By Ben Ramirez
At the moment it may not seem clear to many high school students that they have the power to influence elections and policies with our collective votes and voices. It is imperative to stay updated with current events so that when the time comes, we are capable of making informed decisions.
We are now in an era where fake news is constantly making ridiculous headlines, tabloid magazines, and television shows with the objective of finding the juiciest story, regardless of its validity. Local news networks are now airing the stories that give its audience the most entertainment as opposed to more important stories. With fluffed up news, knowing where to find real news is the biggest key to ensure what you read is factual.
Reliable news sources, in both print and television, are essential. Although there is a multitude of news on social media, there is no guarantee it is true. Large publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, are trustworthy outlets of information. Although large publications tend to be liberally biased, they focus on national news as opposed to small local publications.
On television, watching Fox News, Cable News Networks (CNN) or MSNBC is the easiest way to stay updated. Watching and reading the news is a good way to stay educated on current issues.
With lies circulating out of the the West Wing, truthful journalism is at a premium. As early as the day after taking office, the incoming administration has given the media what Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, calls “alternative facts.” Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, came out to the White House press pool and said that the media was at fault for leading people to think the Women’s March on Washington had more people in attendance than the inauguration.
Not only is this statement completely false, but this makes it so that the media may be fed lies through the White House, making it harder to find out what the real story is. One cannot immediately believe what they are being told until they can confirm that it is true.
In the United States under the First Amendment, the press has the freedom to say as they please, and while this is a luxury, we should not take for granted.
In the late 60s and early 70s, reporters at multiple news organizations were on the trail of a story that evolved into one of the largest scandals in Presidential history. It was the Washington Post that eventually published the story and exposed President Richard Nixon for being involved with Watergate and abusing his power as commander-in-chief.
Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the two journalists who broke the story at the Post, were among many who acted as watchdogs in politics, keeping the government honest. Like these journalists, the media today is one of the first lines of defense against projecting dishonesty to the American public, a role that everyone should take note of.
While they may struggle with getting to the truth, these men and women are our sources of information and with validation from multiple news sources, high school students need to learn to trust them.
History reveals that journalists and the media allow us stay up to date and informed about the world around us, and while it may not be as interesting as the latest scandals, there will come a time where the power of the people is in our hands. Knowing where to get reliable news is just a stepping stone, but it is a large step in the right direction to be able to read and know the truth.