The furor over “fake news” on Facebook supposedly tipping the election for Donald Trump was only going to end one way. I just didn’t expect it to get there so quickly.
The “fake news” hysteria came, after all, from the same people who previously brought us “fake but accurate.” If you don’t remember that phrase, here’s a refresher. In the 2004 election, CBS’s Dan Rather tried to pass off forged Texas Air National Guard memos in an attempt to impugn the military record of George W. Bush. It was fake news, and it was specifically designed to tilt the results of a presidential election.
Chickens, when beheaded, do not know that they’re dead. They run around, spurting blood and making a mess for a while in a fit of nervous expulsion. If the chicken isn’t beheaded quite right, the parts of the brain that sustain survival functions — respiration, movement, heartbeat, excretion — still exists. The chicken can live for quite a long time in this visionless, morbid state, but one wouldn’t exactly call that existence living.
So the media finds itself: half-brained, blind, but still flailing around. It’s not quite alive and certainly not useful, but it’s not dead either.
The Fake News crusade began with BuzzFeed, more than any other member of the media, and it deservedly ends there. It began with BuzzFeed faking news to kick off a crusade against Fake News.
The fake news that BuzzFeed faked was about the threat of Fake News. The numbers were wrong. But that didn’t stop BuzzFeed from warning that what it called Fake News was beating real news. And that’s probably true. BuzzFeed’s discredited Trump dossier story outperformed the NBC story discrediting it.
Talk radio hosts and bloggers could be invited to official White House press briefings once the Trump administration takes office, under a highly irregular proposal being floated that may also remove briefings from the West Wing.
Trump’s pick for White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said on Sunday that due to “off the chart” interest in the new administration, the president-elect was considering moving briefings from the James S Brady press briefing room, which has been used by presidents to address the media since 1970, to a venue with a greater capacity.
This is about gatekeeping and protecting their privileged perch.
Meanwhile… Trump will KEEP his personal Twitter account instead of switching to official @POTUS handle – saying he loves going ‘bing bing bing’ to 46million followers
I don’t want to shock anyone, even those who already know there is something quite awry in the contemporary news media, but I have come to realize that it is not merely a temporary condition that will soon pass away, and that the problem cannot be simply repaired.
The news media, as we have known it in the three quarters of a century since World War II, is disappearing much faster than we realize. It might soon be extinct.
New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan appeared to be unaware during a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that a Washington Post story about Russian hacking into the Vermont power grid has been completely debunked and retracted.
“Two weeks ago The Washington Post reported that a hacking group connected with the Russian government managed to infiltrate the Burlington Electric power company in Vermont,” Hassan said to retired Marine Gen. John Kelley during his confirmation hearing to head the Department of Homeland Security. More.
Reality check: No one corrected her, which is a good thing. We can always wait to see whether she co-sponsors a “war on fake news” that targets everyone except her party’s fast friends in media. Fake news? The Post did not do ordinary fact checking on that story, any more than Dan Rather did in Rathergate. No changes are needed except possibly in research methods or people we listen to.
And progressive site Mashable is pleased. From Yi Shu Ng at Mashable:
The country’s president, Joko Widodo, has ordered the immediate establishment of a National Cyber Agency.
The directive comes as the country grapples with false reports circulating on social media. Last month for instance, reports of China intentionally contaminating chili seeds went viral, as well as others that claimed millions of Chinese workers had entered Indonesia to replace locals.
The principal reason that stupid rumours go viral is the lack of open communications. Most people don’t want to look like idiots for believing something they could easily find out isn’t true. But in unfree environments, they can’t. So they take no chances.
The Islamic establishment is backing the crackdown:
The country’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, launched an anti-fake news campaign online called #TurnBackTheHoax, and the country’s religious leaders have also labelled the spreading of fake news “a sin.”More.
Reality check: Indonesia has low world freedom ranking:
Treason and blasphemy laws are routinely used to limit freedom of expression by minority groups, separatists, and those criticizing the government and security apparatus. Journalists often practice self-censorship to avoid running afoul of civil and criminal defamation laws. In several cases during 2015, public officials or their alleged proxies brought defamation cases against journalists or one another as part of broader internecine disputes, including those involving the KPK and national police. Reporters sometimes face violence and intimidation, which frequently goes unpunished. A December report by the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) found 47 incidents of violence against journalists in 2015, of which 17 were perpetrated by the police.
It’s revealing that progressive sites can live with such regime’s negative attitude to gay rights, so long as the regime wholeheartedly endorses censorship in principle.
It’s hard not to suspect: For today, it can be anyone’s boot in everyone’s face, just to cement the principle; eventually it will be their boots, they hope, and for good.
You may not know this, but the people you see on cable news shows who are listed as “contributors” or “talk show hosts” or “strategists” have no more knowledge on the topic they’re discussing in authoritative tones than your dog does most of the time. It’s a problem because when average people watch these shows, they expect to get legitimate news. What they get is nothing of the sort.
Here’s how it works: The people you see on TV who aren’t newsmakers or members of Congress sometimes are booked well in advance, sometimes as much as a week. This is especially true in “debate” segments, when they have someone from the right and left discussing a topic. They don’t actually find out the topic they are “debating” until the morning of their scheduled appearance, and it can change until the moment they’re on the air if something happens in the world.
Here’s another bit of information you won’t get from watching these shows: When someone who appears regularly on a network is listed as a “columnist” or “contributor” for a news site, unless they write for them on a regular basis, they are likely paid by that outlet for the specific purpose of having that organization’s name promoted on the network. It’s product placement, same as a car or prominently featured bag of chips in a movie. You can tell by the way they’re booked to talk on TV because they write, never about anything they’ve written. They’re a warm body who can string a sentence together. More.
Reality check: All that the internet really changed is this: The entry costs for a job just about any fluent person can do are now minimal. We can see much more easily than before what the Bigs were doing when they produced fake news. No wonder these traditional high-end vendors are upset.
See also: Part I: What isfake news? Do we believe it?
Where to start? Right before Obama’s epic, long-winded exit tour de self, CNN and Buzzfeed broke the news that they had access to intel. Multiple sources confirmed the intel. Russians. Talking. Connections. All very hush-hush and unspecific. According to this scoop, Donald Trump paid hookers to pee on a bed in a hotel room that the Obama’s had slept in.
The transparency point BuzzFeed head Ben Smith claimed is basically the same rationale Rolling Stone’s Will Dana used to justify publishing the fake story that ended in a major court loss.
Buzzfeed is in peril. Yesterday the site published unverified claims that President-elect Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, met with Russian operatives in Prague in August 2016. Given the current news environment concerning Russian hacking of Democratic National Committee emails, this is explosive news.
Tax changes, better copyright protection and fees imposed on Facebook and Google are among the solutions being touted to help rescue Canada’s ailing news industry, internal reports show.
Those suggestions were prominent in closed-door sessions with news leaders conducted by the Public Policy Forum, a think-tank the federal government has hired to suggest policies in support of Canadian journalism during a period of digital disruption and reporter layoffs.
In the run-up to the election, the MSM suddenly discovered something it dubbed “fake news” — stuff from prank sites that nobody is his right mind would ever believe — and then used the term to smear right-leaning websites that published stories from points of view that make the Left uncomfortable. Well, that was then and this is now…
The New York Times article on the intelligence assessment of Russian meddling in the election overstates a “preference” for President-elect Donald Trump that Russia developed, while downplaying the core motivations outlined in the report.
The assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies outlined in the report is that Russia’s goal when it crafted and implemented the influence campaign was to undermine the integrity of the U.S. election and to denigrate Hillary Clinton. Yet the NYT barely mentions these motivations in its breaking take on the report, and blasted out a headline wrongly declaring President Vladimir Putin “ordered” the campaign to help Trump.
If you thought what happened in 2016 might teach the Panem progressives of American journalism to be a little more circumspect, you’d be wrong.
Even after a presidential election in which scores of media personalities were shown to be entirely disconnected from the country and people they report on, the liberal media bubble is alive and well. All it took to reveal the durability of that bubble was a simple question about pickup trucks.
A number of reporters exposed by Wikileaks to have colluded with the Hillary Clinton campaign will go on to cover the Trump White House.
CNBC chief political correspondent John Harwood regularly emailed Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, congratulating him on Hillary’s successes and boasting about how he provoked Donald Trump at a Republican primary debate which he moderated.