Within 2016, we have witnessed the full transition into journalistic postmodernity. Any semblance of truth has been comprehensively obscured. It boils down to a significant disinterest in research and accountability. The professionals of the media industry and political stage are the sole individuals who establish the narrative and fact. Fact is solely determined now by those that can boldly declare truth and obtain support for these claims by influential beneficiaries. And this regards all parties involved.

Established credibility and truth has always been and always will be a nearly impossible feat. But, the effort to continually strive for truth and fact should never fade. The basic instinct to question fact is a necessary objective for journalism and, even more, for seekers of truth.

These days the term “fake news” has unfortunately been the deciding term used to discredit sources of information. The whole concept of “fake news” is an epistemological fallacy and should immediately be deposed from its throne.

“Fake news” is as absurd of a claim as calling another individual “crazy.” It is as innocuous as calling thorough research “fake science.” It completely disregards any rational thought or procedure to obtain fact or truth. To become dependent on a few sole individuals to dictate fact from fiction is a cardinal error that centuries of the greatest minds have warned us to avoid.

Credibility can only be determined through scientific method. If you do not find the facts revealed by an article or source as credible then research must be conducted in order to support your suspicion.

“Fake news” is a knee jerk reaction. It is a completely invalid reason to disregard any source of information.

Ultimately, it is a method implemented by totalitarian regimes. Time and time again regimes manipulate the public to using broad terms of disparagement, like “fake news,” in order to solidify their perspective and to bolster their narrative. Just because many live in democratic societies, does not mean that any media source cannot be usurped by a political or corporate agenda.

All forms of media and information should be embraced. This has consistently proven to be the only way to reach a closer idea of fact or truth. If one should continue to be imbibed by the term “fake news” then by the mere declaration of its ambiguity, all news is “fake news.”

There is no way to determine what is “fake news” and what is “real news.” Everything from language, to history, and to existential thought can prove that fact and fiction cannot be derived so simply. It is careless to think that is remotely possible.

It is, in a sense, a Catch 22. Yet, conversely, by rejecting the concept of “fake news” does not mean all news is “real news” either. News is news. Ideas are ideas. Concepts are concepts. Facts are just facts. Any bit of education will support that news, ideas, concepts, and facts evolve, erode, and refine. It easy to reject another’s facts because they don’t align with your belief of true fact. But, it is guaranteed that even in the most fictional accounts of an event or idea, truth and fact are present.

Terms such as “fake news” and “real news” must be eradicated from our lexicon if we want to continue a healthy and productive debate on fact and truth.

The whole purpose of journalism is to continually question and be questioned. It makes for better news and clearer facts. It holds those being reported and the reporters accountable. Watchmen must be watched too.

“Fake news” has become so rampant that, as a free-thinker, one should immediately question why an individual or institution would use such vapid terms to perpetrate a narrative. The scope of this term being used by mainstream media sources and by politicians should be of serious concern and renounced.

If it were some ordinary person you knew saying something so irrational you’d immediately wonder what they were hiding. It is like a child saying their sibling is a liar for tattling on them for something they actually did.

These childish deflections are now the beliefs we vehemently embrace. How could it have gotten this way? Well, it’s easy. It feels good. There is a satisfaction in directly opposing another’s belief or source of information. In this way, the narcissism of our modern culture should be questioned. If we have reached a state in which we can immediately determine fact as “fake” or “real” within a brief assessment—sometimes even a quick glance—then we have abandoned the foundation of all our knowledge.

The continuation of “fake news” will forever leave us in the cave, watching shadows, as the autocrats board up the exit.