By ANNALYSE YGLESIAS
Many young students trust social media and the news as a source of information, but what if you can’t trust what you read? On Jan. 21, Fox News publicly announced that the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg had supposedly “died.” How can young students who depend on the news as their main source of information stay reliably informed? Can you trust what is said on the news?
Fox News put out a false statement that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away, which Fox apologized for afterward and stated that Ginsburg was, in fact, at home recovering from surgery. However, following the mistakenly aired obituary segment, “Fox and Friends” co-host Steve Doocy gave the program’s 1.5 million viewers the following statement: “We need to apologize. A technical error in the control room triggered a graphic of Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a date on it. We don’t want to make it seem anything other than – that was a mistake. That was an accident.” This incident is only one of the many reasons why people should not only fact check the information they receive, but also check the source from which it originated.
Of the sites that posted stories shortly after the error, “The David Pakman Show,” a multi-platform talk show, posted a video that discussed Fox News’ apology. “Fox News made a false report about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” began host David Pakman. “Of course, she’s 85, she has been recovering from surgery to remove cancer nodules from her lungs, she has had her fair share of health issues over the years.” Pakman highlights that, in the aftermath of Fox News’ mistake, people are wondering whether what they read from unknown sources is actually true, or whether they are being lied to yet again.
If students and children, who are more influenced by the internet than adults, trust social media and other sites prone to giving out false information, how are children supposed to trust sites that put out wrong information? Pakman further asks us to consider “what people thought when this image popped up of Ruth Ginsburg 1933-2019 on the screen identical to those images you see when famous people pass away.” There is nothing more serious than when the news and other “trustworthy” sites prove themselves to be untrustworthy. In light of this incident, Fox News should now know to be more careful with their equipment and what is broadcast on their screens to over 1.5 million viewers.
In the end, Fox News’ mistake has made the public realize just how easy it is for public speakers and nationally syndicated programs to lie or spread misinformation to the viewers, whether on accident or intentionally. Although Fox News apologized, there is still conflict between the internet and the public viewers. Students who watch and rely on the news now must grapple with the question of whether they should continue to trust what the news and social media are circulating. It is the duty of major news outlets to be exceedingly aware of what gets put out, as many viewers are likely to believe everything distributed on these networks or sources that they have deemed “trustworthy.”As well-informed citizens, we should strive to ensure all presented information is true and perhaps not accept all mistakenly aired obituary segments at face value.