Obnoxious Mediations of Fake News
Dr. SONY JALARAJAN RAJ Editor-in- Chief,
Journal of Media Watch Department of Communication,
MacEwan University, Edmonton Canada
How corrupt is hell? The American media empires like CNN and FOX are now entangled and stifled by far-fetched analogies which make the public introspect on the reliability of these media giants. From the President Trump to the “Black Life Matters” activists, every single person points the finger at the news media and the manipulations by the media managers. Who should be accountable for these fake or fraudulent news creations? Agenda setting and gate keeping have a revered space in the history of the media, but those secret weapons are now openly wielded against an opposing idea, person or an organization in order to vanquish the antagonist by conniving at the ethical codes that the media should uphold.
The temporal and spatial foothold of the outbreak this terminal media cancer needs to be identified so as to save the media empire for the posterity. Neither capitalism nor globalisation plays any role in the creation of pseudo news. The reins of the pseudo news production are regulated by the self-interests of the some individuals or groups within the news processing unit. In the modern networked age of artificial intelligence, algorithms, and geotagging, every effort to tarnish an individual or an organization or a nation can very well be identified. The tremors and the shockwaves emitted by the fake news are now quantified by the citizen consumers and by the creators.
News still matters! Media is still the spring that brings unpolluted news to the tens and thousands of people who live far away from the corridors of power and politicking. The untainted mass, who cannot separate the chaff from the grain, remain the wholehearted consumers of the media leviathans.The emerging middleclass people shape their lives according to the tunes set by the media, and it testifies to its might, in spite of its insincerity and self-centredness. It is believed that news liberates the mind and the society,and makes it possible to have an egalitarian existence, devoid of all sorts of the exploitations and inequalities.
Patriotism, nationalism and right to live are debated voraciously in tandem and these “hot topics” are given undue importance and space in the media-a tactic that has been overused by the present day media. Erroneous reporting and faulty coverageis a façade that befools the innocent consumers who receive the news at its face value. Edit room left agenda is equally dangerous as the right wing jingoism when it comes to the creation and dissemination of fake news. It is an unpardonable sin to be an obstacle to one’s right to know the truth and express oneself orally. Trust and credibility associated with the news media is at an all-time low. Who is responsible for this devaluation? It is not a cat and mouse game but it is a fight between the hunter and the prey. Prey can be a
common man or a global celebrity, but media is always stamped as the hunter with all sorts of negative connotation.
Free, fair, and fearless media have now become a part of history, only a conscious endeavour can bring back the nobility that media has shed in its rat race to be an unquestionable voice. Is the medium responsible or the mind and masters behind it? The masters and their loyal employees can equally share the credit of bringing the media down to a state of degeneration. Lobbyists, advocacy factions, pressure groups, propagandists, pressure and interests groups and the very latest fixers who work and operate in the name of professional business practices are definitely playing their agenda and vendetta on the news media through money politics. The so called socially committed media masters and managers compete among themselves to adorn the top tier in viewership, readership, rating, and revenue generation tactics. Credibility, reputation and good will of the media are at stake. To cap it all, the media managers now treat the
news consumers as mechanical objects and as quantitative factors for sales and marketing.
Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times has rightly asserted, “We are Journalists, Mr. Trump, Not the Enemy”: “Look, we in journalism deserve to have our feet held to the fire. We make mistakes all the time, and too often, we are superficial, sensationalist, unfair, defensive or diverted by shiny objects. Critics are right that we in the national media are often out of touch with working-class America, and distressingly often, we are lap dogs instead of watchdogs.Yet for all our failings, journalism remains an indispensable constraint on power. Trump has systematically tried to delegitimize the institutions that hold him accountable-courts, prosecutors, investigators, the media-and that’s the context for his vilification of all them, for we collectively provide monitoring that outrages him”.
The mediations by the media managers have touched an ever time low. Social media is conveniently used as a channel for fake news propagation. “Fake news is
frequently used to describe a political story, which is seen as damaging to an agency, entity, or person. The printing and dissemination of spurious news is hardly new, but the term fake news is. However, when we say that an English word is “new,” we are using a broader meaning of that word than if we were to refer to, say, a musical genre. Fake news appears to have begun seeing general use at the end of the 19th century”. (Merriam Webster, 2017)