The primary debate seems to revolve around who is responsible for making sure fake news is not widely disseminated.
Facebook, as the biggest media distribution system perhaps in all of history, doesn't want to get in the "censorship" business (and besides, it’s only a tech company, right?).
As a self-styled satirist, I have an intimate relationship with fake news. For example, years ago, at the dawn of the social media age, I wrote a fake news story about a guy who was so busy responding to online forums that he starved to death. The MediaPost column was picked up by other sites, with comments from readers who thought it all "tragic." Clearly, many pass-along readers missed the satire.
Publishers Daily Editor Erik Sass wants to shift the burden of responsibility to the individual, writing, "if large numbers of Americans readily believe false news content because they fail to perform the basic due diligence of an informed news consumer, then the issue is the individual’s intelligence and judgment. Readers should check the source of information or look for confirmation of sensational claims in other sources."
To which reader Benny Thomas from Crispin Porter +Bogusky responded: "Unfortunately, our biases are stronger than our rational intelligence and no one has the time to fact-check." (Since I failed to "perform the basic due diligence of an informed news consumer," I can't be sure it was really Benny Thomas or if he REALLY works at Crispin Porter+Bogusky, which may not exist at all, in spite of its catchy name).
Many years ago, I argued that consumers would eventually revert to known (branded, if you will) news properties because they had built a legacy of trust over many decades. But that was before social media became the primary source of news for an astonishing number of Americans who apparently find credibility in crap they find in their feeds without bothering, as the alleged Benny Thomas wrote, "to fact-check."
To add to the merriment, when you hold up the New York Times as a source for credible news, you get pushback from those who believe the liberal bias of the paper is reflected in its choice and handling of stories. After all, didn't the outcome of the election simply prove that the Great, Eastern, Monied Establishment Press are really extensions of the liberal democracy agenda? Which, by the way, seems to be tanking around the globe.
Meanwhile, Not My President's tweets are more evidence that you can't trust anything you read on or offline — especially, and sadly, anything from him.
My recommendation? Stay flexible. Do not corner yourself with an ideology that may prove to have an underlying agenda that will have you spouting erroneous facts and figures that are neither factual nor accurate.
Don't rely on a single source for your news, either. Each day I read three newspapers, and watch three different TV news programs — at least — plus read a ton of stories online stories, mostly from trusted sources like ProPublica (donate to them right this minute!!) the AP, Reuters, BBC, etc.
And read history. It gives you perspective.
Finally, shut up and listen to others. Value what they have to say even though you may not agree with them. Try to understand where they are coming from and how they got there.
People are complex thinkers and although they at first may sound like fascists or bleeding hearts, gently probe — and you might learn something that will challenge your own biases. Allow them to think differently, even if you are convinced they are delusional. It is not your job to change what others think.
And when presenting diametrically opposed POVs, do so knowing that you may not be heard.
Then again, if you have raised teenagers, none of this will be new to you.