WHQR Commentary: "Fake News"

Nov 23, 2016

Guest commentator Hank Blanton is a recent graduate of UNCW's English Master's Program. He is also the guitarist for Phantom Playboys-and a yodeling instructor for the Austrian Academy for the Vanishing Arts and Sciences. That last part hasn't been verified...

WHQR Commentaries don't necessarily reflect the views of WHQR Radio, its editorial staff, or its members.

The millennial generation has received a lot of criticism lately for its reaction to the election of Donald Trump. For instance, many sources have mocked the decision of the University of California, Berkeley to provide its students with service rabbits, dark chocolate, scented candles, a full symphony orchestra play Tchaikovsky's sixth symphony and tissues emblazoned with the face of Bernie Sanders. Listeners might be shocked to hear that such an incident occurred, and I wouldn't blame them, since I completely made this incident up.

According to a recent study whose source I can't quite remember, and which I am about to grossly mis-characterize, something like fifteen to seventy-six percent of all news commentaries contain slight inaccuracies. When examined closely, such famous recent viral news stories such as the cure for cancer that Donald Trump found while vacationing in Yuba City, New Mexico, as well as Hilary Clinton's much-publicized squaring of the circle, are unfortunately completely false and unverified. However, such false news stories apparently speak to something deep within us—our deep and pervasive desire to believe stories, any type of story, rather than to put the time in to verify which accounts are true, and which accounts merely confirm what we already desperately want to believe.

The Cornell Sun reported on November 9th that 50 students engaged in a “cry-in” as a response to the election. Reading the Cornell Sun, I felt like I recognized these people. I have worked with various campus organizations both as a student and as a educator, and I volunteered both with students and faculty who were passionately committed and effective, and with students and faculty who were only at meetings to take advantage of the free hors d'oeuvres. The fact is, in ANY group of more than five people, you're going to have at least one person who's there just there to take advantage of the free hors d'oeuvres.

In the era of the Internet, we need to make our skepticism as unconditional and unbiased as our love and respect for each other should be—despite our differences, perhaps we can all agree on that. And if you are completely convinced by the rhetoric of this commentary, then maybe you need to do a little more research.