We the Media

Facilitated by Allan Izaguirre

The introduction chapter illuminates the evolution of how information travels. It discusses early news medias and how the internet changed how the game was played. That chapter sets the floor for the question of, what is trustworthy nowadays? Discussed in chapter 9.

Something that we all need to watch out for is the copy and pasting problem when someone quotes something. For example, if I take my Mathematics textbook and only quote a part of my equation like “Area of a circle is equal to pi” without mentioning the rest of that equation, this will end up in a catastrophe of an answer. Some people do this on purpose to stir up some controversy. An example of this in its purest form is this video of Bernie Sanders singing Power by Kanye West.

Of course you should not quote him on this, even though he said all those words, this video has purposefully left out other important things he said.

When you think of primary sourced evidence, one of the first things you might think of is witnessing an event with your own eyes. To an extent we can assume photos and videos also fall under this, primary evidence category. But can we really trust all that we see? Gillmor brings to light the evil that has sourced from the developing technology around us. “…simple cropping can remove someone who was in the original picture or it can highlight an important element in the image.” A new concern has risen due to our advancement in motion editing. With what started as a way to place celebrities’ faces into pornography, has now turned into a way to put words into someone else’s mouth.  Deepfakes analyze people facial gestures and accommodate them for others to create realistic videos. Here’s a quick reality check.

In the same way as someone can be a victim of this. A public figure can do something ridiculous and say, “Oh what, really?? There’s a video of me doing that? That has to be a deepfake.” When in fact it was them.

Gillmor then proceeds to question whether the person behind a publishing is something important to know. For example, if you read an Onion article and you were given no indication that it was published by The Onion, would you feel bamboozled for falling for such thing. But having anonymity has its benefits, people who would normally not mention certain things feel free saying them. And as seen with the deepfakes public figures can slip out of line and say something that they wouldn’t normally say and blame it on a hacker.

Gillmor mentions the pain of trolls bombarding journalistic sites. Some can guide viewers out of context and plainly just waste peoples time. In a similar way to you watching the class videos for Tuesday on YouTube and suddenly you are lured into a convincing title under your recommend list such as, “I was brushing my teeth, YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT”. Then three minute into viewing you realize that they have not mentioned anything about brushing their teeth. Those posters that are there just so that you can lose minutes off your valuable day, or as Gillmor calls them “a time thief”. I recently encountered a commentor on Instagram who’s username was “dontclickhear73″ and my instinct as a flawed human was to click on it, then on their profile their description states ” DON’T READ MY BIO”, the bio instructs you to not click on the panda, the image of the panda has tagged a user who’s name is “dontclickhere37”. There I go clicking away, then that user’s Biography says “DON’T CHECK WHO I FOLLOW” and at the end of this whole journey I just end up on a useless sponsoring page. In this case it was inevitable, I could have just followed instructions. There are cases where a troll will comment on a controversial topic and you as a defender of your beliefs will comment back and create this debate that was just there to get you and others to comment on an article which pays authors for the amount of comments their articles gets. Trolls whole purpose is to “provoke others with the intention of wasting their time and energy.” they are tough to avoid and always waiting for you to give them a shot at wasting your time.

Now comes the things harder to realize, these are the bias spins that individuals place on information to push their personal agendas. Spins can sometimes even be harmless and just something a journalist did without realizing. Others can influence masses. I would like you to check out this website, https://www.allsides.com/unbiased-balanced-news, they separate articles based on political stance upon the same event. When reading from a new source it is important to keep in mind that the authors intentions might go beyond informing you.

Now here are the real heroes of the internet, you and I. Do not trust everything you see and read online. Read other people’s comments. Run a quick fact check on their information. Don’t believe the “Corona virus cure” article, you can look up other sources and verify the validity of their argument. In addition to this there are multiple websites designated to fact checking, here is a link to Michael A. Caulfield book page on these sites, https://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/chapter/fact-checking-sites/ . In fact his whole book is worth noting as a guide to fact checking an unchecked source. https://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/

Gillmor gives us these rules which have worked for him:

  1. Do not quote/trust anonymous postings.
  2. Select sources you trust information from.
  3.  Use tools like the website I linked to find bias or read new information cautiously.
  4. Fact check their ass.

5 thoughts to “We the Media”

  1. This facilitation really brings to light the frightening truth of what we are capable of in today’s internet age. While the Bernie Sanders video is comedic in nature it does show the power of video editing. This brings to mind the events of a couple of years ago when a number of actresses had their phones hacked and inappropriate pictures were shared across the internet. As we all know once something is on the internet, everyone will see it and it is forever there. This frightened a lot of people at the realization that anyone’s private photos or messages could be revealed to the world at any time. While I may know nothing about hacking I know that this is a threat that won’t go away anytime soon and is a true downside to the benefits the internet has given us.

  2. Although this new age of technology has brought upon many concerns, such as the ones you highlighted in your facilitation, like the ability to edit any information to your convenience, I think that we must be able to look past this, and look towards the future of how we receive information. The ability to post your own information is flawed today, but I think that in a very near future, it will provide a lot of support to processing information. As Gilmour states that journalism will go from a lecture ideal, to more of a conversation (Gilmour) which I believe will further the points being made as many different perspectives will be seen. New voices will be heard, and not as many media conglomerates will takeover and control how we receive our news sources.

  3. I thought this facilitation did a good job mentioning all the things people are capable of creating on their own these days. Video editing software is, for the most part, very accessible these days. Nearly anyone with enough experience can replicate something of similar quality to the Bernie Sanders video above. I also liked how you mentioned deepfakes. With this technology just recently becoming more popularized, we really haven’t seen how far that technology can be exploited yet.

  4. Modern day news is in more of a complex situation than most people care to understand. While typical news stations still exist on TV, radio, etc., a lot more people are getting their news solely from social media posts, such as Facebook or Twitter. This can lead to a variety of issues alongside the possibilities of edited voices, false quotes, or rumors in the news. With the huge mix of where people get their news, a large part of the population probably has no idea where to find reliable, unbiased news. “. . . technology has given us a communications toolkit that allows anyone to become a journalist at little cost and, in theory, with global reach,” (Gillmor, 2004). As time goes on and technology continues to advance, it’s becoming more and more difficult to sift through the clutter of news sources. Information in todays’ world spreads like wildfires. The entire world (well, those with internet access) becomes aware of major events within hours. As Gillmor highlights, news is becoming less of a listening topic and more of a discussion topic. With this shift, the population as a whole will need to become skeptical of anything they read or hear.

  5. [Posted for Ashley Elliott]

    I really enjoyed how this facilitation emphasized both consequences of a “deep fake” scenario. As stated, what is trustworthy and how do “deep fakes” manipulate our eyes? In one case, motion editing can persuade the viewer that a character is saying something that they wouldn’t normally say. Furthermore, a deep fake can be used as a cover up. If an individual says something they regret, they can blame it on the hacker. One example that came to my mind is picture editing. As social media becomes increasingly necessary and popular in our culture, so does extreme editing. Specifically, we can smooth out our face, brighten our teeth, and even contort our body into a shape that is deemed socially acceptable. By doing this, viewers potentially see two different people: the picture-perfect edited version and the real life semi flawed version. On Instagram users also tend to erase photos after posting them, re-edit them when they see something they didn’t like, and then post the newly edited photo again explaining that “Instagram took my picture down”.

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