Author: Kathleen Chen

Bending the truth

Fake news and alternative facts in the Trump era It is widely accepted that we live in a post-truth era, in which “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief,” according to The Oxford English Dictionary. Unfortunately, this is one of the few things that we can agree on. Though politicians have a poor reputation for truthfulness, Trump’s total disregard for plausibility and consistency, coupled with people’s willingness to listen to the outspoken tone of his speech, and not its content, makes post-truth politics more dangerous. In addition, post-truth accurately describes how people respond to new information; instead of constructing opinions after conducting research, people tend to search for articles which support their existing beliefs, while dismissing those containing opposite viewpoints. This psychological bias easily applies to both ends of the political spectrum. The awareness that fake news was circulated during the presidential election, and its continued influence on public opinion, should make...

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