Even before the coming of social media, fake news was already a staple of mainstream media content. But now with so many sources of information bombarding us from every angle, everything we see and hear has the possibility of being purely fabricated.
Any objective truth, fact, or data can be used to create fake and misleading news, just so it grows viral and touches the lives of the masses – even if the story itself is far from reality.
What is more painful to bear? An entirely fictionalized story, or the manipulation of an actual quote to create a picture that’s practically an alternative reality?
Case in point: in today’s headlines, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano was quoted by various online and mainstream media outlets to have said that “traffic is an indication of economic growth.”
But never in his actual statement during his speech at New Clark City on Oct. 17 did the House Speaker say such thing. While he did say that “traffic is also a product of your own success,” he also emphasized that the situation itself poses an opportunity for institutional reform, which can be addressed by what the Duterte admin has been pushing for: federalism.
However, his statement of celebrating progress and advocating for change was tweaked to anger a tired commuting public.
Today’s headlines are a clear manifestation of deliberate misquoting and misrepresentation, a sly but common maneuver of both mainstream and online media. If picked up by middle-tier info disseminators such as bloggers and Facebook profiles with a huge following, these misquotes can shape public opinion and brew feelings of anger and rage that are not only misplaced and unnecessary, but worse, leading to blinded judgment.
Rather than urging the public to discern these for-profit mainstream media corporations, via this move, pushes them to revolt senselessly, without even allowing them to think and make decisions based on rationality and logic.
Is this what our nation deserves? To be misguided and misinformed through sensationalization and misquotes? No.
Unfortunately, we have allowed the media to mislead us. And because of these misquotes, we’re missing out on the chance for a better future.