[Food For Thought] Journalists Can Learn From Denzel Washington's "Fake News" Response [Written By Shae McCoy]

Just yesterday a video surfaced on social media that blew my mind. I kept seeing my followers re-post it, and initially, I didn’t think anything of it. But, something told me to watch the video and I did just that.  I didn’t expect to be blown away by his commentary on media, but I was. Washington was treading the red carpet for his new film Fences when he was approached and asked about his thoughts on the fake news. The young lady interviewing him went on and pressed her luck by asking him about a fake news story that surfaced about him in reference to his political preferences. Denzel not only answered her question but he went on to school her about media tricks and the goals of modern day media and journalists. He started by saying

If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read it, you’re misinformed.

Then he went on to support his thesis by saying

One of the effects is the need to be first, not even to be true anymore. So what a responsibility you all have; to tell the truth, not to just be first, but to tell the truth. We live in a society now where it’s just first. Who cares? Get it out there. We don’t care who it hurts, we don’t care who we destroy, we don’t care if it’s true. Just say it, sell it.

I will be the first to say that I agree with Denzel. There are a lot of media platforms around that have jobs to distribute stories that are fake and that ruin the public characters of those who are usually seen in a positive light. Nowadays news is so instant that sometimes “journalists,” and “bloggers” look at reporting media as a competition. This leads to a mass amount of misinformed people informing other people. It’s OK to be first but make sure that your information is researched and factual. That small group of bad reporters, journalists, and bloggers make others in the same field who do great work look like fools. My take away from Denzel‘s response was the very last sentence,

 Anything you practice you’ll get good at, including B.S.

I felt that, as he laughed and continued walking the red carpet. If you write about and distribute enough questionable articles, you’ll grow to think that your misinformation is actually the truth.