Jeanette Sekan
Jeanette Sekan
By Jeanette Sekan
The Cody (Wyo.) Enterprise

http://www.codyenterprise.com

We’ve been hearing the term “fake news” for some time now.

According to Webster’s, the term fake has meanings equal to imposter, imitation, counterfeit. You get the idea.

In our continual attempt to change meanings of words, in today’s lexicon it seems to mean anything we don’t like. We certainly go to odd lengths to make sure we’re not to blame or to see things only as we wish them to be. I’ve decided that this trait is terrifying for our future.

In a recent issue of “The Atlantic” there is a chilling story about some websites who are not even trying to pass themselves off as “news.” They openly admit that news and facts aren’t relevant to them.

They intend to say whatever is necessary to support their views. In fact, some sites express their sole purpose is to see “…the full destruction and elimination of the entire mainstream media.” If lying by either changing the facts or making up stories to substantiate a theory can do that, then so be it.

Regardless which end of the political spectrum one occupies, this idea should be frightening. I’m not sure it’s comforting to have what I suspected be confirmed and out in the open, or if I’d feel better if it still remained underground. Sometimes it’s easier to be one of the “see no evil, hear no evil” crowd. Being an ostrich has its appeal. But, even burying our heads can’t stop or change what is happening, no matter how we may wish it so.

Most authentic media outlets, whatever medium used and whether local or national, should be appalled and working diligently to provide us with truth and facts – whether we like them or not. I recognize I am probably in the minority on many issues today. I don’t mind being wrong about something. In fact, I’d sleep better at night if I were incorrect about some things. I also don’t mind knowing facts, even if the facts prove to be uncomfortable.

Only when we have factual information in front of us, pleasant or not, can we make informed decisions. Informed decisions can also turn out to be flawed – for a variety of reasons. But flawed due to our own proclivities is different than flawed based on incorrect or fake information that we choose to believe because it matches what we want it to be rather than what it is.

I understand that in today’s world our news has bias. After all, it’s a human enterprise. It has bias by the owner of the media conglomerate, by the advertisers, by the consumers. It has bias due to the bottom line. But I do believe that most authentic media outlets try to ferret out and present the facts. We also have entertainers posing as news people, and we gravitate to that venue for unknown reasons.

I know historically we’ve always had “yellow journalism.” I also know that we are better served with truth and facts, even if we don’t like them.

More than ever before I’m counting on the First Amendment to prevail against the frontal assaults it faces today.

Jeanette Sekan is a columnist for the Cody Enterprise in Cody, Wyo. and a former resident of Ohio. The Cody Enterprise, founded by W.F. Buffalo Bill Cody and Col. John Peake in August 1899, celebrated its centennial in 1999. The award-winning newspaper is owned by Sage Publishing Co. of Cody, Wyo. Jeanette’s columns are published in The Highland County Press, courtesy of the author and the Cody Enterprise (http://www.codyenterprise.com).