1997 was the start of four years of research by PEJ, the Committee of Concerned Journalists leading to the Principles of Journalism. The first of which being “journalisms first obligation is to the truth”. This leads on to the idea of a free society and how journalism and the truth it holds directly impacts this.
“The central purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with accurate and reliable information they need to function in a free society.” (Menon, 2008, P.1) This idea of free society is hugely idealistic as journalism is often corrupted and the truth does not always take precedence over the want for a good story.
Fox News for example in October 2010, left behind the idea of truth and gave out false information to captivate an audience. “In the space of about five minutes this morning, Fox News turned a shutdown of the Brooklyn Bridge over a suspicious flashlight into an international terrorist threat before dismissing the whole thing like it never happened.” (Fox News’ Five-Minute Terrorist Attack, October 15, 2010). This is a prime example of journalism principles being left behind in order to give out ‘breaking news’ which in many cases like this one turns out to be false.
Another prevalent issue with fake news comes to us through todays redactional society and the birth of the internet. “The deliberate making up of news stories to fool or entertain is nothing new. But the arrival of social media has meant real and fictional stories are now presented in such a similar way that it can sometimes be difficult to tell the two apart.” (The rise and rise of fake news, 6 November 2016). Although the birth of the internet has been one of the most significant developments in the way of communication it has also opened a door to false journalism which distorts our view of society.