USA TODAY College – Feb. 1, 2017
We’ve been hearing a lot about “fake news” in the past few months.
The term has evolved to mean a few different things: at first, it referenced websites that deliberately generate false or satirical content about politics and the news. Now, it’s also being used to describe news that doesn’t support one’s viewpoint.
Many people, including several celebrities, are tweeting with the hashtag #PressOn to show their support for news agencies during these times of public distrust in the media.
The hashtag began Wednesday morning, and urges the public to subscribe to news outlets in order to support freedom of the press.
L.A. Clippers basketball player JJ Redick showed off his New York Times digital subscription, saying he believes in journalism, free press and facts.
“Friday Night Lights” actress Minka Kelly called for support of journalists and said she is subscribed to the The New Yorker, New York Times and The Washington Post.
Some news outlets are also using the hashtag to gain support for their organizations and combat fake-news stigma. Since the 2016 President Election, the term “fake news” has been commonly used by the public and by President Trump.
A 2016 Gallup Poll found that America’s trust and confidence in the media is at an all-time low for Gallup polling history. The poll said some of the rhetoric and tactics used in the 2016 President Election could have affected the way the public feels about the media.
“Before 2004, it was common for a majority of Americans to profess at least some trust in the mass media, but since then, less than half of Americans feel that way. Now, only about a third of the U.S. has any trust in the Fourth Estate, a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public,” the poll found.
In addition to public distrust, several news outlets have been laying off staff and cutting back costs to account for plummeting paper sales and subscription rates, which has been an ongoing problem for print media over the past decade. So the #PressOn movement is one more show of support for a flagging industry.