In his new book, After the Fact: The Erosion of Truth and the Inevitable Rise of Donald Trump, Saline Michigan native, Eastern Michigan University alumnus, and USA Today business reporter Nathan Bomey writes that “Donald Trump did not usher the post-fact era into existence. He was a product of it. He was its inevitable outcome."
“There is a constellation of factors that has led us to a point where it’s getting harder and harder to sort facts from fiction,” Bomey tells Kirk Heinze on MSU Today. “And unfortunately I see it getting worse before it gets better.”
He talks about how social media impacts this trend by allowing a person to seek out and consume only the information he or she wants to find. People never have to be challenged by alternative viewpoints if they don’t want to be. He says Google and Facebook make it easy for us to avoid information we don’t want to see.
“It’s a good thing to confront material that contradicts your beliefs,” he says. “Journalism has a responsibility to keep people focused on news that matters, not just news they want to know, but news they need to know.”
Bomey says education can play a key role in getting us through and beyond the post-fact era, beginning in the K-12 system.
“It’s important for educators to teach critical thinking skills but also to understand that students have to be lifelong learners and have to immerse themselves in controversial information and help them to sort through it and question it. I really believe educators can do a good job of training people on journalism principles.
“I don’t think we should expect everyone to become a journalist. But I think we can expect people to understand the basic principles of journalism because that’s what they’re going to need to sort through this post-fact era.
“We need great journalism now more than ever.”
MSU Today airs Sunday afternoons at 4:00 on 105.1 FM and AM 870.