What If Fake News Were A Good Idea?


GCF Global

Fake news plagues headlines across the country constantly.

Bruna Vila Artigues, Assistant News Editor

Did you know that a woman once swallowed watermelon seeds and an actual watermelon started growing inside her stomach? Probably not, because it is not true. However, my grandma believed it and told me all about it. My 12-year-old self was super amazed and surprised with the news  and went straight to my parents.

“Bruna, you know this is fake,” they said. I was upset, and I still am to this day.

Fake news has been circulating since the early 19th century. It was deliberate on intentionally sending misinformation, with a lot of sensationalism and fiction. In 1835, The New York Sun published six articles called “The Great Moon Hoax” claiming there was civilization on the moon: from oceans, rivers and forests, to biped castors, winged humanoids and unicorns.

Obviously, the circulation of the newspaper increased. I mean, why wouldn’t it? Just because it is not true?

Nowadays, fake news is everywhere, especially on social media. Facebook is a professional fake news machine. The list goes on and on and on.

“Donald Trump Ends School Shootings By Banning Schools,” “Two Altar Boys Were Arrested For Putting Weed In The Censer-burner,” “Woman Sues Samsung For $1.8M After Cellphone Gets Stuck Inside Her Vagina.”

In a sense, I understand why people use fake news. Although I am involved in the journalism world, sometimes I too get lazy about reading certain articles. I have to admit, there are occasions when I only read the title and pretend I have gone through it all. At times, they are not appealing enough at first sight. The worst part, though, is that I tend to feel good with myself afterwards thinking, “Great job Bruna, you have checked the news today!”

Now, imagine that instead of ‘New Year, New Parking System For CCSU’ (yes, that is the boring headline of one of my stories for the last issue) it said ‘Aliens Abduct A New Britain Girl During Her Lunch Break.’

I can assure you the whole school reads the story or at least the beginning, until they realize it has nothing to do with aliens. Isn’t that a pretty good idea?

We do not have to actually report fake news; there have already been enough of those throughout the last couple of centuries.

We can just twist some words and avoid the whole truth in the title just to get more circulation and viewers. The world and the news are already so sad that a little spark will not hurt.

Headlines read: “Dr. Toro Cancels School For The Rest Of The Year!”

Wouldn’t we all love to see that?

Leaving the jokes aside, journalism has lost its credibility due to all this fake news. It is so hard to tell what is true from what is not, nowadays. People are bombarded with information 24/7: on social media, walking around campus, taking the bus, watching TV.

We are so over informed that we end up knowing nothing. Fake news are actually hurting society.

Maybe we all need to do our part by reading and checking reliable sources, instead of going for what catches our eye first.

I have to say, though, the idea of starting a newspaper with false headlines is very appealing to me…