“White lies always introduce others of a darker complection” – William S. Paley
Every year we see news reports on different disasters with death tolls rising and people in panic. This year there have been over 20 different disasters, consisting of floods, cyclones, wildfires, and hurricanes. The numbers of disasters keep rising and the people one always find paying close attention to and reporting these happenings are the various people in the media. The media is often said to be the fourth power in the separation of powers, after the legislative, executive and the judicial. We have, since Montesque first introduced this principle, relied on the media to inform us about the world when the other three branches let us down. But what is one supposed to do when the media starts lying to us?
There is a common misconception that the media lies to us by telling us that different events are less significant and dramatic than what they actually are. This is only partially correct. The more extensive problem is that the media, more often than not, amplifies the news in order to gain more attention and add a dramatic flair to their articles. Consequently, leading to more people supporting the news agency. However, one might argue that there could be some truth in that the media hides different information from the public based on how reliable a source is. For instance, we know that the news agency ‘CNN’ is said to be less trustworthy than for example ‘The Guardian’.
Over the last week, there has been a hurricane raging over North-Carolina and different news agencies are saying different things. Thus, leading to the question of “Who are we supposed to trust?” CNN is known to be a news source that is, in the presidents of the United States words, “fake news”. This might be a reason as to why some people believe that when the CNN publishes articles about the hurricane Florence and provide data on different damage made by the hurricane. For instance, they published an article saying that over 150 people are awaiting rescue. Some people might not believe this because of how many political figures in the spotlight have said that they do not trust the CNN. Consequently, most people will, therefore, be more critical of their sources which is very important. On the other hand, however, some people decide to ignore what the CNN says and instead follows what other people say.
An example of a person who people tend to listen to instead of the news is Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America. As exemplified, when he during June this summer (2018) claimed that the U.S had given generous amounts of money to Purto Rico after the hurricane Maria. At one point he also said that “3000 people did not die in the hurricane.” This statement would be more reliable if the president had a source and told the audience where he received this information and provided a correct number of casualties. I personally believe that this makes the president seem less trustworthy because he is lying about serious topics in order to look good.
In conclusion, the media is an important part of life today and many people rely on the different media platforms in order to keep up-to-date with life in the world. Unfortunately, many people do not read sources with a critical eye. They either accept what is written in the sources or articles or they believe other people who claim that the information is “fake news” without any facts to check the reliability. I believe that it is important to know that some news agencies or sources spend time publishing information that is not correct and that some post reliable information and to read the different sites with a critical eye.