Erika Hathaway
Dr. Coleman
AP English 4 Language
March 31st, 2017
Playing Emotional Telephone:
The Relationship Between Diction in Fake News & Readers’ Reactions
Popular throughout the world, “Telephone” is a game where one person creates a sentence, whispers it to another person’s ear, and then that person to another, until every corner of the world has been reached. Communication of news has always been a large-scale version of “telephone” – made more complex and weighted by social media. By the end, the initial truth has become a large and distorted lie – simply an opinion of the fact. This, is, essentially, a more innocent version of fake news.
More specifically, fake news by definition are news articles that are intentionally fabricated and made available to the public. In modern day society, the problem is not only an issue simply because of misinformation: rather, it also shapes our culture and the culture of the people in a twistedly unwanted way.
Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill recognized the power of words. It is no surprise then, that vocabulary, or diction, alter the way people think, and in the responses to diction used in fake news articles, the effect on large scale culture of people and their beliefs are revealed.
In any work of literature, diction can be categorized. [Insert study] [Block quote from study published on a Journal].
As is with any persuasive article, successful fake news utilize choice words that benefit their argument. For example, take a look at the top fake news articles by popularity in 2016.
[Article 1 Title]
[Article 2 Title]
[Article 3 Title]
[Article 4 Title]
[Article 5 Title]
They all contain terms such as [Vocab 1][Vocab 2][Vocab 3], which are considered [characteristic by English Dictionary Source].
Now to dive in even deeper, let us look at more specific cases. In 2016-2017, the most popular fake news has been on political activity. One such article is [article name]. Comparing the diction content of the fake news article and the comments and reactions of readers, there is clearly a trend. Throughout the article, the most frequent and powerful terms are [Term 1][Term 2][Term 3]. Since there are hundreds of reaction is the comments section, taking from the first ten:
[First five comments: Reactionary terms have been emphasized]
Understanding the sheer number of reactionary terms, there is suggested a strong correlation between strong vocabulary usage in the article and in the reactions of people.
Seeing as “powerful” words have a clear effect on people’s reactions, the same must be true for articles with words on the opposite side of the scale. Now to dive in even deeper, let us look at more specific cases. In 2016-2017, the most popular fake news has been on political activity. One such article is [article name]. Comparing the diction content of the fake news article and the comments and reactions of readers, there is clearly a trend. Throughout the article, the most frequent and powerful terms are [Term 1][Term 2][Term 3]. Since there are hundreds of reaction is the comments section, taking from the first ten:
[First five comments: Reactionary terms have been emphasized]
Understanding the sheer number of reactionary terms, there is suggested a strong correlation between weak vocabulary usage in the article and in the reactions of people.
In psychology, this effect is called [effect name]. Using choice vocabulary cause people to feel a strong emotional response to a sentence, which is clearly shown in both of the above cases.
To believe – even if we don’t want to – is necessary: that fake news is easily changing our beliefs and our emotional identity. How do we prevent this?
Conclusion.

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