We are not your enemy.

By the Editorial Board

The concept of “We the people” has become so common that it’s borderline cliché.

Yet it represents a fundamental model for our democracy: the government, the press and the country are to be run by the people and for the people. This extends from the White House to city councils.

An Aug. 16 column in the Boston Globe called “Journalists are not the enemy” sparked a movement across the nation in response to President Donald Trump’s ongoing accusations against journalists and the press. Since then, hundreds of newspapers across the country have joined them in proudly proclaiming that the press is not the enemy of the people. We at the Kernel wish to join by saying to the students on campus: We are not the enemy of the people. We are the people.

We are students just like you and our main objectives are to be your voice and to be watchdogs of our university.

No matter your major, if you’re devoted to being a responsible citizen in this country, you must be “a journalism person,” meaning an advocate for free press. Unfortunately, a growing trend in our country accuses journalists of being enemies of the people and the press of being “fake news,” which lowers credibility for this essential aspect of our democracy.

The term “fake news” is often associated with the current presidential administration, but the concept of fake news is old. It can be traced to the “yellow journalism” of the 1800s, an era that saw Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst publish incorrect sensational information to increase readership. Journalism ethics have come a long way since those rocky beginnings in our country, but is there news circulating today that is fake? Yes. And we want to teach you how to recognize it so you can consume news responsibly.

Research conducted by Pew Research Center in 2016 showed that just 20 percent of Americans got their news from credible, legitimate news sources. Fifty-seven percent said they preferred to get their news from TV and the internet.

The research showed that many millennials get their news from comedy late night shows and social media. While comedy shows have some merit— many comedians base their satire on facts— they also add opinions under the premise of news, which imposes on the audience a lie masked as truth. Social media is a breeding ground for tabloid sensationalism masked as news to circulate as easy as clicking a “share” button. Both outlets can quickly lead to the spread of incorrect or fake news.

We encourage you to consciously avoid relying on sensational outlets. Instead, pick up a physical newspaper that includes stories written by well-trained and objective journalists. Any site, TV show or social media post that presents facts as opinions is perpetuating fake news. Facts are not opinions; they are facts. We at the Kernel encourage you to avoid any outlet that takes this approach, or exploits tabloid-like sensationalism. As always, we will be your dedicated, objective news source on campus during your time at the University of Kentucky.