The Problem: News Cannot be Trusted
The fundamental prerequisite of a conscientious society is the right and access to information. It is crucial to keep the public informed, the elected officials in check and the status quo in balance. However, over the last years, the trust in our news sources and institutions altogether is falling lower and lower.
In today’s day and age, news sources became increasingly abundant, the vast majority of them reachable online with the click of a button. This overpopulation is not necessarily a good thing. When there’s virtually no barrier of entry and anyone smart enough to build a website can open up a news portal online, the question of authority becomes essential.
We lack universal authorities nor credible individuals anymore that have a clean corrupt-free history and a long-lasting tradition of providing reliable information and most importantly are treated as equally dependable from all tranches of society - the left/right, old/young, men/women, etc. It looks like everyone is on a team now competing with the 'others' on every topic. The world is growing increasingly tribal, and the news, as well as social media, has a direct impact on that.
The stories we are being told are often manipulated in order to make you comply with some agenda, eager to buy goods and services or vote for a particular party or politician. It is easy to produce content and bombard the public with it using different aliases, social media accounts and website-based online publications. A lot of vendors are relying on outsourcing rather than doing news reporting internally imposing the question of what kind of fact-checking and due diligence is being conducted before republishing stories.
Opinion leaders shifting from experts to influencers and the value of a person's opinion is switching from pedigree to popularity. The thing that is being promoted tends to be the thing that has the biggest advertising budget - credibility is bought, not earned. Sponsored content rarely goes with the associated disclaimer.
There are instances where the same event is portrayed using opposing controversial headlines depending on political leniency or the geographical location of the publisher.
Conflicts of interest are nothing out of the ordinary for the shareholder overlords of certain news outlets and publishers. As any centralized body of influence, they tend to protect their core constituents and investors and defame opponents.
Shareholders and personal battles of executives can have higher priority than truthful highlighting of events. The profession of a journalist used to embark on a notion of integrity, transparency, and honesty - traits that are often missing in the current state of reporting.
It's not only the owners and bosses that exert power to influence narratives - Social Justice Warriors (SJW), mobs of people using ideologies to formulate what social norms should be considered appropriate and reprehensible. These social mobs then stalk, bully and threaten non-conformists to make them subdue to their way of thinking. Such social hordes are gaining increasingly more power by leveraging 'moral rights' instigating phenomena such as the 'cancel culture'.
Movements like SJW and other public initiatives tend to bully regular people and those in positions of power that have a disagreement with the ideology proposed by the social warriors. But that's not even the tip of the iceberg. Currently, we have authoritarian governments, tech giants and socialist regimes doing all that they can to push propaganda and limit the amount of available information about the crimes and human rights violations in their respective lands.
A similar thing just with greater roots and way darker outcomes for the people is censorship in undemocratic regimes. Whether it's Russia, Hong Kong, China, or Belarus - the patterns are the same. Anyone who's willing to speak up about the horrors, unfairness and corruption within these economies bear severe punishments, imprisonment, and sometimes even death. The press in those regions is just a propaganda machine pumping falsified and carefully redacted pro-regime reporting to the masses.
A similar thing just with greater roots and way darker outcomes for the people is the censorship in undemocratic regimes. Whether it's Russia, Hong Kong, China, or Belarus - the patterns are the same. Anyone who's willing to speak up about the horrors, unfairness and corruption within these economies bear severe punishments, imprisonment, and sometimes even death. The press in those regions is just a propaganda machine pumping falsified and carefully redacted pro-regime reporting to the masses.