The media is a place that can be both good and bad. It is a place where we can see the news. But like everything else, the media needs to sell its newspapers. Ans when newspapers need to be sold, fear comes in.
I would like to start by asking a question. What would you rather buy, a newspaper talking about safety, or a newspaper talking about murder? I, like many others, would chose murder. This is why the media takes advantage of it. Why did I chose murder? I chose it because it could affect me. Everyone wants to feel safe. That's why when something like a gang or a crime is on the news, we want to know more about it. But something like fear is easy to strike in our hearts. The media often uses fear to sell their papers, often exagerating stories. Violent crime at its highest in ten years could be Violent crime has a spike after a century of lowering. Gang war in Beeston could be Gangs start around Beeston.
Things like this makes us want to buy it. The technical term for this is hyperbole- 'exaggerated statements or claims' according to the Oxford Dictionary. Across the year, you will see more and more newspapers starting to do this. Even the weekly competition ( Weekly Competition #18) wants us to be aware of hyperbole, it wants us to spot hyperbole.
And this isn't just broadsheets either either. Tabloids like The Sun and the Daily Mirror have also used this technique of selling. The Sun wrote '1,200 killed by Mental patients', but upon further inspection, this was from the 60's till today and not just last year. The Daily Mirror wrote '75 killed by terrorist in a truck' when in reality those 75 murders were not just the terrorist in the truck, but the terrorists in fourteen years. And although 75 murders in 14 years is a lot, it is not nearly as much as 75 murders in a single day. If it was, in 14 years, 373,800 people would have been killed. That is a story. And furthermore, many of the kills were not in fact kills, but were minor to major injuries.
Other papers such as 'Great Britain or Great Betrayal' and 'English Slaughter' have also been circulating and although many of the people reading this will think that these newspapers do not get many sales, in truth, it is the opposite. The Sun sold just under 10 million papers with a further 30 million read online.
How Can We Avoid This?
There are many ways we can sort the truth from the false, for example, if any value given in a newspaper about murders or crime seemes too high, it is probabl fake. If any newspaper says that England is getting less safe, it is a lie (I am sure you have seen the video stating that Brazil is 30x greater in crime). If any newspaper says that the police are not doing their part or says that the government is doing their part, that is a complete miscarriage of information.
Ways of preventing fake news before it begins are here too.
One way of preventing it is by not buying the fake news (how to find out if it is fake news is mentioned above). This would mean that the newspapers will notice that fake news is not getting sold as much as the real news and they will start to change their new
Another, easier, way of preventing fake news is by spreading the word. If everyone knew what fake news was, then there would not be fake news.
Information and souces:
(newspaper sales for the Sun)
(Definition of hyperbole)
All of the stories mention in this post can be found at
https://www.thesun.co.uk/ (The Sun)
https://www.mirror.co.uk/ (The Daily Mirror)