Diverse views needed to fight fake news

PHOTO: ST FILE
PHOTO: ST FILE

As more people turn to non-mainstream online news portals as their source of news, they have come to realise that online news tends to be more sensational and gimmicky to catch eyeballs, but is less reliable (Panel discusses role of ST, Zaobao in fake news fight; March 16).

Online sources offering alternative viewpoints often criticise mainstream media, because that serves their purpose of reinforcing the idea that their fake news is real.

It is a tactic that is failing.

Mainstream media is more dependable as articles must not only be deemed relevant, but must be checked against other reputable sources before being published.

This procedure applies to not only articles written by professional journalists but also the letters contributed by readers to the Forum page in The Straits Times.

Still, some readers find the mainstream media lacking in nuanced and multi-angled interpretations.

In the United States, different newspapers controlled separately by Democrats and Republicans can publish the same set of data but with opposing conclusions.

The diversity of views allows an analytical reader to make an informed judgment on issues.

In Singapore, The Straits Times is the predominant English-language newspaper.

A diversity of views, a balance of opposing viewpoints argued cogently and rationally, and a consideration of complex issues from all political angles by people in and out of the Government is what our dominant English newspaper needs.

Variety always improves breeding. So, to increase its credibility, our mainstream media must not commit the sin of omission.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2018, with the headline 'Diverse views needed to fight fake news'. Print Edition | Subscribe