The Prairie’s Guide to Combatting Fake News

The Prairie Editorial Staff

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Ever since “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine helped ignite the fires of revolution, the media in all its forms has had a lasting impact on American policies.

Even more recent instances, such as Edward Murrow’s investigation into Senator Joseph McCarthy that helped end the Red Scare in the 1950s and the Guardian’s 2013 leaks of confidential NSA documents that proved a massive U.S. domestic surveillance policy, have all shown a common role of media relations: to serve as watchdogs for the public and to hold those with power in check.

However, recent events have caused this inherent trust between the media and the public we serve to change. Terms like “fake news” and “alternative facts” have been used to label news sources that disagree with the viewpoints of jaded readers, and that trend needs to end soon if we are to continue on as a society.

Now, we at The Prairie aren’t going to waste space and tell you that all media is good and has only your best interests at heart, but we will tell you that, as an industry, news is filled with dedicated journalists who truly believe in serving and informing the public.

Journalists the world over believe wholeheartedly that informing the public is the basis for any democracy, and they take that role very seriously. The key, however, is not letting the truth be pushed to the side in order to fit one’s own beliefs.

This isn’t a liberal or conservative stance, but a human one. The truth must always be paramount, especially when applied to those in power, and it is our job as citizens to understand the difference between facts and opinions.

Always fact-check. No one source is perfect, whether it be the New York Times or the President of the United States, but to discredit a valid fact because it disagrees with you is turning your back on history.

Those who ignore history are often doomed to repeat it, so it’s time to do our duty as citizens and ensure the continuation of America’s great democracy by strengthening its greatest asset: a well-informed citizenry.

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