Sbaylin

United States of America

They Invent Your Opinions

March 20, 2018

        Your opinions are not your own. They are being invented and forced on you daily by big corporations that hide their narrative in the most unassuming place. ‘Fake’ news is a prevalent issue today as news is becoming more and more narrative driven and opinionated. Even the biggest news companies that call themselves objective impose their personal narrative into their media one way or another. Although it presents itself as impartial, most of what we call ‘news’ is partial and meant to influence the masses, and it should no longer be classified as news unless it is truly evenhanded.
        What classifies as ‘fake news’ versus real press? The definition of news at its core is a  “report of recent events” (Merriam webster). This means that anything that is classified as news should be a report of a story or event that happened. However, most modern media outlets such as Fox or CNN all add distinct narratives to the story to add an element of opinion to it which is more than just reporting an event. Furthermore, because it is opinionated, it should not be classified as news because the title misleads people into thinking that they are getting a factual, unbiased story when they are actually being deceived, and getting a partisan view of the event or story. This is dangerous because people are more likely to believe in something when it is presented as fact. This is why this form of ‘fake news’ should not be classified as news the same way a truly unbiased form of media is.
       One of the most flagrant examples of this phenomenon is Info Wars with their host Alex Jones. On the recent issue of the Las Vegas shooting, Alex Jones ‘reported’ that the massacre was, “as phony as a three dollar bill or as Obama's birth certificate” (News Week). This is obviously opinionated and unconfirmed information, but it is presented the same as any other news source that claims to be equitable and factual. This behavior is not just limited to people like Alex Jones, however, which is made evident even by an article about the Alex Jones conspiracy. The article says that, “it's hard to take Jones seriously,” (News Week). This shows that even in articles that claim to report on the views of another, there is opinion weaved throughout them that promote their own beliefs and invalidate the other side. Because of this subjectivity, this form of media should not be considered news, as it is not detached from any personal viewpoints of the author or reporter.
         Many argue that not letting brands classify their own material is a violation of free speech. This is simply not the case. Classifying these forms of media is akin to putting a rating on a movie, album or television show. The classification would simply warn the reader that the true intent of the media may be hidden and alerts them to make their own judgements and look for the credible information only. A suggestion of how to oppose this argument is to apply a similar rating system to movies. Instead of the piece not being able to convey its point or not being able to self title its own media, there should be an organization that classifies the articles and gives them a rating based on how opinionated they are. For example, a service like the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) reviews games based on their level of maturity spanning from E for everyone to AO for adults only. Similarly, there would be a company that would review the articles and rate them from O for objective to P for partisan. This would not limit freedom of speech and press, and it would let readers discern which articles are right for them and which are non-partisan. 
         Most media outlets that call themselves news are not in fact impartial and should not be called news. This phenomenon is often called ‘fake news’ and should be distinguished from other news sources that are actually objective. This should be done by the use of ratings made by an external company that is regulated and unbiased towards the source they are reviewing. This would get rid of the manipulative factors that companies use to control their audiences whether for malicious intent or not.
Works Cited
Kwong, Jessica. “Alex Jones Calls the Las Vegas Massacre ‘Phony’ and ‘Part of This Deal That Trump's Got with the Saudis.’” Newsweek, 28 Nov. 2017, www.newsweek.com/alex-jones-calls-las-vegas-massacre-phony-part-deal-trumps-got-saudis-724895.
Google. Web. 8 Mar. 2018
“News.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/news.
Google. Web. 8 Mar. 2018

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