In the age of fake news, one thing is incredibly important to remember: just because you don’t like what the news is saying doesn’t mean it is “fake news.” The only thing that makes fake news, fake is when the reporting is filled with lies and is proven to be false.
This is important to remember now, more than ever, especially on the local level.
On the national scale, people are slandering news sources as “fake news” because they don’t like what they’re reporting. This is visible. Everyone sees this. Everyone is talking about it.
But what people might not see, because it is not necessarily as visible, are the harmful effects that come from calling a news story “misleading” and “inaccurate” just because the coverage is unflattering.
Especially when the people name calling the news source, do it from a place of power.
This happened last week at Wichita State University when the campus newspaper, The Sunflower, published a story titled “Headcount Padding: Wichita State reports largest student increase in state.”
According to the article, WSU was able to increase their enrollment numbers with a “last-minute enrollment of non-degree-seeking senior citizens, high school students, and working professionals in half-credit-hour courses.”
In retaliation, the WSU university newsletter, WSU Today, published an article entitled “Sunflower enrollment article inaccurate, misleading.”
Every day, journalists come under fire for reporting the news and just trying to do their jobs.
The Bulletin is not arguing that journalists and newspapers should not be subject to scrutiny, but arguing that news outlets should not be bashed for reporting the truth, especially when The Sunflower’s article was backed up by irrefutable facts and figures.
When a source like WSU Today, whose only job is to pump up the university and make them look as good as possible, publishes articles like this, it is a disservice to the reader and to the students.
That is why we stand with WSU’s The Sunflower. We respect and commend them for striving, as we do, to report the truth everyday.
This is why we also condemn the actions of WSU Today and any other University Public Relations department who tries to smother the truth in order to make their university look good.