I recently touched on the “fake news” becoming mainstream in my Closing Thought…..I read a post later that went into more detail and its effect on the culture of the country.
It appears that “fake news” made the rounds of the MSM as real news…..did it influence the election….not a question I can answer and others will not admit the deception……I know of at least two blogs that I visit that ran with at least one of the fake news items…..and yet they will not admit that they were fooled into believing crap.
Technology has changed culture. It has empowered new voices, but also permitted our political fights to invade many other worlds once exempt from partisan combat: celebrities, beauty pageants, and arguably even our churches, from the Right’s point of view and the Left’s.All the places where we once gathered to celebrate the idea of a world outside of politics are increasingly split by the same hyper-partisanship that characterizes our political culture, which this week is traveling under the cover of what the Left calls a “fake news” crisis.Even corporate culture, which needs to be reality-based to succeed, is increasingly pushing itself in a one-sided way into political combat with half its customers. The Chamber of Commerce declared war on conscience protections for gay-marriage dissenters in deep-red states. Atlanta-based Coca-Cola decided it had to deprive former U.S. solicitor general Paul Clement of his law partnership for the crime of defending the House of Representatives in DOMA litigation. The corporations that run sports entertainment decided to punish the state of North Carolina for its so-called bathroom bill, relocating events they had planned to hold in the state. ESPN is enthusiastically covering and debating those who refuse to stand for the national anthem.Technology, by facilitating the spread of outrage, created the backlashes that led to all of these punitive actions. It has also enabled people’s worst impulses to bully and shame, and unleashed formerly contained voices of open racism and anti-Semitism, as well as open “progressive” racism in universities and elsewhere.RELATED: Report on Scourge of Fake News Turns Out to Be FakedIn the week since Donald Trump was elected, the Left has been quick to hype the crisis of “fake news” on Facebook, complaining that the social-media giant swung the election by allowing the spread of false pro-Trump stories. There is no doubt a kernel of truth to the charge — fake stories were shared on Facebook during the election, and that is worrisome — but insofar as it allows the mainstream media to avoid even a moment’s introspection in the wake of Trump’s victory, it is a convenient distraction. The much bigger problem is we no longer have a consensus, centrist view of what is true and not true: There is no mainstream media anymore.What do I mean by that? Just take a look at the past week’s worth of false media narratives:1. The Trump administration is in disarray. The purge of Chris Christie, apparently for filling the transition team with business-as-usual lobbyists — or possibly as Jared Kushner’s revenge on Christie for prosecuting his father — was, of course, news. But the idea that the Trump administration is behindhand in orderly transition is just fantasy, as David Axelrod acknowledged.2. Trump is already showing signs of unsavory nepotism. Yes, there are laws against employing family members. But they do not apply to the president, and even if they did, they would not prohibit Trump from talking to Kushner, his children, or anyone else in his family about policy, strategy, or legislation.3. Steve Bannon is a white nationalist like David Duke. Yes, Breitbart has championed the alt-right. But the evidence is not nearly as clear as the media have made it seem.Surely, we can and must do better. But trusting the mainstream media to decide what is real and fake news, or asking Facebook and Twitter to sort it out for us, is not the answer.Jonathan Rauch has written, I think rather persuasively, that the absence of authoritative institutions, including political institutions, is a new problem. The fake news “crisis” is emblematic of the cultural problem we have: There appears to be no mainstream any more. The center is not holding. We have few agreed-upon truths that unite us in this Internet age. We don’t have agreement, above all, on who has the power to decide what is true and false and right and wrong.That’s what a culture war is, as James Davison Hunter taught us: a struggle over who has the power to name reality. And, all reports to the contrary, America’s has not gone away; it’s just metastasized.— Maggie Gallagher is the author of four books on marriage and a longtime contributor to National Review.
Where do we draw the line? I agree with freedom of the press….but is outright lies covered in that freedom?
For instance these people……
- The Post profiles two twentysomethings who were unemployed restaurant workers six months ago but have since struck it rich by creating the fast-growing LibertyWritersNews website. Paris Wade and Ben Goldman churn out quick stories from their couch with headlines like “THE TRUTH IS OUT! The Media Doesn’t Want You To See What Hillary Did After Losing,” promote them via their Facebook page (now with 805,000 followers), then watch them go viral. They collect money from a slew of ads on everything from Viagra alternatives to acne solutions. “We’re the new yellow journalists,” says Wade, at another point explaining their headline-writing process thusly: “You have to trick people into reading the news.” Read the full story.
The Times, meanwhile, deconstructs how one false story in particular went viral. The difference is that this one wasn’t intentionally fake. It began when 35-year-old Eric Tucker in Austin, Texas, posted an image of parked buses near an anti-Donald Trump rally on Nov. 9, after leaping to the conclusion that the protesters had been bused in. (Turns out, the buses were completely unrelated.) He had just 40 followers on Twitter, but his tweet suggesting the protests were manipulated got picked up on Reddit, then on conservative forums including the Gateway Pundit, and, soon resulted in headlines like “They’ve Found the Buses!” ricocheting around the web. (Trump himself seemed to buy into the sentiment.) Looking back, “I might still have tweeted it but very differently,” says Tucker of his original image. “I think it goes without saying I would have tried to make a more objective statement.” Read the full story.
It has become all too easy to get Fake News into the national conversation…..but I am positive that this “fake news” is here to stay…..what can be done?
Major Internet companies, such as Google and Facebook, are being urged to censor such articles and to punish alleged violators. Also, teams of supposedly “responsible” news providers and technology giants are being assembled to police this alleged problem and decide what is true and what is not.
But therein lies the more serious problem: who gets to decide what is real and what is not real? And – in an age when all sides propagate propaganda – when does conformity in support of a mainstream “truth” become censorship of reasonable skepticism?
I am sure there is another post lurking in there some place……