Volume 31, Issue 1, Spring 2017
Fake News, False Beliefs, and the Need for Truth in Journalism
Many of U.S. President Donald Trump’s business interests—and those of his family and close associates—either conflict or could conflict with his position as the country’s top elected official. Despite concerns about the vitality of the journalism industry, these actual or potential conflicts have been reported in great detail across a number of journalism platforms. More concerning, however, are the partisan news organizations on both the right and left that deliberately sow social discord by exciting deeply polarized political tensions among the U.S. populous. Often described as “fake” news, these organizations produce reports that seem designed to create outrage among audiences instead of enlightenment. This paper draws upon social epistemology and information ethics to offer a truth-based ethos for journalism to help overcome this pernicious form of exploitation.