Fabricated media outlets reveal toxic political biases, undermining youth today

Shea Carlberg, Copy Editor

Growing up in a completely digital era, it is easy to get caught up in the inundation of distorted media. 

Fake stories and news affect public opinion and beliefs. According to a study by Statista, Generation Z gets more than half of their news from social media outlets such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and now, more commonly, Tik Tok. Influencers on such platforms misinterpret news and thus spread rumors to their audience, becoming fabricated versions of the original story. This is concerning, as the basis of young people’s beliefs today rely on information that is often not accurate.

QAnon, an American far-right conspiracy theory, is a clear example of how fake news can be bad to the point of threatening young people today. The theory of Pizzagate led a QAnon believer to walk through a pizzeria with an assault rifle to ward off and investigate a supposed sex-trafficking scandal. His actions were propelled by misguided truths from the debunked conspiracy theory.

The left is not innocent either, as news organizations that affiliate with left-leaning beliefs tend to quickly denigrate conservatives.

“Part of the problem is the need for speed,” journalist Margaret Sullivan wrote in a Washington Post article. With so many organizations competing for viewers’ attention, it has become apparent that the fast pace of the internet tests the reliability of news coverage.

According to CU Boulder research, people who identify as being on the far left or right politically have a greater tendency to spread fake news on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. 

Biases are too often immersed in the news to become a newly-developed “truth” recounted to others. 

Oftentimes people try to place the blame on just one side of the political spectrum, when in reality this issue manifests itself at both extremes. Throughout my high school years, I have seen a similar array of people, with those who strongly align with the views they were taught as children shunning those who do not align in the same way. 

I would like to point out, though, that amidst a full-fledged pandemic, this class has become very independent, learning the ins and outs of life without a clear idea of what’s ahead. We have altered ourselves to be more altruistic and aware of even the smallest beauties of life. 

I hope with this hyperaware grasp on mindfulness, our generation also dives into the truths that stand behind closed doors and absorb the often-hidden bipartisan news of our nation and world. 

I have learned a lot through my time here at TuHS, but one takeaway I hope our class and students-to-come walk away with is that, in order to stand together, we must all be seeking the same thing: truth. And how that truth doesn’t change based on perspective, which tends to be a misconception from the media. Although we all hold our own personal beliefs, that shouldn’t draw our attention away from what is real.

We can no longer live with the constant buzz of exaggeration that makes up the media today. We must all do our part to corroborate, search and evaluate the truth in every story and every issue that arises. And only then can we become the generation of credibility.