With new terms, such as alternative facts and fake news, made popular by President Donald Trump, truth has become a power that must be defended. Since his campaign, Trump has been attacking journalists for reporting authenticities.
Trump’s goal is to hide reality, that he feels is detrimental to him, by calling the reported facts alternative facts. By doing this, he has opened an entire discussion about honesty.
Truth Stands up Against Untruth
There was a time when broadcasting the news was a sacred vow taken by journalists to expose the facts based on creating paper trails and confirmed sources. Those reporters are still working to defend the details that they are maintaining, but now they have been cast into the pool with everyone else reporting on social media. With the ability to have so-called news at one’s fingertips, honest journalism must stand up for itself in debates defending real news against fake news.
Journalists fight to put themselves out in society to seek the truth, to see what comes from finding it, and then confirming what they have discovered before reporting facts. Times have changed, and put journalists on the stand to prove what they have written is accurate. Trump and others get away with stating untruths, or unsubstantiated beliefs, that are later delved into to spin into the fact.
Trump was called out on making predictions without having factual evidence, according to Time magazine on March 22, 2017. In turn, the president replied, “I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right.” So, does this mean that it is okay to report, as if a psychic does, ahead of the truth revealing itself?
New York Times Executive Editor, Dean Baquet, was honored with the Spirit of Diversity Award at Wayne State University on Apri 7. Baquet discussed that the current hyping of so-called fake news is why journalism is more vital now than it has been in a long time.
We have an assault on ‘fake news.’ A lot of politicians don’t tell the truth. People are divided. … It’s important for journalists today to understand that truth is the most important thing.
Post-Truth Is Now a Recognized Term
So called facts are reported in the moment and then modified afterward for truthfulness, or denounced as a mistruth, or an alternative fact. Once reported, the story is out there for people to believe or not, as they wish. If the account detailed is incorrect, it ‘s hard to go back to tell people to forget what they have learned.
Honesty may hurt, but lies can cause much damage. Even when the facts are brought to light, the truth will have problems repairing the harm done. This is true, especially in the era of social media and, in-the-moment commentary. Responsive reporting led Oxford Dictionaries to deem the word post-truth the 2016 Word of the Year.
Post-truth is an adjective describing situations in which emotional reporting takes place ahead of facts. The word became increasingly popular during the year of Brexit, and Trump winning the presidential election. As he, and others took to Twitter, tweeting, in the moment, their perception of what was happening, reporting emotions rather than what may actually be factual. It is after the tweet that the truth must be discovered and defended.
What Is Truth
With smartphones, computers are in the hands of most individuals enabling them to convey what they want others to believe as fact. Video now streams live from phones as an event occurs, supposedly detailing the reality. People should ask if what they are watching is really the complete truth.
People wish to believe what they are watching, but do not ask what happened before the video started and after it ended. The reality is more than what they see. Although this technology is modern, the idea of people choosing their own beliefs, rather than facts, as legitimate, is as old as mankind.
A famed quote of Sophocles, written in his fragmentary play “The Sons of Aleus,” sometime before his death around 405 BC, defines the subject.
What people believe prevails over the truth.
Truth is certainly a powerful noun that must be held in high regard and defended. Although the absolute truth is fact based, it can be subjective. The concept is often debated due to one’s perceived notion of what is their reality, as well as faith. People will continue to voice and believe what they wish, even if it is different from confirmed facts laid out in front of them. The truth is extremely powerful, as it is something that ultimately depends on what each person wishes to understand to be the actual truth.
Opinion News by Carol Ruth Weber
Edited by Cathy Milne
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Oxford Dictionaries: Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is…
The Detroit News: Times editor defends journalism, quest for truth
Featured and Top Image by Tilemahos Efthimiadis’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License