A Cure to the “Infodemic”: Why Perspectives and Op-Eds can Counter the Fake News Problem
The days when social networks were dismissed as mere entertaining outlets for users are long gone. Today, these networks have become the primary medium over which we consume news, form our political identities through a significant period of exposure.
This has paved the way for the fabrication and dissemination of ‘fake news’, a type of news that is greatly inaccurate, misleading, and often politically oriented.
This can harm public discourse in both quality and direction. The Op-ed (Opposite to the Editorial) is an opinion piece with a type of content that can effectively counter this toxic spread of fake news.
All Over the Place
Producers of fake news may be anonymous, but the impact of their falsehood can be felt worldwide: influencing Presidential elections, amplifying panic during a pandemic, and instigating violence. It can also take different styles, using a variety of tools: fake accounts, public officials, organized volunteers, and bots (an automated software that interacts with and mimics human users) can all be part of the fake news army.
More so, fake news can now be found in blog posts, YouTube videos, news stories, or even manipulated images. How can this illusion of truth be countered? Perspectives and op-eds can be especially powerful. More so, they are a need.
Op-Eds as A Source of Truth
[pullquote float=”right” color=”#111″ bgcolor=”#eee”]“First hand experience, and newsworthy information are standard ingredients of proper Op-eds”[/pullquote]The power of the Op-ed in countering fake news lies in the anatomy and quality of the Op-ed content: a combination of research, first-hand experience, and newsworthy information are standard ingredients of proper Op-eds. The research provides factual support to the claims.
The firsthand experience provides originality and authenticity. Finally, newsworthiness provides relevance. Together they make an effective cure for the fake news pandemic. An Op-ed also has a clear central point, which provides focus. At a time of uncertainty and fear, the need for first-hand experience and the voice of reason echoed through the lines of an Op-Ed is ever so urgent.
Images credit: istockphoto.com
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