Summary of the Issue in the Article
Nowadays, people want to think that all types of news and information they have access to are usually true and fair. People are ready to use their powers, opinions, and attitudes in order to spread fair values and avoid the creation of fake news. However, the concept of fake news and the necessity to check the credibility of each piece of information has already bothered people for a number of years. Today, such media source as Poynter is challenged by the necessity to prove that fake news are not inherent to it, and its journalists try to investigate each case before covering it online. Fake news may be in the slots of such social media sources like The Economist and Times.
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The author of the article wants to answer one simple question if it is ethical to create fake news. Besides, it is necessary to clarify if people, who use online sources to increase their awareness, are able to avoid fake news and prevent their appearance in the future. The end of the article states one simple truth and the necessity not to ignore “the elephant in the room” and not to be stupid because the Internet and truth are two incompatible concepts. The Internet is the source where people do not want to get information. What is wanted is the determination of what people decide to consume. Even if people do not like the fact of being deceived, they cannot avoid it because they are the creators of all those fake news, which become their main threats in a short period of time.
Article and Media Ethics
The concern of fake news in modern media is not new, and many theorists, philosophers, and researchers develop their thoughts. For example, there is the Hutchins Commission’s social-responsibility ethics according to which news media should tell the truth and represent both sides of the stories in order to represent fair and credible material. In my opinion, the goal of any social media source is to inform people and describe the events the way they actually occur. People should be free to develop their own opinions and attitudes to the events. Therefore, the article by Mullin is the attempt to prove that online newspapers should realize their opportunities and their readers’ expectations.
Instead of developing new approaches or interpretations of the events, they have to investigate each case and define both, positive and negative, aspects. It usually happens that in one and the same situation, there is no right or wrong answer or solution. People have already understood this truth. What they want to get is the opportunity not to be deceived. The Hutchins ethics proves this necessity. For example, in one of the recent Poynter’s articles, the authors question the necessity to describe the events in Syria and the outcomes of the nerve gas attack. Sometimes, people are just not ready for the truth, and newspapers have to identify the line when the truth is integral or can be hidden or represented in some other way. It is not too complicated to be ethically appropriate, the task for every writer is to be a human and treat everyone in a fair way.
Hanson, Ralph E. Mass Communication: Living in a Media World. Thousand Oaks: SAGE, 2015.
Mullin, Benjamin. “What Causes Fake News, and What Are Its Solutions? Journalists from NPR, CNN and the Founder of PolitiFact Weigh in.” Poynter, May 4, 2017.
Tompkins, Al, Indira Lakshmana, and Benjamin Mullin. “Was CNN Right to Show Video of Syrian Nerve Gas Attack?” , 2017.