The Social Mixtape: Keep watch and be aware


Since the president was inaugurated in January 2017, the public has heard the term “fake news” uttered countless times. 

The term has been used before, notably by the misinformation and disinformation-fighting venture First Draft News in reference to inaccurate reporting in mainstream media, rather than the way that the commander in chief uses it, which is to call out news media when information that isn’t his truth is put out.

Not being reflective of fact-checking, the term “fake news” has taken on a negative connotation that has tainted the names of well-known news outlets, even going as far as affecting the reputations of their reporters.

This so-called “fake news” fits into the greater picture of misinformation and disinformation, or spreading information that is false without realizing that it isn’t factual and putting out information that isn’t correct as to deter people from truth, respectively. 

In this time, where so many are receiving their news from social media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram, it can be difficult to discern what is fact and what is fiction. 

With the recent reports about former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter conducting foreign business and the current president focusing on it during the final presidential debate, consumers of news may be having difficulty seeing the reality.

Especially being in an election season which has taken place during a pandemic, policies and etiquette around voting has been wildly unclear. 

Voters, myself included, have found themselves wondering things like: How many envelopes do I put my ballot in? Do I have to actually mail it or can I just drop it off at a drop box or polling station on Election Day? And as of recent, when is it too late to drop off my ballot?

It has been hard to be able to tell what to do because one source is saying this and the other is saying to do something else. 

These are uncertain times all around, especially considering that with a majority of the votes coming from paper ballots, it is a big question of whether or not the public will know who the next president will be on Nov. 3, which is usually marked by news outlets displaying the results of the election with great fanfare. 

Although released by an English singer in 2008, way before “fake news” was on the forefront, “The Fear” by Lily Allen is a song that explores this feeling of seeing a mixture of information. 

Masked by an outward theme of opulence and consumerism, “The Fear” paints a picture of letting the media heavily influence one’s perception of life in general and the singer’s own reality. 

Allen cleverly sings, “I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror/ I’m on the right track, yeah I’m on to a winner,” seeming to be speaking about doing self-reflection. But she is actually singing about reading the British tabloids of the same name, which have reported about her life in excruciating detail. 

In the chorus she sings, “I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore/ And I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore/ And when do you think it will all become clear?/ ‘Cause I’m being taken over by the fear.” 

She paints a picture of being presented with conflicting facts and figures — so conflicting that she is frustrated with how unclear reality is. 

Putting these sentiments up against what has been happening in the media for the past several years makes it clear that this confusion is a feeling that many still experience. 

Unless one keeps a close watch and looks to multiple outlets for information, the task of figuring out what to believe can seem like a lost cause.

As we go forward into more uncertain times, we must remember to keep reading and listening. 

It can be discouraging at times, but at least we will have more to go off of when trying to determine what is real and what is not.

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