“Land of Opportunity” or a “Land of Laws”

DeportImmigration is nothing new to the social  growth and development of the United States. Almost every man, woman and child can attribute their history to an ancestor who emigrated or was brought from somewhere other that North America.  The culture shift and impact of immigrants has affected every state, Louisiana is no exception.

With president-elect Trump positioning his cabin, and ensuring the implementation of the  policies that drove his campaign, does his rhetoric mirror the truth? Louisiana’s growing diversity through immigration has put the concept of America being a “Land of Opportunity” and a “Land of Laws” at odds. Whether you are for or against  harsher immigration laws, the truth is, the contributions of immigrants to the United States will always remain.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people, ” said president-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower during is presidential announcement speech on June 16,2015.

It is estimated that roughly 64,500 undocumented immigrants live in Louisiana. This is a fraction of the 11.2 million that is estimated to live in the U.S. currently, as reported by the American Immigration Council. The AIC also concluded that immigrants are less likely than native-born citizens to engage in criminal behavior.  

NativityBetween 1990 and 2013, Crime rates in the United States have continued to trend downward, even though the illegal immigrant population swelled from 3.5 million to 11.2 million. The FBI reports that violent crime declined at a rate of 48 percent during that same time period and according to the American Community Survey, roughly 1.6 percent of immigrant males are incarcerated, compared to 3.3 percent of the native-born population.

Pie Chart records“ I don’t feel you can throw a blanket statement over a whole section of people and say “criminals”, after all the United States was built on the backs of immigrants and we are a nation of immigrants,” said writer/caregiver Richard Bryant IV, 34, of Shreveport, Louisiana.

Undocumented immigrants in Louisiana make up 1 percent of the total population, but have earned more that $1 billion and are paying $136 million in taxes, according to research by The Partnership for a New American Economy. Other key findings found undocumented workers paid $42.7 million in state and local taxes and contributed $19.6 million to Medicare and $79.2 million to Social Security.

Nearly 73 percent of undocumented workers in Louisiana have been in the country five years or more. This indicates that some form of assimilation has taken place and suggests that large scale deportation efforts are unrealistic. To conclude its report, The Partnership for a New American Economy noted that more than half of undocumented workers speak English well, very well or fluently.

Majority of undocumented immigrants in Louisiana are here to work. The workers range in age from 25 to 64 and are reported to form 86 percent of the immigration population in the state. Roughly 10 percent or 1,724 of immigrants work in the agricultural sector. Others work in construction, food services, waste management services, which includes janitors, building cleaners and ground maintenance crews.

Many immigrants come to America in the hopes of opening their own businesses. The report provided by The Partnership for a New American Economy indicates that there are about 6,378 immigrant entrepreneurs in Louisiana. That translates to a business start up rate of about 12 percent, twice the rate of American citizens.  

“I desired that my family had a better life than I had. Not experience hunger and poor living conditions due to not enough money, a dream to live and be different. I had no education and my work ethics were to labor and I just could not accept my future generations going through what I went through,” said Martin Zuniga, 54, production supervisor at Forterra Pipe and Precast in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Zuniga was awarded amnesty in 1986, when president Reagan enacted the Immigration and Control Act. The act granted temporary legal status to any unauthorized immigrants who had been living in the United States continuously since 1982. The requirement was a $185 fee and a demonstration of good moral character throughout their residency in the U.S. The act made unauthorized immigrants eligible for green cards after 18 months, provided they learned to speak English.

Reform like Reagan’s prove that it is possible for the U.S. government to intervene and change current immigration laws. The initial impact of the reform of the 1980’s was seen immediately. The additional 2.7 million, now legal immigrants, worked and helped to drive up wages and contributed positively to the economy of that era.

“I believe immigrants are for America, yes. They help small businesses. There are a countless number of small businesses across this nation employing immigrants. So the very idea of this country being a place for the immigrant is so deeply ingrained in who we are that the idea of freedom and USA are synonymous at times. I think we’ve forgotten that,” said former Shreveport, Louisiana resident Marcos Moreno, 30, high rise window cleaner, who know lives in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The passing of Reagan’s reformation led to an exponential growth of  illegal immigrants crossing the border, seeking the asylum promised by his administration. This caused the undocumented population to grow from 5 million in 1986 to more than 11 million today.

return to mexAlthough the growth of illegal immigrants can be attributed to Reagan’s policies, the numbers show that more immigrants are beginning to leave the U. S. The Pew Research Center in conjunction with the National Survey of Demographic Dynamics, both show that over 1 million Mexican immigrants have left the U.S. for Mexico between 2009 and 2014. This is believed to be due to the recent recession that affected the U.S. in late 2000’s.

How does this affect Louisiana currently? Despite the statistics that support the immigrant population, many disagree and argue that the losses due to illegal immigration are the main factor driving divisive rhetoric. According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the annual costs to Louisiana’s taxpayers were estimated at $224 million. This figure was counted before state revenue from illegal immigrants was counted. FAIR claimed that the undocumented population has leveled off and also reported the following breakdown of costs to Louisiana’s taxpayers:

  • $132 million went to education
  • $22 million to healthcare
  • $19.2 million to justice and law enforcement
  • $18.4 million to public assistance
  • $33 million to general government services

“ As a grandchild of Mexican immigrants, I’m familiar with what it takes to get here and it is incredibly difficult. Just being here is a massive victory over real dangers to life and limb. Most immigrants understand this viscerally. They know how lucky they are and cherish it. Who’s going to mess that up,” Moreno said.

Unfortunately, immigration policy seems to be frequently shaped more by fear and stereotype than by evidence, which is partly why immigrants are often labeled and treated like criminals. With our president-elect labeling immigrants as threats, the negative connotation of the illegal criminal immigrant thrives.

“ I feel that president Trump can get us all to a point of turmoil and sadness, the way he speaks lacks tremendous amounts of education and the understanding of how strong we all are. We come from the depths of deprivation, poor living conditions from another country that has a government that cares a lot less than this one,” Zuniga said.

Zuniga serves as one example of the many that cross our borders in search for a better life each year. The perseverance and fortitude necessary to make a jump into the unknown is true to the American spirit. When we can learn to successfully combine the concepts of America being a “land of laws” with a “land of opportunity”, then can America  truly be a place for “The American Dream” .   


How do we speak?

langsoc-cover“Everybody talks, but not everybody listens”. This is a statement I heard my grandmother tell me when I was young as she described me as  a  “tonto”, which means fool in Spanish. This only happened when I did not listen to her instruction of course, but as I study Linguistics this has taken on a new meaning for me. Although my grandmother grabbing me by the ear and telling me how foolish I was, is something I will not forget anytime soon. I look back and now know that she was more wise than I ever gave her credit for.

No matter what language we speak, or what accent and dialect we use, the truth is everyone speaks some sort of language. Even those who have lost the ability to speak still communicate through the use of sign language. The need for all of us to communicate in some way is essential to our survival. But, How do we automatically know what to say and how to say it? How do we learn the chain of sounds necessary to explain our wants, needs and thoughts? These are just two of the many questions that some have asked and still, the beauty that is language is constantly learned and used day in and day out without a second thought.

Language Acquisition is described, by those who study language, as the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language, as well as to produce and use words and sentences to communicate. The process of language acquisition begins as soon as the ears develop in the womb. The fetus responds to sounds and jumps to the noises made around the mother. All the sounds heard in the womb become familiar and, when born, the baby will acknowledge the voices of the mother, father, and even respond to the music most listened to during the pregnancy.

After birth, according to the essay “How do babies learn their mother’s tongue?” by Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, the challenge for language learning transitions from knowing the basic melody of the language spoken around them to finding the units in the sounds that are being used to construct words. The child’s vocabulary ultimately grows as they learn the meaning of the combined sounds that form the words of the language they will eventually speak. This understanding of new definitions, combined with the application of the language’s constructed system, will enable the child to learn how to combine words to form sentences.

Now that the child can form basic sentences, a stronger implementation of the rules and principles ( the language’s grammar) begins. This grammar can be affected by the country, region, social class and education of the parents and those who speak most often around the child. Nevertheless, the general rules of a language, for example english, will apply as he/she grows.  The learning of language coincides with Noam Chomsky’s “Universal Grammar” theory, which argues that the ability to learn language is innate, and distinctly human from all other aspects of human cognition. “The person who has learned a language has constructed a system that determines the sound meaning correspondence in the domain of that language” , Noam Chomsky, The Sound Pattern of English, 1968.

Before any child can learn language, what is it that makes humans more capable of building complex sounds in numerous combinations, in order to create the seven thousand languages that exist today? The natural biology that we are born with to create these sounds is fascinating. When you consider all of the moving pieces that must work consistently along with the cognitive ability to understand what these sounds mean is nothing short of remarkable.

The first anatomical feature that we will discuss is the Vocal-Auditory channel. This is the way humans manipulate the airflow through the vocal folds of the larynx and break the vibrating air stream into sounds of speech. These sounds are then received by the listener and interpreted through the ears. I must mention that this is not the only channel of communication, as those who use sign language use the visual channel.  If it were not for this biological ability, the society that we enjoy living in today could be totally different.

It is important to mention these features of our biology when talking about Language Acquisition. When babies are born they have all the parts and pieces they need to give them the capability to perform all the sounds of every language. Although some of the parts take time to develop, the ability to do this, along with the mental capacity to interpret this information is an evolutionary advantage. All species of plant, animal or other communicate with each other in order to ensure a more probability of survival.

It is impossible to understand speech without considering the hearing mechanism that allows us to receive speech and monitor our own speech productions. Listening is the most important skill a baby has when learning how to speak a language. In fact, even as an adult studying French, listening to the sounds of the language has helped me understand faster.

The sounds that come out of our mouths disturb the air particles characterized by compressions and refractions. These sounds are then funneled into the Ear Canal which acts as a resonator and is perfectly shaped to receive the frequencies of speech sounds.  These sounds travel deeper into the ear and are met by the Ear Drum.  In this part of the ear, known as the middle ear, the vibrations of speech meet a group of tiny bones called the Malleus, Incus and stapes, or the hammer, anvil and stirrup respectively.  These three bones work in unison and vibrate according to the frequency of speech and transfer the energy to the cochlea, which is in the inner ear. The cochlea changes the energy received into hydraulic energy which continues through the inner ear and vibrates tiny hairs that trigger neural impulses for brain interpretation. All this action occurs in fractions of a second as we speak.

With our ability to create and interpret synchronized puffs of air is nothing short of amazing. But what about those who are born unable to speak and communicate with sounds? Do the rules of language acquisition change for them?

Hearing children reportedly produce their first expressive words between 10 and 13 months of age. They then gradually expand their vocabulary to about 50 words between the 17th and 18th month of development. The rate of vocabulary growth is thought to be related to the frequency of language input that they receive.  Further studies also indicate a difference in vocabulary development between genders. This is no different for deaf children, but the vocabulary of deaf children also hinders on the effect of learning from deaf or non-deaf parents.

For deaf children with deaf parents much debate exists about what age a child will begin to express themselves through signing expressively, and thus demonstrate vocabulary acquisition. There have been reports that say that some children (both hearing and deaf) with signing deaf parents begin to sign as early as 5-9 months, which is earlier than a hearing infants first use of spoken words. Debate still exists on the data as some are believed to have reported baby babble as evidence of word acquisition.

A study of sign language production of the deaf infants of deaf parents showed that no infant was observed to sign excessively at 12 months when compared to the hearing infants with deaf parents. In addition the sign vocabulary of both hearing and deaf children of deaf parents at 18 months were similar. This study indicated that there is no delay in learning sign language between deaf and hearing children of deaf parents.

With deaf children who have hearing parents, the findings showed that they trailed both hearing and deaf children of deaf parents in vocabulary size. It also revealed that half of the group studied had no formal language at 18 months. It was concluded that this was because the hearing parents did not sign as much or as fast as the deaf parents. It is to be said that during this study much of the data obtained was marred by the inclusion of infants born with disabilities unrelated to hearing loss.

The learning of language to function as a member of a group, culture, and civilization is something that is taken for granted by many and rarely considered. Every group of people on earth have their own language, but so do certain occupations, such as businessmen, journalists, and politicians for example. You must understand the language of a profession to be proficient at executing the best performance possible. The same applies to our individual cultures and families. To be a part of anything and flourish you must learn the language.

My study of Language acquisition is something that has taken new meaning and opened the door for a deeper understanding in the way we learn.  Just as it is important for a child to listen in order to learn how to communicate, I feel that if maybe we all heed my grandmother’s advice and listen more, we may be able to learn to quelch the things that divide us most. The sources I have read show that when we are born we are generally the same and that all of the language, culture and behavior we learn is something that helps us to create our identities as individuals, who are merely a thread in the patchwork quilt of human existence.


Adamsom, Lauren B., and Mary Ann Romski. Communication and Language Acquisition. Baltimore: Paul H. Brooks, 1997. Print

Hulit, Lloyd M., Kathleen R. Fahey, and Merle R. Howard. Born to Talk: An Introduction to Speech and Language Development. Boston: Pearson, 2015. Print.

Golinkoff, Roberta Michnick., Hirsh-Pasek, Kathryn. “How do babies learn their mother tongue?” The Five-minute Linguist: Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages. Oakville, CT: Equinox Pub., 2012. 68-71. Print.

Matthei, Edward H. “Children’s Interpretations of Sentences Containing Reciprocals.” Language Acquisition and Linguistic Theory. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT, 1981. 97-115. Print.

The Human Experience

plus plus livresBooks sit on shelves stacked to the ceiling. The smell of leather and paper permeates as the books hover, intimidate and pour their knowledge into the center of an office, where Alexander Mikaberidze, professor of history and social sciences at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, types away at his desk. Here is where you will find him grading papers, updating assignments or talking to someone about everything history.

Mikaberidze engages the minds of his students and unfolds a reality to history. He tells stories of everyday people making decisions and how every choice can impact the course of history. In his own life, many of the choices Mikaberidze has made have carried the same effect. It was these moments that led him to sharing and teaching about what he knows best, the human experience.

“My initial profession was law. In fact as a kid I wanted to be an astrophysicist,” Mikaberidze said. “But, Georgia (Country) at the time didn’t have a good astronomy school. The only other option was to go to a place in Russia, and I didn’t really want to do that. So okay, if not astrophysics, then well what else, maybe law.”

Mikaberidze attended Tbilisi State University in the capital of the country of Georgia and obtained his Master’s Degree in International Law in 1999. Soon after, he began to work for the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. During this time, he mostly worked on cases involving human rights issues. It was in the same year that he decided to obtain a new book that made the claim that Napoleon was assassinated during his exile. This, he described, was a turning point in his life.

“I looked at this book online, aw dang $50! My monthly salary at the time was $7 and they weren’t actually paying me on time. So, I emailed the author and asked if he could mail me a copy,” Mikaberidze said. This whim actually paid off for him as the author, founder of the International Napoleonic Society, Ben Weider, responded and sent him a signed copy. He would later introduce Mikaberidze to a circle of authors who cover Napoleonic studies. This chance encounter led to the opportunity for Mikaberidze to write a review.

“Being a rather cocky guy in my youth, I sent it out to a newspaper in Belgium. And even though it was written, I’m embarrassed to admit, in really poor English, they actually edited it, fixed up and published it,” Mikaberidze said.

Weider read his review and was enamored. He contacted Mikaberidze and invited him to an international conference of historical studies in Tel Aviv. Mikaberidze initially turned down the offer due to is inability to afford the trip. Weider refused his dismissal and offered to pay for the trip to Israel, all while providing a per diem of $100.

“That was more than I was making a year! So how could I say no to that! I jumped on a plane and flew down there and they allowed me to give a speech at the University of Tel Aviv. After the speech, I clearly did a good job and Americans came over and said; ‘We have an offer for you to come to the United States. We will pay for every cost if you want to work in this field.’ I was like really! Every cost covered? It was at Florida State University. Of course, I jumped on the train,” Mikaberidze said.

Mikaberidze found his love for history at the age of 10 when he stumbled on a book written about Napoleon. The book followed Napoleon’s life and described his ascent to becoming the emperor of France. This intrigued Mikaberidze at a young age and is what inspired him to further his studies in the subject. Because of the Georgian Civil Wars of the early 1990s, he struggled to find copies of the books he wanted to read. In order to remedy this, Mikaberdze would copy the books from the local library by hand and built his own personal library.

“I liked reading about people and their exploits,” Mikaberidze said. “I still have those actually, notebooks full of my copied books and I studied, and the more I studied. I found that I loved the emphasis on the human experience.”

“He is certainly vivacious. He has a lot of energy! His lecturing style really brings you in,” said Christopher Pace, cell molecular biology major and history major at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.

“In order to really effectively communicate the importance of history you have to be a good storyteller,” Pace said. Storytelling is something that Mikaberidze describes as a useful tool that helps illustrate the moments in history to his students. He attributes his teaching style to the lack of taking education courses or classes in educational theory. This, he feels, benefited his animated style of teaching. Expressing and telling a good story is something that Mikaberidze finds natural.Plus livre

“Georgia has a whole culture that revolves around storytelling. My relatives will get together at the dinner table. Where Georgia is famous for the toasts, and each toast is like a story, you can’t just say cheers and drink, you have to tell a story. You have to craft it. If you focus on the human experience, as opposed to dates and numbers, students enjoy it much more. I don’t care about when or how many. It’s more of a question of why? Why should we care?” Mikaberidze said.

Many of his students speak positively about their experience and are drawn in by the way he relates the material to current events.

” I think that he would effectively be able to transport them (students) into the time and help you understand why these things happened. I would definitely recommend his class to my peers,” Pace said.

Having written and edited several books on historical studies, Mikaberidze divides time between his wife and two boys, teaching and his most current book project, ” The Global History of the Napoleonic Years.”

” Book writing is like engaging in a relationship with a person, where you are passionately in love. Then you can’t wait to marry, then it goes through its stale moments, then in some cases you start to dislike your partner, and then it ends up in a complete divorce,” Mikaberidze said. “But once you overcome it, then you look at each of the books on the shelf as a child you produced.”

His publications are in circulation with many historical societies, which has caught the attention of scholars at Cambridge University. Currently, Mikaberidze has been asked to lead a group of renowned scholars to research and write articles pertaining to the study of the Napoleonic era. He is also working diligently to finish one of four projects in the hopes of having it published by Oxford University Press at the beginning of next year.

Mikeberidze received his Ph. D in history from Florida State University in 2003 and was hired to teach at his alma mater. Soon after, he taught briefly at Mississippi State University before finding his home at LSUS in 2007.

“ As a traditional historian, you actually face challenges in finding places that welcome this kind of research. LSUS is one of the very few places where I’m given all the facilities and support that I need. It’s truly amazing to have the support of your colleagues, or if you need to go overseas for research, you can ask for institutional support and you’ll get it. I truly cannot express how thrilled I am to be here,” Mikaberdize said.Le Prof

Depending on the time of day, the clicks of a busy keyboard or an animated history presentation can be heard echoing into the hall on the fourth floor of Bronson Hall. As history writes itself daily, here is where you will find Alexander Mikaberidze who, through his own experience, shares what he knows best, the human experience.


Denial is not a river in Egypt


I stated in my first post that the spreading of lies to gain an advantage is nothing new. This kind of strategy is something that has been used since people developed complex languages and lived in more complex societies. Fake news could easily be re-phrased as propaganda and shows us that the one who controls the information is ultimately the one who has it.

Why is it that the spreading of fake news to discredit another network or to push an agenda gaining so much attention? Some suggest that the invention of social media as one of the main causes, but it seems to be much more complex. Thinking social media has had the largest impact on the dissemination of fake news is a pretty good assumption. Although, this way of thinking explains how falsities can spread quickly, it doesn’t necessarily explain why.

“ Hillary Clinton’s inner circle includes child traffickers, pedophiles and now members of a sex cult.” This is an example of a headline that circled through facebook and used the famous hashtag “pizzagate” on twitter last year. The news caught on, making the claim that somehow Clinton was linked to a sex trafficking ring operating out of the Comet Ping-Pong pizzeria in Washington D.C. The story culminated in a shooting in which  28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch fired three shots into the front door in an effort to “self-investigate”. This is just an extreme case of what the spread of fake news can do.

How did this happen? Why were people so compelled to share this post without checking to see if it were true through research and how was it that it was so easily believed by many?

Dr. Michael Shermer, author of “Why People Believe Weird Things” and professor at Chapman University points to Tribal Unity theory as an explanation. Shermer says that people are naturally social primates and must satisfy the need to belong to a group. We accomplish this by signaling to the rest of the group that we are trustworthy by agreeing with them. This wanting to belong enables us to be more than willing to spread the news that everyone else is sharing.

Another theory is the Cognitive Dissonance theory. This theory explains that everyone has central core beliefs that is essential to their individuality. Normally a person will seek and find people with similar beliefs, whether in public or on social media, and develop a sense of belonging with the group based on those essential beliefs.

When something challenges what a person believes to be true, they are less likely to adopt the news as fact even if the evidence proves the news to be factual. This scenario also applies to groups of friends who share the same system of beliefs on social media. Not only does this apply to fake news, but it also can effect real news.

This are just two examples of communication theory that point to our own instinctual behaviors as an indicator to why the spreading of fake news is on the rise. Definitely, social media has a huge impact on this phenomena as it gives more people a platform to share their thoughts, feelings and lives with anyone they choose. But, lying and manipulating people with lies has been done time and time again.

I feel that raising media literacy in our youth and those around us is essential in slowing down fake news’s impact and influence on our society. The importance of finding the truth in news is what the focus should be on. All news should be consumed equally with an inquisitive mind. In the same way we strive to give our bodies a well balanced diet, our news too, should be consumed in a well balanced way.


Things to do to identify FAKE NEWS:

Consider the source

Read beyond the headline. 

Check the author.

Ask what’s the support?


Check the date. 

Ask yourself if this some kind of joke?

Check your biases. 

Consult the experts.








CNN – “GO There, This is CNN”


If Fox News is the right leaning news source, then obviously, CNN is the left leaning liberal media news source for those who agree with their views. Some see CNN as one of the most trusted news organizations. But the truth is this network is just as capable of framing their stories in a way that appeals the liberal populace and is not without their own controversies.

Combating fake news is difficult for any journalist, let alone an entire news network. It also feels as though, in light of Trump’s proclamation that CNN is fake news, that the news outlet has attempted to be more vigilant in their pursuit of corroborating truthful information and sources.

In watching CNN, there is a definite bias that exists against Trump’s administration and other right wing views. This skewed reporting is also apparent when viewing their shows that allow guests to speak on political opinions. Although Fox News does this as well , a report  by the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University and the Project for Excellence in Journalism revealed that CNN programming tended to cast a negative light on Republican candidates by a margin of three-to-one. It is to be said that in noticing the networks framing of stories, that it is obvious that, like Fox, a renewed effort is made to keep stories factual and honest.







Fox News – “Fair and Balanced”


Fox News has long been labeled as the network that promotes conservative political positions and showcases stories slanted towards the political right, while appealing to republican party perspectives. Despite this claim by some, Fox News stands by their slogan of being fair and balanced. They have a huge following of loyal supporters who also believe that Fox provides unbiased and fair reporting. In the era of fake news, how does the network combat this problem in order to maintain trust in those who watch?

Although the framing of the stories seems to bend to appeal to a certain group, the stories and facts that the news network spreads are still held to the same professional standards of modern journalism. The news network has had many issues and controversies of late regarding the issue of fake news. The network has not really showed any changed in the way they conduct business. Except for the fact that some of the leading personalities have been released or fired due to unprofessional behavior and business practices, there has not been much change. 

After the wiretapping claim made by Andrew Napolitano, who said that the Obama administration coerced the British Government Communication Headquarters to wiretap Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The news network seems to be researching and fact checking more of their sources. The backing of CNN by Fox news host Shepherd Smith shows that not everyone is willing to spread news stories unchecked and respect the professionalism necessary to give the news with an unbiased agenda. All news should be researched and fact checked by the person that receives it. With more media outlets than ever before it is imperative that everyone practice some sort of fact checking no matter who is telling the news.





How Fake News hurts……..and maybe helps

faketruThe news industry has taken a kick to the chest. The fake news phenomena puts reporters under the microscope and nurtures the growing mistrust of the media by the public. This all sounds bad, but this could actually have a positive effect on the way news is reported.

Although the battle with fake news has many questioning if they should believe news outlets or not, one thing is certain. The vigilance and camaraderie of professional reporters has strengthened, and these are just two examples of how fake news has contributed in a positive way to news media.

Fake News has brought attention to the quality of journalism that we consume on a daily basis. It has also raised, in some circles, the level of media literacy that an individual should have when watching or reading news. This rising in awareness has also forced many professionals in media to be more thorough with fact checking. The ability to maintain an audiences trust is crucial and keeping this hinges on the delivery of honest facts.

Of course, fake news has hurt those working in news media tremendously. When a journalist makes an error it seems as though someone is ready to yell out “Fake News”. The mistake could have been an honest one, but now the reporter and the network or newsprint he/she works for becomes the target for the “fake news” label. This makes it difficult for the average person to differentiate between a credible news source and one that may be spreading lies.

Many have pointed to social media as one of the main sources for the propagation of fake news. This makes sense as many people live and interact with only those who think and feel the way they do about social and news issues. Couple that with the fact that these same sites build algorithms based on the content that you read. They then advertise and present the material you would be most interested in based on the sites you visited. This is a recipe to develop what author Eli Pariser calls ” the filter bubble“.

This “filter bubble” is viewed by some as a key cause for the spread of false information. As I mentioned in my last post, it is easier for a person to accept an untrue statement or news story given with facts, as long as it coincides with their belief. Then, when you add in the fact that they surround themselves with like minded individuals who will undoubtedly agree, then you have a scenario that develops into fake news being spread. This is the bad side of fake news that we are most familiar with.

Who do we believe? Is it the person that agrees with me 90 percent of the time, or the one that goes against me? According to the Pew Research Center, many Americans feel that the dissemination of false information has left a large portion of the population confused about basic news facts. Despite this, the citizens polled also expressed great confidence in their ability to detect fake news. Even with all this confidence the survey shows that about a quarter of the adult population have confessed to sharing fake news, whether they new it to be true at the time or not.


It can be hard to see the positive impact of an otherwise negative issue that is “fake news”, but it seems like this renewed interest in the way we consume news will bring about some of the change that we all wish for. As we become more media literate, the demand for more honesty and transparency will not only impact the ones reporting, but it will also hold those being reported on to a higher standard. Hopefully, a higher standard that will slowly become standard.



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