Keeping Up with Fake News
by SVL on February 13, 2017 - 9:41am
From tweets to online articles, “fake news” seems to be the new trend in the journalistic industry. The favorite words of the American president refer to a spread of false information made by a website (or, nowadays, anybody) that classified it as “real news”. Unfortunately, even in 2017, keeping up with “what is fake and what is true” is still a problem, especially with the rise of social media. Now, let’s brace us for this new wave of fake news: “fake images”.
On February 12th, the Guardian wrote an article called “Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump impersonation fools Dominican newspaper”. In it, the online site reported that a Dominican newspaper, El Nacional, mistakenly caption a picture of Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live: “Donald Trump, president of the USA”. After their mistake, the website had to issue an apology to “anyone who felt affected by the publication of the photo”.
As I recall all my past projects and term papers, did I ever use a picture that was not associated with the right person or even, the right event? The thing is pictures are used to support your claims, but when it’s a “fake picture”, is your whole article/project/term paper fake too? And how can we find the original image of an edited one? Even after making sure to use the school’s library database, the slight possibility that the author might have made a mistake in their publication is still very possible.
As a student, most of the times, I try to verify my sources. Although, to be honest, rarely do I even bother checking whenever or not the image is “real”. I always assume that if a “big name” publication use it, then it must be true. Now and more than ever, the quote, “Don’t believe everything you see on the internet”, is the exact reflection of this new Digital era we are living in. The creation of Photoshop and other editing apps, as well as the small group of people reporting in war zones, makes it easier to play with images to make them be what we want them to be. For example, reducing the brightness can show a less happy and more hostile environment. The lesson here is that whatever you want to believe in and what you do not want to believe is your choice. Yet, keep an open mind that what you are reading or seeing can be inaccurate.
The article was written by the Associated Press which is an “independent, non-for-profit news cooperative” who reports all over the world to provide new stories. Plus, other news outlets such as Dailymail, Washington Post, and the Independent published an online article on the same story.