“We love, as a culture, to attack messengers when the message is something that makes us feel uncomfortable,” says journalist Wesley Lowery.
It’s no coincidence, says Wesley Lowery, that freedom of the press was one of the first things that the U.S. founders enshrined in the Constitution. It was people of that time’s ability to report on and openly discuss their situation that sparked the revolution. It became clear then that a free press is the ultimate safeguard for democracy.
Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery says the social media giant isn't excused from making responsible editorial choices just because it wishes to see itself as a technology company first.
A recent Buzzfeed investigation found that fake news stories were more popular on Facebook in the 3-month runup to the 2016 presidential election than real news stories from credible sources. The analysis showed the public's voracious appetite for sensational falsehoods. Stories like the Pope endorsing Donald Trump, or Hillary Clinton selling arms to ISIS, gathered large amounts of attention from Facebook users even though they never happened.
The shooting of Philando Castile, captured on Facebook Live, was a watershed moment because it brought technology to bear on our emotions, complicating the good guy vs. bad guy narrative.
Wesley Lowery is a national reporter for the Washington Post who covers law enforcement, justice, race and politics. He previously covered Congress and national politics. Prior to joining the Washington Post in February 2014, he worked as a breaking news and local politics reporter for the Boston Globe, and has also reported for the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. In 2014, he was named the National Association of Black Journalists' "Emerging Journalist of the Year." Follow him on Twitter @WesleyLowery.