PRotecting against fake news

Among the countless false stories shared on social media recently was a faked photo of Barack Obama touching Melania Trump’s backside on Inauguration Day. Then there was the horrendous story that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of a pizza shop. The sad truth is, a lot of people believed them.

BuzzFeed News found that fake news fooled Americans 75 percent of the time. sites a recent Pew Research study which said 23 percent of Americans believe they’ve shared a made-up news story – either knowingly or not.

The actual photo

Fake news isn’t limited to politics. Coca-Cola became a victim when it was falsely reported they recalled Dasani water bottles after a “clear parasite” was found in the water, complete with a photo of the alleged parasite.

It’s the responsibility of public relations professionals to ensure they don’t fall victim to fake news, or even create it on behalf of clients. “PR practitioners need to pay greater attention to what is being said and spread on social media,” wrote Dr. Joseph Truncale, CEO of the Public Relations Society of America. “Trust and transparency are critical elements to building corporate reputation.”

Protecting against fake news isn’t simple; it requires extra effort on behalf of the reader/viewer. Here are some quick tips:

  • If the story seems extremely one-sided and alarmist, it may be fake news.
  • Double-check the URL. If is seems odd, it’s probably fake news.
  • If it’s a web site or a blog, see if the “about us” section looks legit.
  • Think about who’s quoted in the story. Is he/she a seemingly credible source or does the quote seem sketchy?
  • Fake news often comes from a satirical source such as “The Onion” or “ClickHole.” Double check this.
  • Use fact-checking sites including PolitiFact, Snopes and

For obvious reasons, PR people must be media savvy. We should get our news from multiple, credible sources, and compare stories for consistency. Fake news can be especially challenging for PR; it can damage politicians’, companies’ and individuals’ reputations. It’s up to us to protect our clients and ourselves by being well-informed. Your thoughts?

37 thoughts on “PRotecting against fake news

  1. Gabby Sully

    Fake news today is has flourished into the most common crisis in regards to the reputation of companies and clients. We have seen fake news spread over the past couple years, one example being Planned Parenthood.

    During campaign season, Carly Fiorina pushed the idea that Planned Parenthood was selling parts of fetus’ to the black market after a fake video surfaced of a still-born birth (which is not considered an abortion), but was tagged with the name abortion. Republicans believed in this so much, even though the person who filmed and produced the video said it was fake.

    When the president of Planned Parenthood appeared to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, she was asked to explain a skewed graph. Someone advised her that the graph was from Americans United for Life, whom has made multiple attempts to shut down Planned Parenthood. Many on the hearing looked startled and they said they would recheck their sources.

    There’s always two sides of a story, you just need to remember to have all facts straight and truthful.

  2. Jennifer Im

    It’s sad that we must all grow more skeptical in order to stay on top of this world, but I’m glad that more and more people and organizations are promoting media literacy. The one media literacy class I took at Hofstra University was life changing and I am a firm believer that those classes should be required just like math and language arts starting from middle school or even earlier if possible. Some might even argue that learning to navigate the Internet safely is more important than those subjects as everyone uses and gets information from online nowadays!

  3. Tyler Weatherly

    In today’s social climate, it is very important for PR practitioners to be aware of fake news and figure out how to get in front of a story before things escalate with false information, especially during a crisis. Fake news has always existed, we just finally have a word for it.

  4. Emily Levine

    I think social media is a huge reason why fake news spreads so rapidly today. Rarely do we click on a full link to a story as we’re scrolling through twitter; we just read the headline and keep moving, not realizing that what we’re seeing could be totally untrue. This gets tricky because a lot of people do use twitter as their main form of consuming news, and for many it can be a really good way to get information quickly. But if you do use twitter as your main source of news, it is important to make sure you’re following credible news sources who always link back to their articles and that you’re looking at sources, not just relying on retweets from your friends.

  5. Haley Moffatt

    I think a big reason why fake news is becoming more and more of a nuisance is because of the fact that people don’t stop to take a minute to make sure the news they are reading (mainly online) comes from a credible source. There are so many people who are on Facebook and scroll by an attention-grabbing headline that fires them up so without even thinking they share it, realizing later on or not realizing at all that what they have shared is fake or fabricated to look a certain way. While it’s up to consumers of the media to decide whether information an (news) article dispels is credible, it’s up to PR Practitioners to make sure that they remain transparent and honest when it comes to information being spread online and know when to step in and control the narrative that may be going wildly off-track because of fake news.

  6. Gabriella Johns

    This is phenomenon of “fake news” has always been a factor. The only thing that is different is the cameras and social media. The power of photoshop has the ability to the deceive the eye, which distracts the reader from what is really going on. For example, police brutality has also been a problem especially with minorities, the brutality isn’t new its the cameras. In this specific incident you can see how the between differences such as republicans and democrats effects the news we read. The republicans are attempting to put President Obama in bad lighting by placing his hand on Mrs. Trump lower back.

    Fake news is everywhere it can be hard to decipher what is indeed real and what is false. For instance when you turn on Fox News you are going to a conservative/republican ideologies. Turn on MSNBC it will be democratic. Both of these news outlets put their specific party in a better light because that is how they connect to their audiences. You watch and listen to people who have the same interests and beliefs as you do.

    Public Relations professionals should stay transparent and make sure that they are always honest, and remain ethical. Not only do we have an obligation show honesty to the public, but to those we represent. Even though we are loyal to those we represent, we also have to be loyal to the public and social media.

  7. Whitney Shepherd

    I think this is a very relatable topic to discuss, especially in the current state of our nation and government. Fake news spreads rapidly with the help of social media, especially those who are looking for quick news stories and “facts” to justify arguments and opinions. I think it is more than necessary for PR professionals to be on the lookout for not just fake news about the clients but also popular current fake news circling around in order to get a better understanding of our publics and what they are believing.
    I do think it was very interesting to bring up memes as apart of fake news circulation because that was not something that usually crossed my mind when I thought of fake news. I definitely think this phenomenon of fake news, calls for a bigger realization which is that it is everyones responsibility to not take what we see on the internet at face value and we should be double and triple checking resources before believing stories, pictures, or videos that simply are not true.

  8. Courtney Grieco

    To be honest, it doesn’t surprise me that fake news is on the rise. As more people have access to media, more people have the ability to create fake news. Also, I believe that many people share fake news in direct correspondence to the fact that the news is so shocking and outrageous. If the news was more boring, people wouldn’t be so tempted to share it with others. However, when someone sees news that they think is big and different, they want to share it with others. It seems like we all have a natural tendency to gossip. However, I do think that those are some great tips in order to prevent falling victim to believing fake news. However, it is unfortunate that its becoming more and more difficult to find the truth.

  9. Brittany Liscoe

    I think the reason that fake news is so effective is because people want more reasons to believe their opinions about a certain person or topic are valid. I believe that fake news is only really profitable when it is directed at viewers who already have a strong opinion about the subject in focus. Fake news outlets can depend on these people to spread the news to viewers who may be on the fence in terms of their feelings on the topic. After viewing the fake news it can be expected that at least a few people with little to no opinion will be tricked into forming certain ideas about the subject.
    It is especially difficult for PR professionals in this era to deal with fake news because there have been so many advancements in terms of making false claims appear to be true. There is also the added difficulty as a result of the rise in simplicity of making a post go viral. Within minutes a simple false claim can be published and spread to millions of viewers, a phenomena that is very new to the PR world.

  10. Elizabeth Giangarra

    I believe that it’s concerning from a public relations view point with fake news stories popping up more and more. But at the same time i feel that its also a challenge for participants to be on there game. People tend to focus on news that has an eye grabbing headline. That’s why they follow fake news. As a public relations member, I feel by demonstrating eye grabbing headline but with the truth will grab more attention than fake news. I believe that its also about the approach of the article and the start being told.

  11. Asher Lennon

    As some people have said, fake news from sources such as The Onion and similar websites are not always trying to spread fake information as much as trying to make people laugh and poke humor at certain topics, rather than take everything super seriously. However, on sites that are not known to be satirical it is important to check who writes it and not take the information too seriously before figuring out if it is a credible source.

    Although it might be entertaining to sometimes read about fake news, it’s good to make sure you have a credible source of information to get your real news, so fake news is not all you know.

    Without fake news, Facebook especially would be very depressing, considering the insanity that is our government right now.

  12. Jenna Morace

    I honestly never knew their were fact checker sites like the ones includes in the post. I thought this was really interesting because if people just quickly checked their information before reposting their news stories, fake news wouldn’t get circulated as often as it does. I feel like countless times while in conversation, or even overhearing conversations (mainly politically based) people talk about things they have no clue about.9 times out of 10 their information is wrong. Most of the time their getting their information from garbage sites that have been reposted through social media. Fake news is really dangerous and easily avoided if people just took that one extra step to double check their information.

  13. Erik Hansen

    It’s interesting to note that websites such as Clickhole and The Onion are cited as fake news, as both are clearly satirical and ridiculous. The fact that a website publishing headlines such as “Awesome! The Sun Is Blacking Out For Net Neutrality!” can still be taken seriously by some people goes to show how many people are willing to believe any sort of news no matter how dubious the source is, as long as it conforms to their preexisting opinions. I personally believe that this is the biggest reason fake news is able to spread and damage reputations so rapidly; in an age where one has so many choices of news sources, its become very easy to only listen to the websites that support their own views of the world, whether the source be legitimate or not.

  14. Emil Tansinda

    Although it can be understood that the vast majority of people are fooled by many false news articles, I am definitely not one to be tricked into believing these inaccurate statements which are being presented to the public. I find it very shameful that people are willing to put out false information out there in order to gain popularity or recognition online. I was surprised to read BuzzFeed News’ statistic that a whole 75% of Americans are fooled by false news articles and a Pew research study also stated that nearly up to a quarter of Americans (23%) have shared a false news story knowingly or unknowingly. With these statistics I believe people have to reconsider which sources they use to receive their news. I am always careful with which sources I believe when it comes to receiving news, often referring to the BBC, CNN and MSN for general articles. When it comes to sport, and most pertinently for me, soccer, I always use Sky Sports News, because for years they have established themselves as the most trustworthy, accurate and reliable sports news source. When it comes to assessing and evaluating our news, I agree with the posts statement on being “media savvy.” We must compare the stories which we receive to other articles, ensuring that we can believe what is being said within the article. Especially as PR people, it is our responsibility to ensure that any news we want to share or indulge in is credible, so that we stay well-informed and updated with the facts, not “alternative facts” as we have heard in recent weeks.

  15. liad zayit

    One of the biggest reasons why fake new is getting so much attention is because Americans are not educated. If people see a source on Facebook they should go to 3 or 4 other sources to be sure it is not fake news. Americans need to be educated and that is where we need to start to solve the problem. Many people need to realize that if a story does not seem right they should check it with other sources before believing it and sharing it.

  16. Haylee Pollack

    I think that a large part of the reason why fake news is getting so much press is because of the uneducated people who are believing it. Those who are educated and media literate should be able to tell the difference between a story that is factual or fiction, yet those who aren’t will sadly be tricked into thinking a fake news story is the real deal. I think that educating Americans is where we need to start in order to solve the problem, and a PR campaign may be the way to do it. Since these fake news stories are being shared so much on social media, why not create a social media-driven PR campaign aimed to educate people about how to spot fake news? Something to think about.

  17. Emily Bravo

    Last semester, I personally took the Fake News quiz on Buzzfeed. I got three questions wrong. Which is why I am not surprised to see that in the blog post above 23 percent of of Americans believe they’ve shared a made-up news story – either knowingly or not. Let’s  be real for a moment, fake news is what got Donald Trump the presidency. Facebook received a ton of backlash for spreading fake news on their site. This election season most people got their news via Facebook. Now journalism is taking a hit on the field’s credibility. Facebook hired people to spot fake news, editors. Hopefully, this and the list above will help people detect fake news easier.

  18. Hannah Thueson

    I believe that one of the biggest problems with fake news is the publics inability to understand what is satirical and what is actually wrong. Media sites like the Onion aren’t posting “fake” or “wrong” information to spread lies throughout the Internet, they’re using comedy and satire as a way of dealing with the world. Other sites and contributors, however, are using fake news to fuel a political agenda or simply get a rise out of the public. We live in a day and age where anyone can say or do anything and reach millions of people. The public at large already has a tendency to believe whatever they believe on the Internet without following up or fact-checking. Fake news spreads quickly and easily because of this. PR professionals have an especially hard time with fake news because once it’s out there it spreads like wildfire and becomes increasingly difficult to contain.

  19. RHwang

    Nowadays, fake news seems more like gossip and/or rumors. Some facts are true but the story as a whole is fraudulent. Personally, I was not into politics until recently because of how much chaos our new president was causing even before his presidency started. His words and actions not only affect the people in the United States, but also outside. Nonetheless, as seen in the photograph above, extreme, unnecessary, and unprofessional photoshop was made in order to “prove a point”. Though it is the job for those who are in the PR business to stop these type of nonsense actions, it is also the audience’s to know that President Obama would never advocate such behavior. A PR professional would acknowledge the problem, show empathy to those were affected, then do positive things and never lie to its audience. However, comparing President Trump and our former president of 8 years, it would be hard for a PR professional to fix the meme that was posted.

  20. Alyssa Scott

    Unfortunately I witness a ton of fake news being spread throughout the digital world everyday. I agree that it is important to spread the awareness of fake news to people, considering there are many who are so quick to believe anything they read on the internet. Over the years I have gotten better with identifying whether or not my source is credible. Websites such as factcheck and Snopes are useful and important during this digital age. I always suggest those websites to friends or family when they tell me something they’ve read that I find skeptical. Public relations professionals are so necessary to clear the damage that has been made from these fake news reports. It is so sad that some people in this business are so desperate that they are willing to ruin someone’s reputation for views. It is so upsetting.

  21. Christina Shackett

    Along with the growth of the ability to spread information, comes the ability to spread false information. In a time of “alternative facts”, it also becomes less and less easy to believe many of the things that we read. Meanwhile, even when we believe that we are reading from reputable sources, many tend to have a certain bias or angle that they write from, skewing the information that reaches us. We are well aware that there are news distributors, particularly in relation to politics, that lean a certain way. For example, CNN is known to be bias toward the liberal perspective, while Fox News tends to be more conservative. However, while we are still getting most of the truth from these sites, social media tends to take over what comes out of these sites. I find that the most false information that spreads quickly over the internet stems from social media trends, particularly those that come from Twitter (also known as “memes”). These trends are easy for some to pick up the sarcasm in, but others (such as photo-shopped pictures of Obama) can be leaked to other parts of the internet that are more easily fooled. In an age where news is everywhere, so is false news.

  22. Emily Barnes

    In this digital age, heavily driven by social media, the likelihood of falsified information has reached new heights. Although many of us are reluctant to admit this, myself included, we become lazy at times when it comes to researching and retrieving news ourselves. On the some token, public opinion is greatly swayed by bias outlets seeking to cater to our already formulated viewpoints. The outpour of fake news and “alternative facts” presented not only throughout this past election cycle, but also in today’s news circuit, although completely absurd and seemingly petulant, has in a way forced the public to become more accountable for honing in on fact versus fiction when it comes to news.

    The number one job of a journalist is to inform the people–with as much honesty and impartiality as possible. I think it’s time to start remembering our journalistic duties and get back to uncovering truthful stories for the sake of the common good. Enough with taking sides, name-calling and pointing fingers. If we’re going to be an indivisible nation it’s time to start acting like one.

  23. Marli Delaney

    Fake news can certainly be inconvenient because it is falsified, but its existence is practically inevitable as so many people naturally swoon over scandal. It’s especially bound to happen because fake news sites such as The Onion and ClickHole are free and very easily accessible, thus allowing it to be spread much more simply than an article from somewhere like The New York Times or Wall Street Journal.
    It’s a shame that so many people fall victim to believing in fake news, however it is very much the audience’s fault (though not as much as the writer’s fault) because anybody can easily Google the facts and confirm whether or not a claim is accurate. However, when it isn’t a shame, fake news can be perceived as humorous- which is another reason it would be spread throughout social media. An example of this is when The Onion released a news video titled “Justin Bieber Found To Be Cleverly Disguised 51-Year-Old Pedophile”. Obviously this isn’t true, but it was shared so frequently because the audience it reached found it to be hilarious enough for them to want their social circles to check it out.

  24. Madeline Myslow

    It has been estimated that the amount of information that exists in the world doubles about every 2 years. Clearly this leaves ample room for misinformation, fake news, and “alternative facts”. If a consumer of media, especially social media, is not especially tech-savvy or simply does not care to investigate, it’s very easy to fall for these fake websites. In my media ethics class last semester, I was taught certain tools that help to debunk the websites and question the credibility of them. However, there are consumers of media who do not have this training and do not take the time to fact check or question the credibility of information that pops up on their various forms of social media, and they use this information to spread the lies even further, thus leading to disasters in the media which public relations specialists must then take the time to clean up. It is hard to predict whether this cycle of misinformation can ever cease because as more people are becoming educated about identifying false news stories in the media, the sources that are creating the stories are becoming increasingly crafty in their ways of convincing consumers that their information is real. There are an increasing number of fake (and very illegal) websites created to look identical to their real counterparts, complete with logos and false copyright information which make it extremely hard to tell the real from the fake. In addition, with the amount of information we have access to directly on the internet, it’s physically impossible for any amount of organizations to regulate the false information that exists, so while there will always be real news to consume, there will almost always be an equal amount of misinformation, and that is simply the reality of the time we currently live in.

  25. Sam Bussell

    Fake news is a new phenomenon that is plaguing the outlets all over the world and we really have social media to thank for this. There used to be a time when places like CBS, NBC, CNN all used to be enough that we would never question the legitimacy of the news. But nowadays with social media sites like Twitter and Facebook everyone seems to have their own story and we can’t tell what is real and what isn’t. Things such as memes have taken over while it may be joking about news some people will take it as ammunition and use it to fuel their own propaganda.

    People will take what they see and run with it and before you know it has become a national news story. I feel like people don’t check and double check their sources just as long as its what they perceive to be the truth and nothing more. This apparent now more than ever with the presidency of Donald Trump in which the administration and media are at a war of words as to who is correct and who is false.

  26. Max Newman

    Fake news is everywhere, not just in products. World issues, specifically in the Middle East, are often misrepresented. Social media is the best platform for these articles to spread where the viewer is intrigued by pictures. No one wants to read the contents of an article because we want the simplest way to receive the information. For a example a picture of a palestinian boy throwing a stone at an IDF tank spread in 2016. The picture looked like the tank was going to keep going no matter if the boy moves or not, little does the viewer know that it is actually the back of the tank and that the little boy is following it as it drives away. This is just one example of this issue that has recently been a huge problem. We are being misinformed and the best way to take care of it is with fact checking. When in doubt check if there is another article stating the same information as well and if not then it is probably wrong.

  27. Elliot Rubin

    Fake news is damaging to both sides of the political spectrum. Twitter, one website that has been notorious in recent weeks for helping to disseminate fake news, needs to take responsibility. It is one thing to protect people’s freedom of speech, it’s another when this speech represents false, and therefore potentially dangerous, consequences. While social media has made it easier to share information than ever before, it also enables it easier for the average person, either intentionally or accidentally, to share false information. Therefore, in order to prevent the influence of these fake news stories, two things need to happen. Facebook, Twitter, and whatever other social media sites that currently have active parody accounts (of gov officials, politicians, groups, organizations, etc.) need to be shut down immediately. Additionally, as consumers of media, it is important that we fact-check all the articles we read in order to ensure that it’s accurate. Fake news could be a danger to people in communications as well as average citizens, however, if we all take the proper steps to fight it, it should hopefully be a non-issue in the near future.

  28. Nicole Lamanna

    A significant reason why people fall for the lies purported by fake news is laziness. It doesn’t take long for someone to double check a new source. As discussed in this post, there are several ways one could easily go about checking to see if a news story is legitimate or if it is indeed fake. It is the responsibility of the public to ensure that the news they’re consuming, and often times sharing, is true.

    In addition, it is difficult for a company’s reputation to come back from a scandal associated with fake news. It is unfair, however, like the story about Dasani mentioned above, it does happen. With the prevalence of social media, fake news runs rampant. It is therefore the job of a company’s PR department to deal with the fallout associated with fake news.

  29. Ben Martin

    I think that the whole idea of ‘ fake news’ is quite comical, because the term itself is an oxymoron. The job of news is to give an unbiased report of the happenings in the world in which we live. When people start taking grains of truth and mixing in opinions, fiction, and lies, the story becomes something more alike historical fiction than a report. What I find rather sad is that people either choose not to research events fully, or they simply do not care enough to broaden their knowledge of how the world around us works. We must be vigilant and try and view the world through different lenses to grasp a more complete picture of the events that take place around us and how they impact other people. Even credible sources sometimes slip up and include information provided under false pretenses, or they simply slip up; which is why as readers, we must be wary of what we choose to believe.

  30. Ben Martin

    I find the concept of fake news rather comical, because in itself, the term is an oxymoron. The job of news sources is to report the truth in an unbiased manner. When you mix ‘fake’ into the mix, there is a new breed of news that is not news at all. It is like historical fiction, or an alternate reality, the basis may be in a grain of truth, but it is elaborated and augmented until it becomes ridiculous or cynical. I also find it sad, though, that we have to be so skeptical about everything we read online. Even sources that are credible sometimes feed this ‘fake news’ because they have to report about the article that was fake, or they accidentally slip up and include information given under false pretenses.

    I remain vigilant in researching topics that I am interested in and picking up the grains of truth from each, so that I can form a more complete picture of the events that take place.

  31. Brandi Hutchinson

    I find the idea behind fake news very interesting. The fact that fake news is able to fool Americans 75 percent of the time does not surprise me. Audiences want to know about the truth but the juicier it is, the deeper the audience member is invested in the story. They tend to lose the idea that maybe the story isn’t true.

    Fake news through a public relations perspective has to be a nightmare. But at the same time you could see it as a challenge. People tend to focus on news that has an eye grabbing headline. That’s why they follow fake news. As a public relations member, you can have that eye grabbing headline but with the truth. People want the truth. Make it extremely interesting to the target audience as long as it is truthful.

  32. Sarah Hanlon

    I have been intrigued by the recent “fake news” phenomenon. Communications students are taught how to identity credible news sources, and they should be able quickly identify a fake news story. In a time when fake news plagues the internet and social media, all communications professionals must be media savvy.

    But I then realized that the average citizen does not have the knowledge that I do when it comes to identifying fake news. In a time when it is crucial to get true, unbiased and factual information, media literacy is a skill that everyone should possess. Because the internet is so crowded with misleading and fake information, one must be able to distinguish fact from fiction. The affects of fake news have been clear over the course of this election season, and we must learn how to control it before it becomes an even bigger problem in our society.

  33. Sarah Hanlon

    I have been so intrigued by the “fake news” phenomenon. As a journalism student, I (along with my peers) understand the criteria that valid, trustworthy news must meet and we generally have an understanding of how to navigate the fake news that plagues social media and the internet in general. However, I then realized that the average person doesn’t have the media literacy that communication students do.

    It is absolutely necessary for all communications professionals to be media savvy, but it is a skill that should be necessary for the average citizen as well. One must be able to identity news sources that are not credible, biased, and satirical. Especially with the recent happenings in politics, far too many people are being tricked by fake news. In a time when receiving valid news is imperative, people must be able to determine for themselves what fake news is.

  34. Michael Mastropierro

    Yes, it is the job of PR professionals to let the public know that a fake news story is in fact fake news, to minimize the damage done to their client. But, I believe it is the responsibility of the public to stop falling for fake news. We live in a world where everyone has a voice and everyone is looking to have their voice heard. Unfortunately, we cannot always believe everything we read on the internet. So, we as a society need to do a better job of spotting fake news and not giving it the attention it seeks. This is the only way to stop the fake news epidemic.

  35. Madison Wright

    Fake news websites use controversial titles so that the general population fall for them because those stories are what some people want to see. In politics, both sides have websites that use fake news to reel in like-minded people. In all honestly, the fake news industry is smart; they understand how to bring in viewers and how to keep people talking about them. Plus, because of the rise of social media, it moves quickly from person to person when people comment, like and share the videos or story on Facebook and Twitter.
    However, its not impossible to tell the difference between fake news and real news outlets. For example, if a company says they are ABC news (which there is), check the webpage. The real ABC webpage is covered with news and the logo has a sheen look to it. Compared to that, the fake website looks like it was created last minute. In addition, fake news URL’s, like the fake ABC, ends in .CO after its .com.
    Overall, it is easy to see the difference between fake news and real news. Yet, people who aren’t familiar with journalism and public relations fall for it.

  36. Samantha Storms

    Another aspect of this fake news phenomenon we see endlessly multiplying across social media feeds is the ability of such an article to affect the perception youth have on the workings of both their country and the rest of the world.

    What’s truly real and how do we differentiate it from the faulty rhetoric fake news organizations so desperately want to instill within the minds of young people growing up to be the next generation of power? Allowing such “news” to float around the online world millennials have cultivated their very lives and understanding into will prove to one of the single most devastating reality our nation faces, especially in light of all that’s to come in the next four (perhaps eight?) years.

  37. Neil A. Carousso

    So-called fake news is damaging to the reputations of individuals, companies and publications. Social media seems to have fostered the fake news phenomenon and speaks to the old cliché that one cannot believe everything that he or she sees, especially online.

    I’ve noticed that fake news is not as blatant as satirical sights that only host fake stories. Recently, Buzzfeed published a unverified dossier about President Donald J. Trump that was written as opposition research first by Republican primary rivals and taken over by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. People believe this dossier to be true regardless of its baseless claims that was not published anywhere else. The problem is that this fake story received so much attention that liberal pundits took the information to be true and used it to mock and ridicule the President-elect, at the time. By the end of the news cycle, most Democrats and people who casually follow politics, believed unproven dossier to be fact.

    Unfortunately, with the widespread use of social media, fake news stories could pop up more than one would hope, damaging the reputation of journalism. Public relations professionals must aim to be transparent to reverse the damage caused by fake news reports and prove innocence in the eyes of society.


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