Michael Laitman, On Quora: “How do I tell fake news from real news?“
The real news is that the media publicizes and broadcasts the news in accordance with its owners’ funding sources’ agendas, i.e., it is all ultimately fake news.
When subscribers were the primary source of news media funding, then the media was indebted to them, i.e., to the people buying, reading and watching the news on offer.
However, when media proprietors became the primary source of news media funding, with the media relying on advertisers for its sustenance, then the media serves owner and advertiser interests, blurring any authenticity that once existed in news coverage.
Today, there is widespread awareness of fake news reporting. More and more people are questioning the genuineness and the interests behind the media they consume, yet out of a lack of options, continue consuming the news from the same sources.
Yet, instead of finger-pointing at media corruption for fake news, we would be wiser if we took a moment to examine ourselves, each and every one of us that makes up society.
The media is no more corrupt than its enveloping society, which we all make up. It is, rather, a product of society’s values, influences and behaviors.
Fake news awareness is thus insufficient to reach a stage where we will have real news.
Reaching real news depends on undergoing serious introspection and realizing first that the media is no better or worse than the society it resides within—a society driven by individuals each prioritizing personal well-being over the well-being of society.
Fake news and corrupt media then become viewed as reflections of who we really are—self-centered beings who each try to benefit ourselves in life as best as we can—and such self-analysis should lead us to a pressing question:
Is this the society we really want to live in?
If it is, then fake news and media corruption should not concern us.
However, if we aspire to a society that blossoms with happiness, kindness, support, encouragement and a generally positive atmosphere, then we would need to reset our social values—to prioritize benefiting others in society over benefiting ourselves.
Such a change is easier said than done, but it is indeed doable.
It requires regularly learning about our interdependence, how we are all interconnected and dependent on each other.
We would do well to understand our interdependence from many different angles, until it starts becoming a tangible sensation, where we feel that any move we make has an impact on others’ lives.
The coronavirus exemplified our interdependence in terms of our health, how one person’s health depends on the other person following health department orders, such as the maintenance of personal hygiene, keeping a certain distance from others and wearing masks in public.
According to our interdependence, one person’s indifference, lack of concern, divisive attitudes and antipathy spreads negatively to others, sparking a harmful chain reaction that negatively affects society.
However, if we each feel our interdependence, as if we are all parts of a greater whole, then our care for our common possession would let us refrain from harming it, and instead, we would each seek how to make it prosper and grow as much as possible.
Understanding that fake news and media corruption stem from the way we each prioritize self-benefit over benefiting others in society, we can then see that nothing effective comes from blaming the news and those directly behind it for being fake.
On the contrary, if we want to change the media, we need to change ourselves and make ourselves first want to benefit society over our personal benefit.
If we continue letting ourselves be held back from improving our relations, then we can expect more fake news and media corruption emerging together with myriad other problems filling our society.
Moreover, we would see no solution in sight.
Real news would thus come as a result of self-examination and improvement of human relations.
Negative exploitative attitudes are like viruses that we infect each other with on a daily basis.
Positive change thus requires a common effort to build a positively-connected society by developing mutually considerate and responsible relations.
If we make that slight calibration in our thinking, then we will experience a completely new and upgraded world.
Above Photo: “Xenophobia” by Gideon at Flickr.