A few decades ago, most of the news came from several major newspapers. At the same time, these days, the speed at which information distributes creates ideal conditions for the phenomena called “circular reporting.” The video “How false news can spread” examines this phenomenon in detail (TED-Ed, 2014). Circular reporting is the situation, when information, instead of coming from several independent sources, is taken only from the one.
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One of the examples of such phenomena is an article published on the webpage of CNN. In May 2017, CNN reported that victims of rape or domestic violence would not be able to obtain medical institutions’ help due to changes that Republicans wanted to make to the National Health Care Act (Christensen, 2017). The article claims the new bill classifies injuries sustained by victims of violence as a pre-existing condition. There are no alternative sources that the information is credible and trustworthy. Moreover, several related articles have been referred to the same topic, being issued before or after the particular report. For instance, one of them is, “The 11 states most likely to be affected by pre-existing conditions all voted for Trump” (Christensen, 2017). However, the false information was refuted by many media outlets, including The Washington Post.
CNN has been caught disseminating false information more than once. In an information-oriented society, it has become easy for actors to create and share compelling, hard-to-detect counterfeits. The reputation of professional journalists and newsrooms suffers when misleading information, photographs, videos, or information from frontmen are disseminated and republished. Due to “circular reporting,” the effect of the illusion of truth is a cognitive distortion. It is expressed in the tendency to believe in the reliability of information after its repeated perception. To maintain confidence in the media, journalists need to take preventive measures to avoid becoming victims of fakes or misinformation. Any content obtained online needs to be checked if they are going to use it or link to it in their material.
Christensen, J. (2017). Rape and domestic violence could be pre-existing conditions. CNN. Web.
TED-Ed. (2014). How to choose your news – Damon Brown [Video]. Web.