Denzel Washington schooled a reporter, and hence the news media as a whole, on the perils of "fake news."
There has been a lot of talk about "fake news" as of late, but how dangerous is this phenomenon -- which many feel is responsible for the rise of Donald Trump? Of course, you've likely seen totally bogus news stories being shared on your Facebook feed as if they are factual. It's easy to cast aside the crazies and hold oneself to a higher standard; indeed, most of us have faith in our own ability to separate fact from fiction. But should we be so trusting of such a faculty when truth is no longer the most important standard in American journalism? When it is in jeopardy of taking a backseat to expediency?
We've seen certain pundits dissecting this issue as if they're not part of the problem. It so happens that the man who has provided one of the most thoughtful and compelling perspectives on the problem of fake news is not a member of the media but one of America's finest actors: Denzel Washington.
Washington -- not for the first time -- was recently at the center of a totally phony report, one that pinned him as a Trump supporter. He was asked about the story while at the premiere of his new film "Fences," and his response totally summed up the disastrous impasse at which the news media currently finds itself.
"If you don't read the newspaper, you're uinformed," says Washington. "If you do read it, you're misinformed." "What is the long-term effect of too much information?" he then asked the Washington Post reporter, and before she could reply, he answered his own question and hit the woman with a daunting heap of responsibility: "One of the effects is the need to be first, not even to be true anymore. So what a responsibility you all have -- to tell the truth, not just to be first."
Surely the reporter wasn't ready for the thud of knowledge Denzel just dropped on her, but his message is one that needs to be heeded by all journalists, myself included.
While the state of news media looks to be in disarray, the movies don't look so bad -- again thanks to our guy Denzel. Watch him in the "Fences" trailer below.