Harff: Be critical of the news you read


This photo was widely used on social media during the clown phenomenon.

Katie Harff, Editor-in-Chief

Growing up in a social media obsessed world, it sure is easy to get caught up in the latest trends or ground breaking news.  It’s also just as easy to jump on the next bandwagon and leave the first one behind.

In October, there was a buzz on social media revolving around creepy clown sightings and threats coming through various Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and Instagram profiles.

This clown craze came out of nowhere and seems to have disappeared just as quickly as it started.

It’s not often that I’m home on a school night to relax, but around Halloween I had the opportunity to do just that.  I was perfectly calm and was enjoying not having a to do list, until an Instagram account called “killer.clown.mn” followed me.  I jumped out of my bed and did what any mature 17 year old would do.  I ran into my mom’s room and had a panic attack.

I may have overreacted, but there are people who react in larger and more violent ways to what they see online.

According to the Star Tribune, a man recently walked into a Washington D.C. pizzeria and pulled out a gun.

There could’ve been a plethora of reasons for this man to do this, but his motive was based off of the fake news articles that spread during the 2016 Presidential campaign.

A fake news article making allegations of a sex trafficking ring run by Hillary Clinton was said to have relations with this Pizzeria in Washington D.C.

This news wasn’t even true, but yet it spread like wildfire in the same way the clown story did.  The difference is the hype caused a man to react violently, not just run into his mom’s room screaming.

Since the initial clown sightings happened, the U.S. elected a new president, many malls made the groundbreaking decision to not be open on Thanksgiving and Apple released a new computer, just to name a few.  These things have taken over social media and the news, but what happened to the clowns?

The idea to dress up as creepy clowns certainly hasn’t been erased from anyone’s mind and I’m sure the people who created the social media accounts are still out there, but it doesn’t seem to be as earth shattering because it’s not plastered all over Twitter and Instagram.

In that moment that I ran into my mom’s room, I was terrified, but I don’t even think about it anymore because it isn’t being talked about.  Once the hype disappears, it seems as though so does the problem, which apparently is enough evidence to put the public’s mind at ease.

Everything seems to get blown out of proportion these days and it causes people to worry about things that won’t even be relevant a week later.

So, the next time social media is flooded with creepy clowns, some other weird phenomenon or an article that seems a little out there, don’t jump to conclusions.  It’ll be over just as quickly as your Twitter notifications blew up the first time, but remember it’s your job to decide what news is worth reacting to.