It was high noon when I stepped foot into the SUBO Penthouse on Tuesday, Oct. 22, unexpectedly greeted by the presence of over fifty people. All were waiting patiently for the moderator to begin, while photographers shuffled back and forth to set up props.
It took another few minutes until the moderator finally welcomed guest speaker Amanda Marcotte, a renowned writer and feminist, to speak about one of the most contentious issues plaguing America today: fake news.
Starting with President Trump’s infamous slur “fake news,” Marcotte showed us how the Donald exacerbated the erosion of trust and facticity of the general media instead of fixing it. The term “fake news” has always been easy to define and pinpoint, but its essence today is heavily masqueraded and distorted beyond the threshold of reason. On one of Marcotte’s slideshows, she laid out factors that touch base on what makes the American people soak up fake news as real. Some of these factors include foreign interference, lack of fact-checking on their own accord and their own confirmation bias.
Using examples ranging from the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s birthplace to Trump’s presidency, Marcotte explained how Trump utilized these factors among many others in his mockery and perfidy, going as far as violating the First Amendment on multiple occasions. But his actions did not go unnoticed. Pen America, an organization full of writers and literary professionals, filed a complaint against President Trump on October 16, 2018, listing his offenses:
“Initiating a government review to raise postal rates to punish the owner of the Washington Post; directing DOJ enforcement actions against media companies including CNN’s parent company; interfering with White House press access; and threatening to revoke broadcast licenses.”
In all cases, they violated the First Amendment in the clause, “prohibiting of abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
Trump’s actions also violate the concept of viewpoint neutrality. His punitive actions are specifically geared towards entities who oppose him, while those he favors are praised and glorified. This all reveals his illegal motive to consolidate power, completely ignorant and indifferent to the fact that it’s the American people who bear the casualties of his heinous acts. In addition to the fake content spilling all over the Internet, Trump makes it even harder for the American people to discern between authentic and fake sources. In order to protect ourselves, Marcotte recommends that we always fact-check the information and sources, as well as looking for biases in their content, using sites such as PolitiFact to aid our efforts.
It is clear that this is no longer an era where people can fully rely on and trust the government. For the good of all, it’s time to take matters into our own hands and uphold the narrative of truth, both for ourselves and for the future.