Until the internet came to be, folks relied on their news from the radio, newspaper, and television. For many people, there was an unquestioned assumption as to which sources were reliable and which ones were not. “Fake news” was not a concept likely to get out into the mainstream because journalists were perceived to have certain standards to which they adhered to if they wanted to remain employed.

However, like so many other things in the world, the web has changed how news works in the modern world. Today Alternative media sources have shed new light on the agenda that has been unseen behind the large broadcasting giants. At present, anyone can publish stuff online just by setting up a website and making content for it. If it gets found and seen by someone who posts it in the right location, it can go viral. As it circulates through social media. This can create problems when people fail to check out the validity of a story, but also sets up a dynamic that forces accountability onto the larger mainstream sources. Something which they have been demonstrating a dislike for.

Because news sources are accessed from around the world and we have access to messages from those foreign locations as well, what was once a relative monopoly for the large media corporations, has now become open today independents or small local outlets. This presents the consumer the opportunity to fact check information against many different sources and find links to do in depth research if they so choose to. This shift in access to information disables the propaganda machine from setting the framework in which the “acceptable discussion” is grounded upon.

This opens up a much deeper discussion…. What is “Fake News” and who are the actual culprits here? The media giants would like us to believe that fake news is everybody but themselves. They are promoting the concepts that “fake news” is a nefarious group of independents that are doing nothing but attacking the good journalistic efforts of the new networks like Fox or Cnn. Perhaps this is true to some degree or perhaps the alternative media has gained enough credibility with the public by pointing out obvious bias in the presentation of news stories coming from the mainstream.

The reality is that it is up to each one of us to decide. If you are going to keep up with the news, it is essential that you question news sources. Investigate them and find out which ones are known to mislead. When you come across a story that seems too good or too bad to be true, don't automatically assume that it is. Instead, investigate further before you become a part of the problem.

If you don't have the time to check out news posts that come across your social media pages, don't comment on them or share with others. By doing so, you could inadvertently be encouraging this type of behavior by the fake news journalists who are just trying to make a buck or worse yet distort the truth in such a way to get people to allow an agenda that they would otherwise disapprove. Something that our history is replete with.

Also, you need to be aware of the difference between fake news and satire. There are some excellent satirical sites that explore news topics but don't actually cover any real events. Whether or not you choose to read these, know that they are legitimate companies providing a source of humor for folks and not charlatans trying to make a buck from fake news.

This trend is likely to continue to grow as the internet access becomes more affordable than ever before. Therefore, it is up to citizens like you to do your due diligence before believing any news story that you happen to see. Doing so will keep you happier and keep you from spreading lies and messages designed to get people upset rather than provide them with information about the world around them.