From time to time, we at the Amarillo Pioneer will hear the term "fake news," or similar phrases, thrown at various stories. The term is often not just thrown at us but also at other news sources. It is very important to understand what this term truly means, as throwing it around carries some strong meanings.
First, "fake news" does not mean that a story is something you do not like. A person may not like a story, but that does not mean that the story is "fake news." Everyone (myself included) has opinions on controversial issues and when we see a story that discredits some part of our belief or shows pros for another way of thinking, it is not a fun thing to see. However, unless the story is a blatant lie, it is not "fake news."
Secondly, "fake news" does not mean that a story is something that you do not see any point in. For example, on Monday, the Amarillo Pioneer published a story about Amarillo native Ryan Palmer's antics on the golf course. The story, while it was not a truly pressing matter, did still have relevance to sports fans and fans of Palmer's golf game. Although some may have found no point in the story, that does not mean that the story is "fake news." This simply means that you did not like the story.
Often at the Pioneer, we allow candidates to respond to claims that may be made against them by opponents or the media. For example, we interviewed Matt Martindale on Monday regarding claims that an endorsement he received from Matthew McConaughey was paid for by his campaign. Martindale dispelled the rumors. In doing this article, we allowed the candidate to make his side known and to dispel any rumors that may follow him. We also did the same for Judge Rich Herman on Monday when he responded to rumors that he does not live at the address he listed on campaign reports.
The candidates' statements do not necessarily mean that the claims against them are true or false, but rather it allows our readers to make the decisions for themselves. In publishing these types of stories, we also are not validating the rumor or claim by allowing the candidate to respond but rather attempting to shed light on a subject that will or could potentially become an election issue. While if you do not like the content of such stories, you may bandy about the phrase "fake news," please remember that such stories dealing with candidates are relevant in an election season.
Truly fake news is news that has no standing whatsoever in the truth. For example, if I publish a story that says Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that required all first-born males in Texas become ballet dancers, this is fake news. Abbott never signed such a bill and there is hard evidence to prove so.
However, if I say that Representative Four Price voted against an amendment that closed a loophole allowing late-term abortions based upon disability, this would be accurate. While Price later made a statement in the House journal saying that he meant to vote for the bill, he did in fact vote against the amendment. While this story may not be pleasing to supporters of Price, it is not "fake news." It is a story that can be proven by the House of Representatives' journal.
In reading this editorial and all articles from the Pioneer, please remember what "fake news" truly is. Just because you do not like a story does not mean that it is "fake news."
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-In-Chief