Student Responses to the “Fake News” Prompt

November 28, 2018

The “‘Fake News’ Prompt” we previously posted was given to a group of juniors in Mr. Davis’ AP Language and Composition class for responses. A sample of the responses can be found below:

Ariyanna Cozart

Although many want to completely rely on the media to help us stay informed and not ignorant about events, it is hard to know if the information you learned is unbiased. In order to recognize the shortcomings of our media without becoming anti-media, we must understand that the media is run by other people who not only have their own opinions, but use media outlets as their livelihoods. I believe the only time a publication should be deemed fake news is when the story does not show at least one point of view accurately.

By not expecting media to be completely unbiased, one cannot feel misinformed, as one would know the story could be fitting a specific narrative. Media is still a good way for people to become aware of what is happening in the world, whether it highlights a specific detail or not. For example, in the U.S., people have different political views, meaning media concerning politics may portray an event or politician in a way another does not perceive it or them. Even with the bias of the information, one is still able to pick up a basic understanding of what is going on. However, some articles may spew complete lies or generalizations based solely on their opinion, in which case it should be deemed “fake news.”

Claire Geier

Many people in the United States are being consumed by the concept of fake news. They are asking themselves: should they believe it, or is it just another time President Trump uses it to hide something showing him in an unfavorable light? We recognize the shortcomings of our media by understanding that not all news is accurate, seeing “fake news” is a thing now being used by leaders, and working against resorting to anti-media sentiments.

Not all news one sees is accurate. For example, often times magazines say celebrity couples separated when they have not. But what happens when this fake news is on a presidential level? Citizens of the United States have been noticing President Donald Trump using the term “fake news” for polls or media articles showing him in an unfavorable light. Many people disagree with Trump and things he says/does, but they fail to see that he is just using the term “fake news” as a strategy for his campaign/presidency. This, though, could lead to anti-media sentiments which could cause more of an uproar in the area of media. Although President Trump is in the wrong saying true things are fake, he is justified in the fact that other politicians would do it too.

Phoebe Glock

The shortcomings of the media may be recognized without resorting to anti-media sentiments through a discernment of bias by the media, use of stereotypes by the author, and evidence which the media uses to back itself up. The United States should call what its own press publishes “fake news” when the press has published something that is not backed up with concrete evidence.

The media often uses a bias to create and influence the opinion of the reader. This is an unfair way in which one will present and idea to control another’s opinion. Additionally, the use of stereotypes, often regarding race and gender, in the media create a different opinion of the reader despite what may have actually happened. If the author does not present factual and concrete evidence in strengthening his or her own point, it may be categorized as “fake news.” Therefore, it should not be taken seriously because the author has swayed an unfair opinion in the mind of the reader. The United States news should be regarded as fake if fair evidence is not used in strengthening the point being made, although we should be able to trust such a prestigious news outlet. No matter the circumstance, there will always be “fake news” and biased opinions shown in the media.

Meg Kennedy

The media’s job is to articulate and publish relevant and factual news, but often they resort to unsupported or “fake news” due to bias, fame, or poor resources. As readers, it is also society’s job to understand their media, its points of view, and circumstances while writing when determining fake news.

Bias can often sway an author’s perspective on a specific topic and can alter the final results greatly. For example, if a news station favors a political party, specific topics may be hidden or not discussed. During election season, many stations focused on the success of only the party they support instead of the future or impact on society as a whole. Furthermore, this can alter how consumers understand media. It is the reader’s job to also stay informed from as many, if not all, perspectives of the situation to properly comprehend and form opinions. Where the media fails to provide, for example, all perspectives of a crime, readers must be aware of work that they must put forth if they want to completely form non-biased opinions. It is not the reader’s job to claim “fake news” or “real news,” but to understand the working of media and be an active and well-educated consumer.

Sara Matvey

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, is unfairly anti-media for his own gain. Trump thinks that if he coins an article as “fake news,” it will make him seem like a better person. Governments should recognize that different media outlets lean towards certain opinions and should never claim that something is “fake news” because it blinds the public, promotes lying for personal gain, and can be detrimental to the author.

Writing coined as fake news tends to be true, but it goes against the president. This blinds the public by telling them what to believe and what not to believe while that is a personal choice. When the U.S. calls out the press for fake news, it is speaking out against the truth and promoting Trump. Almost all articles that are “fake news” shed a negative light on the president, which is why it is fake news. If the public is convinced that every negative article is about Trump, then they will be trusting only “Trump-approved” outlets like Fox. Trump and the public need to understand that there will be difference in opinions, which is why so many people are anti-media. Fake news has become a term used in order to blind the public from the truth and promote President Trump.

Madeleine Oum-Ray

The media has always been around. In ancient times, news was spread through word of mouth. As time progressed, people began to spread news in more efficient ways, like newspaper, TV, and radio. Now, there are many media outlets that spread information, and it is up to us to decide whether it is true or not. Sometimes, it is hard for people to recognize the media’s shortcomings. When the media’s shortcomings are uncovered, it should be handled with maturity and class. It should not automatically be assumed to be “fake news.” Acknowledging the media’s shortcomings should be done by calling them out and asking for factual evidence, not by calling it fake news. The United States should call what its press publishes “fake news” when the information impacts many people negatively based on a generalization, inclines many people to believe an account not based upon facts, and when it is used to create an underground bias in society.

The media has published lots of “fake news” recently from the beginning of the 2016 presidential election. While running for office, President Trump made many assumptions about Mexicans coming into the U.S. and raping, killing, and stealing from people. That was highly controversial in the media. Many news outlets reported this event as if it were true. Statistics proved this information incorrect. This was indeed “fake news,” but the media portrayed this information as true in order to sway the audience from one political party opposition to another. This also made a negative impact on Mexican people because this was a generalization of a small percentage, or one case.

Dasha Robinson

As a society, we can recognize the shortcomings of our media by holding them accountable when evidence of tampering with the facts of a story is found. The media must be a reliable source of information and news, whether that information is about celebrities or crime. Whether it is the real definition or the popularized version, fake news is evident in the U.S. media today. The United States can refer to what the press publishes as “fake news” because it inserts a bias that will appear to its viewers, distorts facts by either omitting them or over exaggerating them, and pursues stories with the intent not to get information out to its viewer but instead to generate shock value.

During the 2016 presidential elections, many Democratic media outlets honed in on front runner Donald Trump, the Republican nominee. These media channels and outlets who knew they were the source of political information for Democrats began to paint this big businessman as a man who represented everything our country did not need. They highlighted everything that he said that could cause offense to some viewers without providing adequate context behind the statement President Trump made. They misconstrued ideas about his policies as well. This was done to appeal to the known bias its viewers may have had against the Republican Party. The term “fake news” not only supports Trump’s popularized definition, but also the original version of fabricated advertising. Even now while President Trump holds office, Democratic news outlets continue to alter the ideas, policies, and words that he has spoken to possibly minimize his chances for reelection. By wielding the power to project “fake news” onto its viewers and readers, the media has presented a bias that will collectively gain support from those who in turn support the bias.

Elena Schutz

The term “fake news” has transformed over time. It was once used to describe false stores, and now it is more broadly used to describe anything that may have fabricated ideas or just something that is disliked by a group of people. The media constantly creates this “fake news” and we should be weary when trusting any article. “Fake news” is created because of the intended audience’s views, the author’s bias, and influence of other world events that effect a piece of journalism.

A work of journalism is dependent on the people who read it. There is almost always a “target audience” that the author wants to appeal to. Through modern media and technology, it is easier than ever to gain popularity and credibility in writings of journalism. There are several reasons why an author may publish “fake news.” He or she may want to gain support for the topic, so they throw in false ideas to support their claim. The author may also want to create an argument. He may try to pin certain people against each other in order to start disputes. He also may want to persuade people to agree with his side of the story. A reader may not even recognize that the work they are reading is aimed to persuade them and they subconsciously agree with the author. When it comes to fake news, it is always important to get the correct facts and make your own assumptions rather than agreeing with a certain author. It is crucial that your opinion be decided by you and only you and to get the right facts.

Marley Yakim

The use of the saying “fake news” is not a new phenomenon. People all over the world have been using this term for years to refer to media outlets that they do not support or agree with. Politicians, mostly, have created a stigma that certain media outlets only report the said “fake news.” While it is true that news coverage is not always one hundred percent factual, the majority of media outlets put in great effort to gather the facts before reporting on any subject. There are ways to call out false reports without diminishing the reporter altogether. The term “fake news” should not be used in reference to media outlets or reporters because it paints them in a negative light, reduces their credibility, and demeans all their past and future reports.

It is not up to United States officials to claim that certain media outlets report this so-called “fake news,” it is up to the American public to decide that for themselves. Most of the times a government official calls something fake news, it is because something bad is reported about them. By calling the negative report fake news, it takes the negative light off of the official and onto whoever reported on the subject. Painting the reporter or media outlet in a negative light reduces their credibility because the public now thinks that everything the outlet said or will say is incorrect. In the world, there is never going to be a media outlet that gets every single report correct all the time. This is something that everyone needs to realize instead of taking an anti-media stance.


2 Responses to “Student Responses to the “Fake News” Prompt”

  1. Arlene Barry on November 29th, 2018 7:50 pm

    I read this thoroughly. Twice actually. What I took away from this is that , the girls were asked to comment on “fake news”, (based primarily on bias) and all wrote beautifully.
    I was disappointed to see the writers own biases come through their writing. More disappointing, we as parents have not just a duty but a obligation to allow our daughters to draw their own opinions.

  2. Mr. Maerzke on December 3rd, 2018 8:34 am

    I think Meg Kennedy makes an excellent point here, that bias in media more often leads to omitted facts than to outright lying. A media outlet may not be able to get away with disseminating false information, but there is nothing wrong with only reporting facts that support your view. Or is there? Elena Schutz explains that “Fake News” has evolved over time; where once it may have meant truly false information, it now means a variety of things… and as Sara Matvey points out, most of it tends to be true. I think Ariyanna Cozart makes the best suggestion for how to move forward when she says that we should not expect the media to be unbiased. If we embrace the fact that media outlets are biased, we will be able to filter the stories we hear by (hopefully) staying informed an doing our own research.

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