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Why News Journalists are Legally Allowed to Report Real News Along With Fake News

Marlene believes people who serve the public should be honest. She occasionally shares her opinion on public servant professionals.

Fake news is everywhere!

Fake news is everywhere!

All my life I relied on news journalists to feed honest and unbiased news to the public. But, for the past couple of years I have been noticing troubling conduct and conflicts between various news journalists and notable political figures. Today, I am suspicious of the "news” being reported by various news outlets. It appears that some news journalists are spreading malicious propaganda which leads me to develop a distrust of news journalists in today's world. Sadly, people I believe to be highly intelligent people rely on fake news. When they share this news they unknowingly spew more lies and rumors into the world.

Recently, I heard the president of the United States call news reporters, “The enemy of the people!” Later, he clarified that he was referring to fake news journalists, not all news journalists.

There are no legal rules for journalism. In fact, journalists have free reign to lie to the people at will. If they want to lie and spread rumors to the public, they can do so without any legal or professional ramifications. It is this fact that gives some journalists the moral freedom to spread the kind of fake news that feeds into their personal agenda.

I took it upon myself to investigate what attributes are required to be a journalist and what activities constitute journalistic professionalism. During my investigation I discovered the fact that journalists do not need a license to practice journalism. However, while there is a code of ethics outlined by the Society of Professional Journalists, there is no governing source that regulates journalists. They are free to do what they want to do. They are legally allowed to report what they want to report whether it is true or not. This led me to realize how little I, an ordinary person, can rely on news journalists to report the truth.

Unlike many public service professionals who are bound by an industry prescribed code of ethics, news reporters are not required to be held to any type of formal standard.

Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)

While there are no legal organizations that monitor news journalists, there is an organization that provides a set of guidelines encouraging news journalists to be fair, honest, and balanced when reporting the news to the public. The guidelines are not enforceable, but they suggest a minimal effort that news journalists can rely on to be formidable, upright professionals in the business of serving the public to the best of their ability.

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity.

The Society declares these four principles as the foundation of ethical journalism and encourages their use in its practice by all people in all media.

— Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics Preamble

Professional Journalists Code of Ethics

Journalists who subscribe to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics agree to these four set of guidelines summarized here:

  1. Seek Truth and Report It
    Journalists should be responsible with the information they release, not distorting the truth and using original sources whenever possible.
  2. Minimize Harm
    Consider the public’s need for the information they report and choose not to report harmful and intrusive stories, especially when such stories are for the purpose of satisfying mere curiosity.
  3. Act Independently
    Journalists’ primary obligation is to serve the people, not themselves or political interests.
  4. Be Accountable and Transparent
    Journalists should take responsibility for the news they report. They should acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently.

Should News Journalists be Licensed?

Because I am a private citizen with limited means to determine real news from fake news, I would like to see news journalists be licensed. I would like to see a legal entity created to monitor news journalists who report the news to the public. I would like to see licensed news journalists held to a certain set of news journalist industry standards. Then, I would like to see licensed news journalists who are found to be dishonest or who veer from prescribed journalistic standards be held criminally liable or fined whenever they are found to fall short of industry standards. In addition, according to the level of harm caused by dishonest news reporting, dishonest news reporters should fear revocation of their news journalist license.

Freedom of Speech

In America, we take pride in our First Amendment right to free speech.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

— The First Amendment

I believe in the First Amendment. I believe all Americans should be free to say what we want to say. I believe the press should be free to share the news at will. At the same time, I believe that the American people benefit best by having press that, along with being free, is honest and unbiased.

What About Opinion Writers?

Opinions are different. If writers want to speak freely, they should speak freely. They do not need to check facts. Writers who simply write about how they feel about a subject are not credible news sources. Instead, properly, they are referred to as opinion writers. Opinion writers are free speech writers who, truth or not, present their opinions. Opinions are merely opinions. Readers can either agree or disagree with the writer. Readers typically don’t rely on opinion writers to speak the truth.

Unlike with opinion writers, today's readers lamely rely on news journalists to report the truth.

The Fourth Estate

The idea of media reporting stems from the establishment of what is called the Fourth Estate, a term used as far back as the late 1700s. News reporters were held in high esteem and charged with keeping an eye upon our government and to report their findings to the people so that we could elect the proper officials. Some of today’s media entities seem to fall short of the ideals of journalism with regard to the Fourth Estate.

Be Conscientious About Your News Source

While some news mediums are honest and provide a balanced environment for delivery of the news, many news mediums operate from a platform that spews propaganda that supports a biased agenda. I no longer rely upon them as my ultimate news source.

Now, whenever possible, I go straight to the source. The media has become so untrustworthy that our current president, Donald Trump, bypasses the media, delivering his messages straight to the people by posting comments on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. In my opinion, it is a smart solution to making sure the public receives the pure, unadulterated truth straight from the source.

When President Trump won the election, a senior citizen friend called concerned that our social security benefits would be stripped. I encouraged my friend to stop listening to news reporters and get her news straight from the source. I recorded a sound bite of the president stating that he would NOT be eliminating social security benefits. I played the soundbite to my friend and she was humbly relieved.

The following video is endorsed by the American Association of Retired People (AARP). In this video, President Donald Trump states that he will not cut social security benefits. Listen to what he says during his campaign…

Donald Trump on Social Security

At the time my friend called me, news journalists were reporting that Donald Trump was going to cut social security benefits. It is clear from this video that Donald Trump has no intention of cutting benefits, but that does not stop unscrupulous reporters from lying and falsifying what he actually said.

Fake News is Propaganda

Although news journalists are not legally bound to tell the truth, it is not their job to spread rumors. It is not their job to tell biased stories that cater to their self-serving agendas. When news journalists are unreliable, our lives are placed in jeopardy and sometimes destroyed.

Fake news is the equivalence of propaganda which feeds into people’s paranoia and distorts their views about issues that are personal to them. They fear their needs are not going to be fulfilled by officials in authority.

When people hear and believe fake news and propaganda, in other words, when news journalists spin a story to their own false narrative without verifying the facts first, understandably, some (not all) people become disgruntled. Some people are so disgruntled they become aggressive and destructive to themselves and society. Some people relieve their aggression by engaging in rallies that sometimes lead to violent rioting. They set fires to buildings and vehicles, terrorizing the local inhabitants, and possibly destroying their livelihood.

The Source for Real News

Today, I rely only upon what I actually see and hear directly from the source. If I don't see and hear the words coming directly from someone's own mouth, I don't rely on the story being reported about it. This allows me to develop my own opinion and make decisions that work to benefit my family and me.


Society of Professional Journalists:https://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

Pew Research Center U.S. Politics & Policy/Section 1. The Core Principles of Journalism:http://www.people-press.org/1999/03/30/section-i-the-core-principles-of-journalism/

Poynter’s News University: http://www.newsu.org/courses/ethics-journalism

Dictionary.com – The Fourth Estate: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/fourth-estate

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Marlene Bertrand


Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 30, 2019:

Readmikenow, you are right. The reporting of fake news will probably not end soon. And, seeing how it has been in practice for so long, it probably will never end.

Readmikenow on October 30, 2019:

Excellent article. Fake news has been going on since there has been a source providing news. It was William Randolph Hearst who, in 1895 said: "Give me the photographs and I'll give you the war." Is believe his newspaper promoted the United States into the Spanish American War. I don't see it ending any time soon. Enjoyed reading this.

Robert Sacchi on October 29, 2019:

I'm glad.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 29, 2019:

Oh my gosh, Robert. That is a statistic that I had not realized people would take time to know. Thank you for your interest in my work. You have made me feel "accomplished."

Robert Sacchi on October 29, 2019:

Yes, about 100,000 people have seen your articles. A good voice, yes?

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 29, 2019:

Thank you Robert. I do agree with you. There are opportunities for all sorts of good writing here at HubPages. I have learned a lot of wonderful things being part of this platform.

Robert Sacchi on October 28, 2019:

You're welcome. This is a thought provoking article. The advantage of HubPages and similar sites is it gives an outlet for anyone to post news. It's all a matter of what people make of the opportunity.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 28, 2019:

Hi Robert. Interesting thought - that journalism is not a profession. There was a time, early in my college days, that I wanted to study journalism as a "profession" and then when my mom asked me why I didn't want to study for a real job, it made me think otherwise. I don't watch the news anymore because I don't know who to trust for reporting the truth. But, if there was ever to become a true news source, I might begin watching the news again. Thank you for your feedback. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Robert Sacchi on October 27, 2019:

You bring up interesting points. Everyone should keep in mind journalism is not a profession. Anyone can write a story about an event. It is tempting to require reporters to be licensed but that could be a cure worse than the disease. It would be too easy for a governing body to shut out people who report stories the governing body doesn't like. A news anchor, I think it was Frank Reynolds, once told a story of a Soviet official who told him the U.S. didn't really have a free press because if "you" praised socialism you wouldn't be on the air very long. The anchor told the Soviet official maybe but that is nothing compared to what would happen if one of their anchors praised the virtues of capitalism. The Soviet official said one of their reporters would never do that, because that would be wrong.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 26, 2019:

Yes, Deniz Tekiner, you get exactly what I am talking about. I see it so often. It's sad that people do not take more time to see the whole picture instead of just accepting what they are being delivered. It actually does not take much time to dig a little deeper for the truth. Thank you for your feedback. Have a great weekend.

Deniz Tekiner on October 26, 2019:

You make good points. I notice people often base their views on brief news clips taken out of context and reporters' questionable commentaries on them. But if you can see more complete footage not edited out of context, you can often see big disconnects between the news clips, the reporters' commentaries, and what actually happened.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 03, 2019:

Patricia, I do wish there was something that could be done about the reporters who are messing things up for the good and wholesome reporters out there trying to keep us informed. I no longer watch or listen to the news anymore because I don't have enough resources at my disposal to determine what's right or wrong. It has gotten worse over the years.

By the way, Patricia, you are such a delight. Reading your words about the Angels reminds me of how much I enjoy being at HubPages and reading your thoughtful affirmation at the end of your comments.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 03, 2019:

I agree with much of what you said and particularly the section where you state that the news should be unbiased and honest. I have gotten to the place where I honestly do not know what to believe that I see in print on the screen or that I hear on the radio. I do not know what the answer is but this is a topic that clearly needs attention Angels are headed your way this afternoon ps

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 01, 2019:

Hello Jerry. This article is not about the president. This article is about the fact that news journalists are not legally required to report the truth. Ethically, they should, but there is no law binding them to ethics. That's all this article is about.

Jerry McNicholas on July 01, 2019:

You got to be kidding! You actually believe that this American president bypasses the media to make sure he delivers the truth to the American people. he does just the opposite. he bypasses the media so he can spread his propaganda and avoid the truth. Most Journalist take extensive courses in professionalism and ethics that they're required to follow and if they resort false stories without facts that can't be backed up they can be sued. Trump attacks the truth because its his enemy. The majority of what he claims can be easily be proven to be false. Hes all about perception and not the truth. Which makes him a propagandist. An awful humane being and a president

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on March 15, 2019:

I agree along with you Nithya Venkat. Since they are virtually our eyes and ears and we are not at the scene, it would be nice if they would report the scene as it happened and not as they seem fit.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on March 15, 2019:

Journalists should be reporting the truth and not spin their own tales. I hope in the near future they are bound by laws that can hold them responsible for spreading fake news.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 11, 2019:

I do believe, like you Dream On, that the truth is a little bit of two sides. Then, the reality for us becomes not believing in anyone wholeheartedly.

DREAM ON on February 11, 2019:

I believe the truth will always come out in the end. After a while when a person keeps lying it is just a matter of time when people stop listening. Like the old story of the boy who cried wolf. Unfortunately, so many people believing the wrong thing may hurt people or carry their opinions too far. Thank you for sharing. I like to hear both sides and still wonder could the truth be a little of both sides and less one right and the other one wrong. Have a sweet night.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 19, 2018:

jerrypooboo@gmail.com, I'm not sure what you are referring to. This article does not talk about signing up for anything. Sign up for what?

jerrypooboo@gmail.com on February 19, 2018:

Is this where I sign up?

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on January 14, 2018:

Hi Patricia, your thoughts about this subject is well taken. Yes. We do need to keep our minds open and search for the truth. I love my angels! They comfort me.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 14, 2018:

Having our freedom can be a two-edged sword a catch 22 if you will. We as consumers of the print and electronic media must be vigilant in finding the truth. thank you for sharing this information to remind us to keep our eyes and minds open. Angels are on the way this evening ps

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on December 20, 2017:

Hi DREAM ON! You ask some very important questions. I don't have an answer for them. I do know some people who will tune into a different station and upon hearing a point of view that is different than their point of view, will vow never to listen to or watch that station again. I don't know what causes this in people. I like to hear all sides and then make up my own mind.

DREAM ON on November 30, 2017:

I am not a very political person. I listen to A.M. radio once and awhile and they talk a lot about what the president is doing and trying to do. They talk how other people try every day to make him look bad. People call in and can ask any question. What they say sounds right. Then again is it fake news. If it is then why aren't more people calling in and saying here are the facts and what you are saying is false. They talk about the news and the news media and how they blow up any incident to make people believe their point of view. I was looking for another opinion ? I ask other people to listen too. They don't care or can't be bothered. I don't understand. Why do people turn a deaf ear to other opinions that give possibilities ? That could be one step closer to the truth. Maybe you could help me understand? Thank you and as always have a great day.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on November 23, 2017:

Hi Stella Aligizaki, thank you for your positive feedback. Yes, only the source can tell you the absolute truth.

Stella Aligizaki from Greece on November 22, 2017:

Nice article. I agree with you. Only the source can tell you the truth!

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on September 26, 2017:

Larry, I am in total agreement with you. If a journalist is willing to explore both sides of a story, I might pay attention to him or her. But, for now, until I get a better grip on who is being honest and who is just blowing smoke up my you-know-what, I am not paying attention to news reports. Yes, I am in the dark right now as to what is happening in the world, but I also feel less stressed living without having to keep up with the "news."

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on September 26, 2017:

Hello Dream On! I use to read the Wall Street Journal and the local newspaper, but I don't read newspapers anymore. I don't even watch TV news anymore. I am at a place in life where I feel deceived by the media. I don't know who is giving it to me straight and who is just saying stuff to get the ratings up.

DREAM ON on September 26, 2017:

What newspapers or news stations do you follow and why? I grew up reading the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe and channel 5 for t.v. news. Now I wonder how biased they were and how I was led to believe lies and untruths.

Larry W Fish from Raleigh on September 26, 2017:

I will be 69 at the end of this week and in my lifetime I have seen a tremendous difference in the reported new. I grew up with Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, and David Brinkley. They were true journalists. Today with the Internet, we have every Tom, Dick, and Harry calling themselves journalists. The Internet allows any story to be circulated whether true or fake. Some of those stories you can tell without a doubt they are fake, others you have to wonder about. I often check on Snopes.com to see if some stories are true. We need to be careful about what we believe. One thing I will say that if a politician says a story is fake news, there is a very good chance that it is not fake. All we can do is be selective as to what journalists we listen to, some are one sided, extreme views to the left or right. Listen to moderate journalists that have the sense to look at both sides before they tell a story.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 17, 2017:

Hello Fiorenzo Arcadi. Thank you for your comment. I believe we should all be free to have our opinions spoken and heard. My biggest issue with journalists is that they interject their personal opinions into the reporting. I think their job is to report accurately and then let the people decide how they want to interpret what has been reported. I have no issues with opinion columnists. In fact, that's their job. I can choose to follow or not follow them. On the other hand, when I want to hear just the facts, I want a reliable source for those facts and to be honest, I feel journalists are no longer that source. That's just my opinion!

Fiorenzo Arcadi from 1592 Bloor Street West on July 15, 2017:

In the beginning as a liberal I had written a lot of great articles about Donald Trump. However after he became president he became weak and therefore I attacked him. This man as President wants to use twitter as diplomacy. In the geopolitical world he is making a big mistake. Donald Trump is advocating a multilateral world which goes against the survival of the fittest. He made the choice and now real leaders will rise against him.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 25, 2017:

Hi Audrey, I believe you are right about positive news not being as big of a seller as negative news. Like you, I would be thrilled to read more positive news.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on June 24, 2017:

I'd sure like to see more of "the good and the positive" reported. But I suppose this doesn't sell as well as all the negative that's going on. I really like this hub Marlene and will share with others.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on May 15, 2017:

Hello Dream On,

In this world, it is good to be rational and objective. We really don't know who is telling the truth and who is not. The only thing we can do right is to teach our children the same.

By the way, I am so sorry for the late response. I just moved to a remote location where internet service is a luxury. I get online only every now and then and even then, it is only for a few minutes. Thank you for your feedback. I truly do appreciate you.

DREAM ON on May 05, 2017:

What scares me the most is being an adult who has learned to be rational and objective to the news how do I explain it to children who ask who is right and who is wrong. I don't think it's a good idea to say it's hard to say, both are part right and part wrong or I really don't know. Without guidance and leadership where do the children of tomorrow end up?

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 12, 2017:

Hello Nadine, thank you for your comment. I have finally come to the point that I let people say whatever they want to say about a subject. If I can get people to look at various sources, it is all I can hope. I actually like your style. It makes me feel comfortable to share freely.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on April 12, 2017:

What a great article on what is true and what is made up. I so agree that opinions are merely opinions. That is why I share my assessments in a kind of questionable format while writing about conspiracy topics.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 03, 2017:

DREAM ON, I like how you think. I also wish there was a reliable source that would lay out a side-by-side account of stories. I wish I could find a source that would cite a story and then show how it is angled on various news stations and newspapers. Let the people decide what they want to believe.

DREAM ON on April 01, 2017:

Your article highlights some of the problems with the news today. Most people don't have the time to find out the truth. They read the local paper and take what they read as truth. After awhile we don't know who or what to believe. To bad their can't be an independent paper saying this is what we believe to be true and this is what believe to be false please leave your opinion and help us all decide. Each week different people can put their opinion for all to see. Let real people decide. So many news stations and with the Internet who knows what is true anymore. I am glad I do not have the pressures the news reporters have. If they say the wrong thing it could cost them their job. Thank you for sharing.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 26, 2017:

Hi MsDora! Yes. "Usually" news stories are labeled as such that you say, but many times they are presented as the real thing. I am on alert to read the stories halfheartedly, then do whatever research I can (with my limited means) to discern what is real and what is fake.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 26, 2017:

My dear friend, Manatita. You know me! I live here on earth now, but you know where my heart is looking to live ultimately forever.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 26, 2017:

I know that there are falsehoods being reported in a manner that resembles real news, but they are usually labeled comedy, satire or some such thing. Knowing that we can be so easily deceived is unsettling. Thanks for bring this dilemma to our attention.

manatita44 from london on February 26, 2017:

I agree. So much of what you say is true. I suppose I was just saying to keep your eyes and sixth sense open. We are dealing with humans, after all. Nature of life.

Sorry to hear about the house situation. I believe that you had problems before, no? Do your best always, but yes, rely on the Lord. Give yourself to this world as though you were always going to inhabit it; give yourself to the other world as though you were going there tomorrow. Much Love.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 26, 2017:

Hello Manatita, it is always a joy to hear from you. One of the things that prompted me to write this article is because recently, I had to evacuate from my home because my home is located downstream of a dam in jeopardy of bursting. I had to stay away from home for 10 days. The more I thought about why and how the evacuation order was given, the more disappointed I became with how the news was being reported. It didn't seem like the people were given reliable information. In fact, it finally got to a point where, because the people were being fed false information, employees began taking photos of what was actually happening and they posted those photos on social media sites for the people to see and make life-saving decisions about their evacuation situation. These employees were all fired for their effort to tell the truth to the people. It is disheartening that we really don't know for sure if man landed on the moon. I have actually questioned such things, but have no way to verify whether they are true or not. I put less and less hope in man. My faith comes from above.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 26, 2017:

Thank you for your feedback ChitrangadaSharan. It is unfortunate that what you say is so true. While researching for this article, I was surprised to see that big businesses control many of the media sources. No wonder the news that we receive is slanted one way or another.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 26, 2017:

A very relevant hub in today's scenario all around the World. Sometimes I feel helpless watching the news on television. It seems that nothing good is happening anywhere and that's wrong . There are some very good things happening all around. And I believe most of the negative things happening in the society, be it anywhere in the World is provoked by what you call as 'fake news'.

There is commercialisation of News and the big corporates own the channels . They will show what suits their own interests. There is no accountability and the reporting is often opinionated. While some would not get carried away but majority would get carried away by these news reports and that is sad but true.

Thank you for sharing this excellent and thought provoking hub!

manatita44 from london on February 26, 2017:

My Dear Marlene,

I do not wish to steal your thunder and it's a well - written insightful report and necessary for many. However, fake news or propaganda is not new and has been around for millennia in one form or the other. Governments use it internationally, organisations use it; lobbyist use it and individuals do.

While there are some sincere journalists, they too can get caught up in it and in fact most mornings they take their briefings either from governments or their own warlords. The old saying that everyone has a price is pretty useful here and journalists who do not listen to powerful people, usually end up as casualty's.

Sure enough, lots of good things are reported. But we do not know that Christopher Columbus discovered America, or 9/11 was not orchestrated nationally or that men walked on the moon. The only victory here is yours, Marlene. You are learning, as they say, to take things with a pinch of salt.

Why do the Seer keeps coming? Only to tell us that Light must descend into darkness, in order to transform darkness, as there is no other way. Let us continue ... let us continue. Great insight from you. It can only be God's victory. Glory be!

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 25, 2017:

Hello wilderness. I think you are right. It seems like "alternative facts" is the new classification for "news" reporting.

Dan Harmon from Boise, Idaho on February 25, 2017:

Thanks for this, Marlene. I've gotten so sick of "alternative facts" coming from what should be reputable news sources. It seems anymore that if the subject is political at all the "news" we get is an "opinion piece" instead.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 25, 2017:

Good for you, Eric, for trying to make a positive difference in the world. I don't like the part about how you had to go to jail for your cause. I certainly do respect you for your determination. It is true that everything we do ultimately affects someone else, no matter how large or small the action.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 25, 2017:

Thank you for your feedback, drmiddlebrook. To receive such a positive compliment from a journalist makes my day better. I am glad you recognize that I don't think all journalists are bad, just the ones who tell lies and make up stories to fit whatever moves their agendas forward. Maybe one day we will be able to see a world where all journalists report the facts, and just the facts. Until then, we just need to be diligent about sorting through and weighing the value of what we read.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 25, 2017:

Hello MartieCoetser. Indeed, the pen is very mighty. A well-placed word here and there can spark up some of the most heated debates and uproars imaginable. I hope to see the day when reporters all subscribe to a reliable code of conduct.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on February 25, 2017:

The editors of newspapers seem to have lost the ability to be neutral; they have started to use their position to promote their personal views.

Down here the enemy of the people cum friend of the corrupt sector of our government, has their own TV station and newspaper, which they use like weapons - They surely know that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Readers have to learn the difference between news and propaganda.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 25, 2017:

Marlene back in the mid seventies in a very small town my buddy and I published a weekly rag. His dad and my mom donated the backing. A public health nurse administrator and an OB-GYN. We published about suicide hotlines and where to get condemns and birth control and clean needles and abused persons help. School board shut us down. They hated us. We said "screw them we will distribute off campus. And won.

My opine pieces were accompanied my cartoons leaving no doubt. Our facts were unassailable as anything else would land us in the hoosgow as we were actually monitored by a cop car in distribution. I got arrested twice. It was cool. As the local magistrate understood free speech and was my Godfather's son. hihi.

Your humanity affects and effects my humanity so cherish it.

Sallie B Middlebrook PhD from Texas, USA on February 25, 2017:

MarleneB! You've done an excellent job with article--research, writing, layout and design. As a journalist, I know that the public has been victimized by "fake news" a lot longer than most know. Although the Internet has probably added a lot of fuel to the flames, actually, fake news (that with the intent of misleading readers/the public) has been around probably long before most of us were even born. Some of it is even recorded in history books as "history." And, as guilty as the Internet is for fanning the flames, it is probably also the reason that the public is waking up to something that has been going on so long, it is probably more of an "institution" in our society, rather than a current event. And sure, it comes in different forms, some more "yellow journalism" and salacious in nature, others more diabolical and insidious--with the intent being to affect the political landscape, to get people to support one side or another of political issues. All of it is an insult to our collective intelligence.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 25, 2017:

Thank you for your compliment, Eric. I have a daughter who works on television shows and the movies. Let me pause and brag a little... she has won an Emmy and this year nominated for another industry award. One day, she called and cried on my shoulder about how she couldn't take it anymore. She loves her job, but the news industry is very cruel in how they report "stories" to the public. Some stories are merely for the pure act of destruction. I guess some reporters never took a glance at the Society of Professional Journalists guideline #2.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 25, 2017:

I hear you, Bill. I haven't heard of the term, "influenced news," but I kind of like it. I guess instead of using the term "fake news" when referring to falsehoods, I should more appropriately say, "stories." It's not news, it is just a story placed in the news genre. I don't know, but I will continue to seek out the true stories on my own and that is about the best I can do in a world where the news may not be news, but simply another story.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 25, 2017:

Yes, Jodah. I do agree that, when reporting to the public, the truth should be told. Sadly, in all cases it is not.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 25, 2017:

Great article. Fake, Biased, Influenced, False and Misleading. One just must watch the great movie "Absence of Malice". We seem to be in a mode where public figures are not people. I have a daughter who plays in big circles in DC and I have a son who is a performer up in SF. From time to time nasty crap gets published about them. So maybe they are public figures but they are my children also. Like it or not Obama and Clinton and Trump are parents. They are not like Batman or a CIS character. They are real people. To publish something misleading and hurtful about them is to hurt those that love them.

When a headline is elevated above humanity it shows the depravity of the author.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 25, 2017:

I'm one of those rare citizens, Marlene, who investigates claims made on the news. It would be a wonderful world if everyone would do it. Fake news? I'm not sure I buy into that phrase...."influenced news" is more accurate, I believe. News stations are owned by corporations, so there is a very good chance news stories will be reported in such a way to either lean right or left of the political spectrum....suggesting something based on a new story is not the same as telling a fake story. Fox does it, CNBC does it....heck, most news agencies do it. Thus, it's a real good idea for citizens to take the time and investigate the sources.

Which is basically what you said and my way of agreeing with you.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on February 25, 2017:

Thank you for sharing this, Marlene. It is a genuine concerned that journalist are not bound by a code of ethics and that it is only encouraged. I used to be one to believe most of what I heard or read in the media..no more. Sensationalism sells and reporters seem to write so much unsubstantiated news that is often rehashed from unreliable sources. Opinion writers are a different story, but it must be made clear that these writers are only offering their opinion and not necessarily reporting facts. Newsreaders should be held responsible for reporting the truth.