Global Medium: the dangerous side of fake news

By Saanvi Thakur

Since Donald Trump and his administration took office in 2016, the phrase “fake news” has been used to describe anything and everything the former president disagrees with, regardless of its accuracy. 

According to BBC, because of Donald Trump, the concept of fake news has become mainstream and is now a tool for people who refuse to believe the latest news and want an easy excuse to discredit credible media sources. 

Throughout his presidency, Trump’s usage of the term “fake news” and its dangerous effect has increased, yet many still do not understand the severity of labeling important information as fake news and the consequences that come with it. 

Fake news has become a part of our society, however, it is vital to differentiate the truth from fake news (Photo courtesy of The Daily World )

For example, when the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, people around the world social distanced and sheltered-in-place. In the United States, many states issued stay-at-home orders and required masks when outdoors, according to NBC

These lockdown measures have continued for months on end in the U.S. because many Americans did not follow the restrictions. Ignorance, pride and privilege can all be blamed for this, but what was the source of these emotions? 

While personal beliefs and other factors may have contributed, Trump’s labeling of important news as “fake news” played a large part in discrediting reliable information from sources like Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

According to the HuffPost, Trump has disputed an alarming number of facts regarding coronavirus, whether that was by calling the CDC’s coronavirus tracker “fake news” or downplaying the number of coronavirus cases as the death toll increased and saying the increase in cases was a “fake news media conspiracy,” according to CNBC and CBS

The numerous examples of Trump discrediting reliable news outlets and expert sources for his benefit are extremely concerning. By cashing in the term “fake news” every time a fact or update does not support his political agenda, Trump continues to put Americans in harm’s way. In fact, Trump told American journalist Lesley Stahl that he calls the truth “fake news” to “demean” and “discredit” the press, according to CBS

While the effects of “fake news” will continue to haunt us, the “fake news” has become all too real like in the case of the domestic terrorism that took place in the capitol. After Trump supporters attacked the capitol, multiple social media accounts of Trump and his allies have been banned, according to the Washington Post

As a result, misinformation has decreased on different social media platforms, according to Vox, but many Trump loyalists are continuing to spread false information about the domestic terrorism that took place at the capitol, according to The Baltimore Sun

Despite the attack on the capitol being driven by fake news, Trump supporters and loyalists continue to spread false information and label the truth as “fake news,” which is the most concerning part of it all. 

The events that took place at the capitol show that the concept of “fake news” will haunt us even after Trump leaves office, but now more than ever, it is important to stay updated about the news and current events so that we will never again be in an era where the truth itself is being questioned.

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