Isabella Capanda ‘19: On September 22, 2017, President Trump said “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say,Get that son of a b***h off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’” during his Alabama rally as a response to NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem.

NFL teams across the nation responded to President Trumps crude remarks by kneeling, linking arms, and some even didn’t come come out of the locker room during the national anthem.

And as for those NFL owners, they stood with their team. Their responses included how important it is to be united. United as a team and a country.

These are the facts. Plain and simple.

Is it not in the First Amendment where it states that it is the right of the people to have the freedom of speech, or the freedom to petition?

The players exercised these rights. How they exercised these rights is an different subject of opinion. But they had the right to nonetheless.

In the same sense, the press has the same rights as the people. And it is the responsibility of the press to make sure that whatever is printed, posted, or uploaded is credible.

As technology and social media grow, everybody becomes a reporter. With one simple search, anyone can become a journalist. By just typing in ‘blogs’ you are plagued with titles showing you how to become a blogger.

This new era of ‘reporters’ has clogged our search engines with titles such as “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to be Discontinued?” and “Did Crabs Swarm a Florida Road After Irma?” with only the intent of gaining publicity. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. promote these fake news stories, and people believe them.

“I think it was an outrage. I started crying because that candy is my go to candy when I want something sweet,” said Carlina Parrinello ‘21 regarding the fake news story regarding the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. “ I think promoting fake news stories like this is stupid and not necessary because all it does is get people worked up.”

But it’s not just social media that promotes these articles, it’s also professional news broadcasting networks that are at fault for false representation.

The Mercury News article, Washington 27, Raiders 10: Players Take a Seat, Then Take a Loss, is merely a sports summary of the Washington Redskins vs. the Oakland Raiders game played on Sunday, September 24, 2017. Being a simple summary, one would think it contains fact based statements with no room for factual errors, but that is not the case. In just the second paragraph it says, “Most Raiders players, arms interlocked and faces deadly serious, did not stand for the national anthem in a form of protest against racial oppression that took different forms throughout the NFL.” This statement implies that the players only protested because of ‘racial oppression[s]’ when in fact it was also because of President Trump’s comments at the Alabama rally.

Similar fallacies took place in headlines saying “NFL Player’s Protest National Anthem” or “NFL’s National Anthem Protests.” Titles like this are misleading because they portray the player’s protesting the National Anthem, but not all of the protesters were protesting that. People do protest the national anthem but others protest during it. Their reasons for the protests vary from racial injustices to the crude remarks made by the President.

It’s articles like these that remind us that we must fact check anything and everything we find. Even if the source seems credible, doing research is mandatory.

FactCheck.org is a great site to help with that research. It says to “consider the source… read beyond the headline… check the author” and so much more. Other fact checking sites are out there to help navigate through the muddy waters of the web.

The phrase “You can’t trust everything you find on the internet” comes to mind when thinking about fake news. In a world where everything we find is on the internet, the risk of everyone becoming a journalist is prevalent. Which is why fake news is such a big issue in this society. If everyone believes everything that they read, will we ever be able to find the truth? So next time you think about commenting on something that you read, check your sources, because you could be fueling fake news.

Sources:

http://time.com/4954684/donald-trump-nfl-speech-anthem-protests/

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000849571/article/nfl-owners-ceos-respond-to-trump-comments

http://www.snopes.com/category/facts/fake-news/

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/09/24/washington-27-raiders-10-players-take-a-seat-then-take-a-loss/

http://theinterrobang.com/200-nfl-players-protest-national-anthem-sunday/

http://www.wbir.com/sports/nfl-players-protest-national-anthem/478328700

http://thefederalist.com/2017/09/25/5-problems-with-the-nfls-national-anthem-protest/

http://www.factcheck.org/our-process/

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