By Lauren McMullin
A casual date in Provo may include going to the Creamery, sampling the flavors, and eventually picking your favorite flavour. For me, my favorite is Graham Canyon (Note: this is not product placement; it’s just seriously that good). Much like picking ice cream flavors, we have daily decisions to make, such as choosing which news sources we follow. For those who are conservative, Fox News or the Deseret News are regular choices; for those on the more liberal side, MSNBC or the Salt Lake Tribune are regular choices.
Digital media has created more news choices than Creamery ice cream flavours. We can choose to view news on social media, websites, newspapers, TV, and apps. We are also more prone to come in contact with the growing epidemic of fake news. Fake news is as good as cookie dough ice cream without the cookie dough. This past election, fake news reached more eyes than real news. Buzzfeed monitored election content engagement from both false/fake news content and big news sites (such as the New York Times and the Washington Post). The results from August to the end of 2016 were astounding. The results for content engagement was 8,711,000 for fake news content and 7,367,000 for real news sites content. Headlines such as “Pope Francis shocks world, endorses Donald Trump for president,” and “Fox News Exposes Traitor Megyn Kelly, Kicks Her Out For Backing Hillary” were popular fake news headlines last year that overpowered the real news.
Blatantly fake news articles are only one of many dangers circling us–kind of like eggnog ice cream. Eggnog ice cream seems harmless at first, but in reality, it is sickly sweet. Other dangers we face are biased news, unnamed sources, and more. We shouldn’t buy into what every article has to say, we should ponder and analyze it; we should “ponderize” it. Then, after “ponderizing,” we can form our own opinion.
There are political skews with every news organization, and our challenge as citizens is to not only choose news according to our political views, but also to read news content that contains opposing or diverse political viewpoints. If you grew up watching Bill O’Reilly with your dad every night like I did, you probably grew up with a more conservative viewpoint and need to diversify your news sources. It’s time for Americans to realize that freedom means that news can come in many shapes and sizes. Branch out to an ice cream flavour you normally wouldn’t try; maybe even try sherbert…I take that back. Sherbert is awful, but you get the point. My challenge to you is this: diversify your news choices, but also be wary.
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