DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Information gatekeepers complain people are being inundated with fake news, and many Americans think something should be done about it.
The new mainstream media fury over so-called fake news has become one of the most important social issues of 2016. A new poll, however, shows Americans are divided as to whom should be responsible for fighting it, if at all.
The poll is disclosing that nearly half of Americans believe fake news is having great impact on what people think. It also reveals that nearly 40 percent believe they can sort out the difference between true and false news stories.
Fake news is not a new phenomenon. Thomas Jefferson complained in 1807, "Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle."
Even before that, from the time Gutenberg invented the printing press, people used the printed media to promote an agenda.
In about 20 years the number of people in the world with access to the internet has increased from less than one percent to about 40 percent of the world — nearly 4 billion people. With technologically advanced cameras, computers and equipment at significantly more affordable prices now, just about anybody can send their slightest thought instantly across the world.
The establishment media, however, is not going quietly into the night. Despite the fact that for years it has pushed not only shoddy journalism but outright fake news, it is labeling "citizen journalists" and newer news organizations like Breitbart, World Net Daily and many others as "fake news" in an effort to preserve its influence.
President Barack Obama commented on November 17, "If we are not serious about facts and what's true and what's not, and particularly in an age of social media where so many people are getting their information in sound bites and snippets off their phones, if we can't discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems."
After having lost the presidential election, Hillary Clinton remarked, "It is now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences," she said. "This is not about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk — lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days and do their jobs, contribute to their communities. It is a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly."
The problem is that the people and organizations who have had the information monopoly are the ones maintaining they will help people by sorting truth from lies.
The owners of Facebook and Twitter have pledged to sort truth from lies for their readers. It was announced recently that ABC News, the Washington Post, Politico, Snopes, the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) funded by George Soros, and other political progressives will police social media news stories.
Nearly 85 percent of people, however, believe they can identify whether news is true or false with only six percent not at all confident. Almost half of people believe it's the responsibility of government or social networking websites to filter fake news.