Fake news has become a hot subject in recent months due to major world events like the American elections. There is no standard definition of fake news, and that is why social media site which has threatened to shut down “fake news” sites have not been able (Balmas, 2014). The definition of fake news is open for debate, and a person or organization who wants to ban the news will do so by his judgment. This essay will discuss on how news organizations and web sites frame media releases to push for an agenda.
A social worker should be able to accurately analyze new sources so as not to fall into the trap of fake news. News on policy are sensitive matters, and it can lead to disorder and chaos in the society if those who are vulnerable in the society are exposed to misinformation (Danielsson, 2013). Misinformation is prevented by gaining the skill of correctly analyzing public conversations.
On 1st May 2017, the minister of arts and the minister for employment announced that all rogue labor operators would be weeded out by mandatory licensing (Premier and Minister for the Arts & Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, 2017). The rogue operators are seen to exploit vulnerable workers in the society by low pay and poor working conditions. The policy which is to take effect in Queensland, Australia, will ensure that only agencies which are licensed are allowed to operate. ABC News, a reputable news source, ran the story of the new policy. The ABC story started with a sentence that read that 30,000 people marched in the capital to protest penalty rates in various industries (ABC News, 2017). The new article gave an example of a company which had underpaid workers for almost two months. The ABC article is filled with pictures of matching workers and wordings on how workers are being shunned.
A social worker should be able to analyze news sources critically. For the above two websites talking on the same issue, one should start by examining the titles. On the news sites, the titles were very different. The title of the ABC news is that thousands are striking. The aim of a news site is to attract readers and the wordings that the use is to ensure that many read the article. One should critically analyze certain aspects of the report before jumping to any conclusion. One should read matters of public policy from sources that seek to inform and not see to stir debate and reactions.
One should look at who wrote the article. Is it a valid source? The media statement was from honorable ministers. They are involved in policy making, and they are most likely took part in the drafting of the report. The other website is a news website, and its aim is to attract many readers by use of catchy words. The wordings in the ABC news article are meant to catch the eye of the reader and focus on the worker strikes in the capital of Australia. They first catch that they should be relied on to get policy news is that valid government sources do not write it. One should look at the writers of a statement to determine if the piece they are reading is a reported statement or an article which aims to persuade and sway one’s opinion on something.
Another piece of information to properly critique and analyze a news source is looking at the claim that an article is making. The article from the ministers aims to inform the members of the public. It does not make any claim on what the news entails. It simply states that the state cabinet has decided to issue licenses to operators so that it can ensure that they operate within the confines of the law. The ABC news article talks about how workers have suffered and how they are protesting, the news article even includes testimony from a worker. While the story from the worker may be true, its inclusion is to elicit a strong opinion and validate why they are protesting.
One important distinction when analyzing a news source on matters of policy is to ask yourself how the news make you feel. Does it make me feel angry? Does it make me feel informed? Which emotions does it stir? If you read a piece of news source on a policy which makes you feel angry toward the government, the chances are that it is not a valid source of news (Domonoske, 2016). The article by the ministers makes one feel informed. It states a policy and why the government is doing so. In the other article, one thing that comes to mind is that workers are striking all over. As a social worker, reading an article that makes you feel emotional on policy issues then the chances are the news are not from a valid source.
Popular media always have a lot of conversation on public policy matters. These issues affect the lives of everyone in a particular area, and it always elicits mixed reactions when they are released. A social worker should ask themselves who the author of this news is, which claim is this public conversation makes? Does it make me feel mixed emotions? Asking oneself such questions will ensure that you do not fall into the trap of opinionated information on policy matters. Analyzing and critiquing a public conversation with such in mind makes one skilled in information analysis. Opinionated news or fake news have real world impact, and if one is not careful, then one will end up being on the wrong end of a policy just because the original article made you feel that way.
ABC News. (2017). Crackdown on rogue labor hire companies in Queensland.
Balmas, M. (2014). When Fake News Becomes Real: Combined Exposure to Multiple News Sources and Political Attitudes of Inefficacy, Alienation, and Cynicism. Communication Research, 41(3), 430 –454. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650212453600
Danielsson, H. (2013). DOUBLE PERSPECTIVES: Multimodal degree projects and society. International Journal of Education Through Art, 9(1), 89–105. https://doi.org/10.1386/eta.9.1.89_1
Domonoske, C. (2016). Can You Tell Fake News From Real? Study Finds Students Have “Dismaying” Inability?: The Two-Way?: NPR. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/11/23/503129818/study-finds-students-have-dismaying-inability-to-tell-fake-news-from-real?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook
Premier and Minister for the Arts, & Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. (2017). Mandatory licensing to crack down on rogue labor hire operators - The Queensland Cabinet and Ministerial Directory. Retrieved May 1, 2017, from https://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2017/5/1/mandatory-licensing-to-crack-down-on-rogue-labour-hire-operators
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