Don’t mistake fake news for the truth

The consequences of clickbait articles and biased accounts

With many horrendous headlines and misleading leads appearing on false news articles, it’s not unusual to come across a fake news story when scrolling away online. It’s important to both verify the validity of the source publishing the article, as well as seek outside sources to gather all sides of the story. It’s like the old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover, only in this case, it’s don’t judge a news story by its headline.

Whether or not the article comes from a satire news source like The Onion or a credible mainstream outlet like CNN, it’s always important to delve deeper and learn the real facts behind the story being examined. As Lee Atwater said, “Perception is reality” and media outlets can play a key role in manipulating what we as viewers and readers perceive.

Nonetheless, it’s imperative that we stay informed and not slack off on what’s going on around us in the world so we can get the truth and not a fake story or misleading account of what actually occurred. Fake news has even led to serious consequences.

Back in December, a man was arrested for shooting up a pizzeria in Northwest Washington due to false information that was being spread online about Hillary Clinton. A conspiracy was floating about that Clinton was involved in a child sex ring being run out of the pizza restaurant.

According to an article published on the Washington Post website, “The restaurant’s owner and employees were threatened on social media in the days before the election after fake news stories circulated claiming that then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief were running a child sex ring from the restaurant’s backrooms.” The fact that people believed this to be true enough to act out like this is absurd, when the facts could be checked with a simple google search.

In some cases such as this one, people are too quick to believe what they read without delving into the facts to understand the greater picture. If the pizzeria shooter, 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch, had done a bit of research, he may have found this false news story about Clinton to be nonsense and not have acted out.

Regardless, what happened, happened and that situation is a prime example of what can result from spreading bogus news stories and not investigating the truth for yourself.

Moving forward, we also can’t rely on just one news outlet’s account of what happened to be the whole story. Often times, media outlets gear a story to fit their own perspective and belief of the circumstance at hand. The media has the power to manipulate what is seen.

We at The Equinox believe it’s vitally important to stay conscious of that and take into account multiple sources and perspectives of the story. We also feel it’s important to not believe what’s stated in just one or two articles and to really delve into the story to gain a better, more in-depth understanding.

It may be amusing to peruse mindless clickbait articles, but at the end of the day, there’s no real valuable substance to them. In a way, they distract and deter people away from important, real and factual news. We at The Equinox mainly just feel that overall, it’s essential to pay attention to what it is you’re really looking at when reading news stories.

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