Monday, 30 January 2017

Flirting Between The Borders of Clickbait And Propaganda

There has always existed a large number of publications that released ‘fake news’, but the issue has become significantly more prominent during the period of the 2016 US elections. In times like these, where media has such an overwhelming upper hand in possessing the power to influence and inform the public, it is imperative that only verified and reliable news is published. News agencies, publications and likewise have the responsibility to speak of the objective truth and only the objective truth. Sadly, responsibility is not always legally binding.

I’m not talking about tabloid-esque fake news, the painfully obvious fake news. The fake news that does not seamlessly blend into the pool of reliable information. I’m not talking about the ones with headlines that read “ALIEN ENDORSES TRUMP” that are so boisterously fake that even plastic Barbie dolls shy away from titles like these. (FYI, this is really a headline). No, rather I am talking about the ones that not only claim to be real, but the ones that actually read like real news.

Take FOX news for example. One of the biggest news agencies in the US, one of the most watched news channels in the US too. To show you why this statistic is so ridiculous to me, let me explain that FOX Business Network once published a deceptively edited video of Barack Obama to “argue that he encouraged illegal immigrants to vote when in fact he had said nothing of the sort if you go back to the original transcript”. Those who constantly surround themselves with other, reliable sources of news (take the BBC, the NYT, CNN for example), may easily be able to recognise the fraudulent features of FOX news, perhaps even get a good laugh out of it. But what outsiders don’t recognise is that those who rely on FOX news, don’t.

This is where selective politics kicks in. Sometimes, the media can gain power by spoon feeding consumers what they want to hear. This is not to say that the media ‘spoon feeds’ its users and viewers, and those who engage with the media should be smart enough to use it merely as a source of data and information and form their own opinions from it henceforth. But a large part of media is also simply about amassing a large viewer base. (Because that’s what capitalism is - the end goal is always profit. In media, larger viewership = larger profit). It’s a simple concept, but a dangerous one. There are people, colossal amounts of people, who genuinely believe in this fake news, purely because it aligns with what they already believe in. By feeding off of what its viewers want to hear, news agencies akin to FOX News gain trust among its viewers. The rest? They don’t wanna hear it. I’ll go as far as to say some are in denial of it; refuse to hear it.

Let me reach a short conclusion. Fake news is dangerous. It’s dangerous for all the obvious reasons and so much more. By spreading fake news, one is breeding a following of people who fall victim to propaganda without realising it. 

I have always felt strongly about the wonderful influence the media can and has had on the masses. This is something that I have consistently been fascinated in, the reason I wish to pursue a career in journalism. I wouldn’t dare say that I could ever single-handedly rectify this, I can’t help that there are people out there soaking in this fake news faster than a sponge can soak up water. But I hope to work towards a new generation of journalism and media that swears by the publication of the truth.


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Selective Politics

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, but thought I would wait until I really solidified my opinions and thoughts on this topic. (You know, since politics is always controversial).

I realise that my last political post (Me Among Trump Supporters) was written in a state of major frustration, which I don’t regret, but though it was coming from an honest and truthful place, it lacked retrospect which is what I intend to provide through this post.

Politics, to a large extent, is immensely personal. Your political alignment usually represents your values, your beliefs, what rights you believe certain people should have; it represents what you think the word ‘progressive’ means to you, it represents how you wish to envision the future of the country you live in. It’s safe to say that your political views also represent your needs and wants, what you believe to be beneficial for yourself.

With that logic, it seems largely selfish of me to have so brutally bashed Trump supporters in my last post. Because the truth is, I am a member of the group coined the ‘liberal elite’. I can see nothing else but my personal wants, my personal vision of what the world should be like. I have only ever been surrounded by liberals like myself, only ever been told that to be accepting is to be progressive. This doesn’t go to say that my political views have been shaped by what I have been told, but to a certain extent my political views have been moulded by the environment that I live in - the environment that preaches equality across races, genders, occupations, etc.

It’s so easy to convince yourself that you are right if you have never attempted to explore the other side, so easy to regard the other side with disdain if you have never felt the same societal pressures as them, never experienced the same losses they have. For some time, I blamed myself for the outcome of the elections, for not ever attempting to understand the other side, for never thinking it would be eye-opening to talk to a republican, and perhaps understand why they believe in the things they do.

In a way, the intolerance that I associate the ‘far right’ to have against different races and sexual/gender identities is the same intolerance I hold for those of the ‘far right’. 

If I live by open-mindedness and tolerance as I say I do, then the only acceptable thing to do would be to approach other political views with the same attitude.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


A picturesque dinner at CHIJMES along with a(n accidental?) photoshoot session seemed appropriate to celebrate the end of college applications. Frankly, I thoroughly enjoyed writing my supplement essays. They were tasks, sure, but having the freedom to just splatter myself across a page was, to say the least, a great feeling.

Here's to a 2017 filled to the brim with exciting adventures, lifelong memories and new experiences!
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