Who Is Responsible for Content? Who Is Supposed to Figure Out the Difference Between Fact & Fiction?


What is a media company?

A media company is an entity who disseminates information in different one of many possible forms including but not limited to; print, radio, television, outdoor advertising or through social networks. For many years it cost you to get your message out to others but with the invention of the internet and social networks, you are able to get your message out for free. With the invent of the internet we opened up the world to more information but at what cost? Now everyone can be their own media company and broadcast whatever information they want with little to no consequences.

Prior to the internet if a company or individual wanted to get their message out they would need to buy advertising space in a newspaper, radio, television or outdoor media. The costs were too prohibitive for an individual to but these types of media so they were not able to get their message out to others. A company who could afford these types of advertising used it responsibly since they were spending money. The media company also helped control the message by regulating the content. They would not allow advertisers to distribute false or misleading information. So there was a system of checks and balances allowing the consumer to take the advertising at face value and have some faith in the message.

Since the internet and social networks, everyone can afford to get their message out in front of people. For little to no cost, anyone can have a web presence with a website, social networking page, blog, video content and live broadcasts. This is a big shift in the market which allows people like me to get my message out to people like you. This is a victory for the small people and companies but the larger companies still have their advantage in their favor. The consumers will follow and see them more frequently than they will see me. They will always have more money to spend on advertising and SEO than I do. But this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t still try and get my message out.

With everyone having the opportunity to get their message across we are not all playing by the same rules. The larger companies paying for space still have to be responsible and held accountable for their message but an individual can just go ahead and post something without any repercussions for their message. Sure, they might lose followers or get flagged for posting racist or misleading information but that doesn’t stop them from posting it again or somewhere else. I am all for the First Amendment and Free Speech but we need to be smarter consumers of information. We can’t just say well I saw it on the internet so it must be true.

Caveat Emptor (Buyer beware) is still true when we are not buying anything. The buyer/consumer is solely responsible for checking the quality and sustainability of the goods or information. I am sure a lot of you remember the Brady Bunch episode where Greg buys a car and his dad explains the principals of Caveat Emptor.

Is it the responsibility of the media company to check all the facts posted on their form of media or are they just presenting the platform for us to post? I guess one can say if they are paying to advertise or distribute information and the platform is receiving money then they should have some accountability for what is posted on their platform. In this day and age of instant information, it is tough to figure out what is accurate and was is misleading. But we are crossing what is news and what is advertising. Advertising has regulations on content and stipulations on false advertising like bait and switch, but news stories are different. There are the facts of a story which include who, what, when, why and where but then there are opinions. These days opinions, personal beliefs and/or company priorities become part of the stories. When this happens the stories become biased and lean in a certain direction. This is where the consumer has to be aware of where they are receiving their information.

In the worst cases, news outlets will give alternative facts or fake news. Certain consumers believe these articles and will spread them along and if they get enough traction people start to believe they are true even when there are clear facts to show they are not. If you tell a lie often enough people start to believe it including the person telling the lie.

How do we stop false information from being broadcast, the simple answer is we don’t. We do not regulate our news! It isn’t the media companies’ job to regulate news and decide what is fact or fiction. As consumers we need to ask questions and call people and companies out when they are not telling the truth. The bottom line is we need to be more educated consumers and fact check our news. We need to find a source that is going to be truthful and provide us with the 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Where, Why & How) of journalism without bias!

What are your feelings on this subject? Let me know and let us have a civil discussion.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Chuck_Blatt/2495638