The News: Misinformation and where to find it

(Source: Ruvic, undated)

Misinformation far outweighs the real news out on the internet, and it’s been like that for almost as long as the internet has existed. From the war on Christmas to the Sigma Male Grindset, nobody is safe from modern media’s inherent ability to wrap its tendrils around you, learn how you think, and feed you more and more of that sweet, juicy content. But.. how does that affect how we get our news, and what can we do about it?

I’m not saying all news is evil, and we should go back to hearing about things by word of mouth– far from it, actually. Digital news sharing is a vital tool in global communications, and a fantastic resource. But, in the wrong hands, the news can be a dangerous and powerful force, and is not something to be taken lightly. The Anti-vaccination movement appeared because of misinformed journalists creating shock-pieces for the news (Source: Hbomberguy, 2019), and has become a major problem even today, in a world where Covid-19 is the new scary disease, having killed 20,170 people between 2020 and 2023 in Australia alone (Source: Australian Beaureau of Statistics, 2023). While not all of these people were unvaccinated, many of them could have been saved by the technology, which is still heralded by many to be the cause of their children’s autism, the death of their loved one, and a method of government tracking.

So.. how is this all allowed to exist?
There’s not a simple answer to that one, really. Some misinformation is sourced from genuine misunderstanding, some malice, some jokes (Source: Zeng, 2023). Once when they were in university, my mum convinced my dad that traffic lights were operated by monkeys. In reality, there’s not a lot you can do to distinguish the good from the bad.. on the surface level.

I access my news primarily from the radio nowadays, though I also follow a few social media sources that use parody to make the tougher things more interesting. It’s hard when you’re scrolling or listening to scrutinize who is feeding you information, but when misinformation can warp your understanding of the world and affect your actions, letting the brainrot set in will only worsen how you understand media. (Source: Zeng, 2023)

Nobody understands the social media algorithms that feed our ever-growing daily need for digital data, but knowing how they work isn’t as important as knowing what we read or listen to may not be true. The world sucks sometimes, there will be people out there with the intent to hurt you, and all of this sounds horrible, but having a little understanding of misinformation goes a long way to ensuring your and others’ online safety.

Reference list

Australian Beaureau of Statistics 2023, COVID-19 Mortality in Australia: Deaths Registered until 30 September 2023 | Australian Bureau of Statistics, www.abs.gov.au.

HBomberguy 2019, Climate Denial: A Measured Response, YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLqXkYrdmjY

Ruvic, D 2023, ‘Facebook, Instagram to Offer Monthly Subscription’, ABC News, 20 February.

Zeng, J & Brennen, SB 2023, Misinformation, Internet Policy Review, viewed 31 March 2024, <https://policyreview.info/articles/analysis/misinformation>.


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