valuable sources that are becoming harder to find these days.”

So what is fake news media? Emmanuel professors offered their opinions and helped many students on campus to understand just what fake news is. Social media has always been and will continue to be a large influence in our lives today. In order to fully understand our world, we must look for valuable sources and form our own opinions. We can not let the smoke mirrors of social media affect our opinions and the ‘truth’.

Katie Hayes ’21 is a Staff Writer for The Hub. She can be contacted at hayesc@emmanuel.edu.

Posted by on October 18, 2017. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.