To me, this subject is almost too easy, yet I remain surprised at how many of my friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers have trouble determining the difference between real news and fake news, between fact and fiction.
Here we are moving rapidly into the 21st century and there are more ways than ever to use our time, yet we still have just 24 hours in a day. So, that means efficiency rules. My most read application these days is Apple News+. What do you find there?
Read & Think
Not that long ago my iPhone and iPad were littered with a couple of dozen news apps; from CNN to BBC, from AP to NPR, from Politico to Fox News, from USA Today to HuffPost and Bloomberg and a handful of decent news aggregators.
Aggregator. That’s what Apple News+ is. It brings together news from dozens of sources– which you can control and which usually avoid the right and left fringes of crazy town. While Apple News+ is highly curated it remains reflective of what goes on worldwide.
Fake news vs. real news.
Real News: A video of the president’s latest news conference, news of a landslide somewhere, details about another shooting.
Fake News: An opinion of the president’s latest news conference from talking heads of various political persuasions.
See how that works? Real news displays facts that you can see for yourself. Fake news is more talking heads telling you about what just happened; perhaps based in fact, perhaps not.
How is so-called fake news different from perspective or opinion?
Opinion pieces or editorials or even forum posts can reflect facts, but often do not. Mac360’s Jeffrey Mincey has written extensively about fake news, yellow journalism, truthiness, and other tools of the misinformation trade.
Far too many publications use attractive and eye-catching headlines to lure readers into articles which are, simply put, not factual or, at best, highly distorted to display a particular perspective, which results in more readers, which is beneficial to advertisers, but not for factual accuracy.
Sorry, none of the major news networks in the U.S. is particularly truthy in nature; not Fox News, not CNN, not MSNBC. All have agendas and perspectives and target audiences, and each distorts factual information to attract eyeballs for advertisers.
That means we need to take a long hard look at where we get our information, choose sources wisely, then consider what is written or displayed on video, and consider the differences between opinion and fact.
It ain’t always easy, but it is a requirement to become and remain informed.
They say we are what we eat. That applies to what we read and watch, too. If all you eat are Twinkies and all you drink is Budweiser, then your health will be affected negatively. If all you watch and read is Fox News or CNN, then you will have a mental health problem, too.
Apple makes it easier to get a broader perspective of news and information sources in Apple News+, or even in the non-subscription version.
As you read and watch, just remember to choose wisely.