There is a crisis in the news and media today. Well, that is if what the news and media says is anything to go by. Fake News is no longer just a potential pitfall for the gullible on Facebook; it is a genuine threat to our democracy. More than that, it is now employed by those in power to cover up their own mistruths, embarrassments and illegal activities. The old leftist critiques – that the media is inherently biased in what it reports thanks to both commercial and powerful state interests – are still valid. Now, however, even the most abhorrent conflicts and tragedies have to compete with the President’s Twitter feed for airtime. Worse still, our political camps have become so entrenched that objective truths are now being contested. A few decades ago, academia suffered a crisis of objectivity. Today, the debate is public, online and in our institutions of power. And it looks like the conspiracy theorists, ideologically unmoved and downright liars are winning.
The Tribe is not a newspaper. We do not even report on the rolling news of St Andrews. Last year, as politics editor, I wanted to bring in a broad range of perspectives across the political spectrum: I wanted to give all sides an equal opportunity to express their view without allowing the publication to descend into untruths and hate-speech. This coming year, as news editor, I’ll be overlooking both the politics and perspectives sections.
I want to carry promoting the same values (how odd that knowing the distinction between objective and subjective is now a value) that I did whilst politics editor. The News section of The Tribe is, in accordance with our manifesto, a place to express student opinion and ideas. It thrives on publishing students’ subjective views and opinions, but not when these contradict the truth. We want to publish opinions that are not always popular, but not speech that is intended to offend.
It is both interesting and sad that the misuse of technology and the worst of the lies have not come from fresh-faced political types but from older people, perhaps most notably of all from the oldest man ever elected to the American presidency. In the years to come, young people will play a huge role in the safeguarding of our democracy. We want more and more people engaged, thinking about the issues and how they are presented to us. And we want you to join the debate.
Henry Roberts is our News Editor, a Modern History and International Relations student, writer and actor who you can find this August at the Edinburgh Fringe, probably in the rain.
If you would like to contribute to the News section or have any questions you can contact Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org.