Monday, January 09, 2017

Fake news and the biggest media problems of 2016

In the video above, Vox correctly points out that fake news is nothing new, and it even goes on to explain why it was able to become so big in 2016. However, I think it downplays the effects of fake news, even though doing so was in order to make a larger point. So, I think that the gist of what they’re saying is important, but could have been better.

It’s certainly true that fake news is not new, and it certainly wasn’t the sole factor in Hillary Clinton’s loss, but it was an important factor. This is because most people—Right and Left—didn’t (and still don’t) bother to check the veracity of facts in something they share if they agree with it’s point. However, when you look at the chart that Vox shares in the video, it’s clear that Don’s fans were much more willing to share anti-Hillary Clinton fake news than Clinton supporters were willing to share fake news about Don. That led to a LOT of negative noise about Hillary that was based on nothing but lies. I think Vox glossed over that part too much.

Nevertheless, their talk about what was wrong with the US newsmedia, particularly its obsession with its false equivalency fetish, was good. The US newsmedia was absolutely useless in the 2016 US election, and so far they haven’t improved very much.

Maybe the US newsmedia is waiting for the Orange Menace to actually be in the White House before taking him on, maybe they never will. But there’s plenty out there to tell them what they got wrong, and what they need to improve. This video is just one example of that.

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