Stopping a rumor in its tracks

in Opinion by
The best way to stop fake news from spreading is to check your sources on sites such as Other sources include PolitFact and Truthorfiction. (Graphic/Alyssa Herzbrun)

As certain media groups contradict each other, they prove that fake news output has grown in the past few years. These fake news articles, meant to sway people politically, sometimes fall into the hands of people who don’t further research what they see. Some people who believe these hoaxes spread the word to others through social media and, in some cases, even get violent. 

In this past year, most of the fake news posts either favor President Trump or try to pit people against him. According to the New York Times, the political world has never been more polarized than it is today. This means that most of the fake news content now focuses on politics, specifically targeting those with strong opinions about the party they belong to. And according to Stanford, many of these fake news articles spread like wildfire starts because uninformed people who get their news predominantly from social media and do not check sources. 

According to studies produced by NYU and Stanford, “More than 40 percent of visits to 65 fake news sites come from social media, compared to around 10 percent of visits to 690 top US news sites.” The study supports the popular opinion among reputable news sources, including NPR, that fake news, in some way affected the 2016 election. Within the four years of Trump’s presidency, people have written articles about Trump having a grandfather who was a pimp and being a tax evader and a member of the KKK. None of these were true. Those who supported him claimed that Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, took money from social security and used it to help impeach Trump. Also, not true. Those were just a small glimpse at the things circling on social media. 

While the number of young adults watching the news drops, fake news gains a wider reach to many voters. According to the estimates of Guess, “More than one-quarter of voting-age adults visited a fake news website supporting either Clinton or Trump in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign.” These posts either change voter minds or strengthen opinions on favored candidates.

Before we spread the rumors we want to believe, we should fact check the source we received it from. If we take a little time to search for the topic at hand, we could potentially help stop a rumor in its tracks. 

Alyssa Herzbrun, a senior at American Heritage, is in her third year of newspaper. She currently edits the opinion section of the newspaper and is a Co-Assistant Editor-in-Chief. On the weekends, Alyssa loves to volunteer at places like Broward Outreach Center, Ronald McDonald House and Feeding South Florida. Alyssa is an avid reader. Over the summer she read a book every day but school is interfering with her reading streak. She also loves to clog (not the toilet but the dance). Alyssa is looking for a great year and hopes to meet many opinionated people.