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Fake News is Not a Problem

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posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 09:17 PM
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a reply to: Phage

You don't look a day over 175.





posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 09:19 PM
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I think this whole argument is framed wrong. We shouldn't be talking about fake news. We all know the main stream media CNN, FOX etc are biased. The news isn't so much fake as they just don't report on the important stuff and we're all unaware of what's really going on.

The real issue pertains to the question...Where do we get our news from if the main stream media doesn't report it? One example is the DAPL protests. I follow some of the protesters and that's really the only way I see what's going on there. It's not on CNN or FOX.

That leads to the third point. Where we get our news is Blogs and people who aren't journalists reporting this stuff live.

So is that Fake News or real news? Or...can we get news from someone that's not a journalist? The answer is yes.

But here's the issue. We then really on these normal people like you or I to get our news. But some of these people are not Journalists, they are not educated, they are deeply partisan or have agendas that don't include truth. One blog like that is Brietbart. Another is the guys on Talk radio that pretend they're giving us the truth, but they're just propaganda agents, Rush Limbaugh is one of those.

Thoughts?



posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 09:21 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope


But reading the article, and reading the transcript of the speech it references, one finds that “fake news threatens democracy” is exactly what Obama didn’t say. In a fit of contradiction, yet without the necessary irony, the USA today article is exactly the fake news Obama might have been talking about if he was in fact talking about fake news. And this from one of the highest circulated newspapers in America.


The title isn't a quote, it's a paraphrasing of what he said. Here's the rest of quote that you didn't excerpt:


"If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect. We won’t know what to fight for. And we can lose so much of what we’ve gained in terms of the kind of democratic freedoms and market-based economies and prosperity that we’ve come to take for granted."


You've cherry picked the half of Obama's remarks that you agreed with and ignored the rest. In doing so, you managed to misrepresent his statements far more than the USA Today writer you accuse.

It's no wonder that you did this as you've also conflated media bias with fake news to remove the very lack of distinction that the President was lamenting.

There has never been a time in American history where the media was free of political bias. I've done extensive reading of historic newspapers (usually looking for obituaries, biographical sketches and the like relating to geanological research) and I have never seen a time when political bias wasn't the norm.

Go to the Library of Congress's Chronicling America site and search newspaper names for terms like Republican and Democrat. Hundreds and hundreds of them.

If you know of some period when media was free of political bias that I've missed, I'd appreciate you pointing it out to me. Bias is something to be aware and weary of but "spin" is not new and it's a distinctly different phenomenon to what we're experiencing now.

Consider the following:

I’ve Been Making Viral Fake News for the Last Six Months. It’s Way Too Easy to Dupe the Right on the Internet.


But the huge breakthrough came with the Public Policy Polling memo. When PPP released a poll showing a major Clinton lead in Florida, I downloaded their PDF, turned it into a Word document and edited it. Heavily.

All the polling mythology went into it. Trump was up by huge numbers. The more corrupt Hillary was, the more Democrats loved her, and so on. It was absurd. The spelling was iffy—I save time by not editing anything—but it had a section in it where the author, at wit’s end, complains about college pollsters, like Quinnipiac’s co-eds and Monmouth’s “Bernie-Grade Weed.”

It went super-viral. One of the most accidentally brilliant things I did was set up a Scribd document-sharing account. I had seen legal docs and such posted there so that was what I did. I could have hosted it natively—but it seemed more “authentic” to put it on the site and post a link.


That's but one of the many candid admissions from the creator and sole operator of the fake news site, Real True News. Sites like these can be created by somebody in my profession with relative ease. If I was inclined to do so, I could setup a network of fake news sites, aggregate most of the content and then pepper the "news" with complete fabrications, citing fictitious "anonymous sources."

This is exactly what True Pundit has been doing. The hoaxes created by whoever the site operators are haven't just gone viral, they've been repeated upstream by the "mainstream" talking heads, campaign staff, politicians and even the man who is likely going to be the next National Security Advisor.

Unlike traditional "mainstream" media outlets that have offices, staff, often shareholders and a board, these sites have nobody to hold accountable and therefore no accountability. Even if they could be shutdown, they'd just pop up under a new name on a new server in a day or two. Many of them have absolutely no infrastructure to speak of except leased server space and even those servers are often outside of the US.

Furthermore, they're being pushed by networks of operatives on social media. Some are completely automated "bots" and others are individuals or even "troll farms" leveraging fake accounts, allowing one person to have the online social footprint of dozens of everyday folks. So not only is there a capability to generate completely fabricated "news" with impunity, it can be made to go viral artificially.

What's more, these two components don't require any formal partnership or deliberate cooperation. There are those who make fake news simply to monetize it via ad revenue. There are those who run social media dissemination networks — troll farms, bot networks, etc — who are motivated by political agenda.

Trying to compare Macedonian clickbait hoaxers to the even most partisan mainstream outlet is simply ridiculous.


What’s best for all of us is to follow Obama’s advice: Be serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not. If we take responsibility for what we should and should not believe, there will be no demand for sensationalist news items, and no bogeyman for the media to blame for their inconsistency. So much for the fake news.


The ideal situation would be for people to be concerned with facts and to be discriminating consumers of media. The reality is that they are not and there's little reason to believe that they will become so simply because you, I or the soon to be former President ask.

I agree that the solution isn't corporate curation or government censorship and for the exact same reasons but pretending that the solution is a spontaneous change in human behavior, en masse and without some sort of significant catalyst, is frankly silly.

My own hope is that this malignancy will grow to the point that it can no longer be ignored and that it will eventually be a victim of its own success.
edit on 2016-11-21 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 09:22 PM
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a reply to: Hefficide

Because something is uncommon isn't a good enough argument for me. Education was once uncommon. So was personal hygiene. Everything was uncommon at one point.

The fact that "fake news" (I already tire of the term) can be believed or not believed falsifies the idea that fake news is the cause of any of the things this bogeyman is supposedly gives rise to.

Fake news isn't necessarily untrue, nor should it be determined by authorities what is and isn't fake news, for the very reason I mentioned.



posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 09:22 PM
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a reply to: amazing

I think critical thinking is a vanishing resource.
I think that confirmation bias in this world is more dangerous than it ever has been.



posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 09:29 PM
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a reply to: eluryh22

That's not true. As I've pointed out elswhere, the much maligned "media polls" tracked with the internal polling of the Trump campaign. I'm not 100% sure, but given that Robert Mercer's PAC paid Kellyanne Conway's company (The Polling Company) more than a million dollars, it was likely her own company that was conducting the polling that was consuming the bulk of the reported $100k per week the Trump campaign was spending.

If you don't believe me, look up the comments of Chris Christie in the immediate aftermath of the election. He says in no uncertain terms that the internal polls showed Hillary winning up to and including the day of the election.

Were they wrong? Yes. Was it mistake or malfeasance? I believe the balance of the evidence points to the former. That isn't to say that the media doesn't have issues with inaccuracy or bias but the quality of what they're putting out far exceeds the alternatives.



posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 09:32 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Not quite. You also left out much of Obamas speech, which is available in the transcript of his speech. Obama said exactly what the problem is in the excerpt I quoted, and that is what he thinks is the threat to democracy. I did not misrepresent the writer's aim nor article headline. Not only did the author misrepresent Obama, but you did as well.



posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 09:58 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Thank you for the link. Here's the context of the two quoted statements. I'll start with what you excerpted in the OP:


I think there is a tendency -- because we have lived in an era that has been largely stable and peaceful, at least in advanced countries, where living standards have generally gone up -- there is a tendency I think to assume that that's always the case. And it's not. Democracy is hard work.

In the United States, if 43 percent of eligible voters do not vote, then democracy is weakened. If we are not serious about facts and what's true and what's not -- and particularly in an age of social media where so many people are getting their information in soundbites and snippets off their phones -- if we can't discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems. If people, whether they are conservative or liberal, left or right, are unwilling to compromise and engage in the democratic process, and are taking absolutist views and demonizing opponents, then democracy will break down.

And so I think my most important advice is to understand what are the foundations of a healthy democracy, and how we have to engage in citizenship continuously, not just when something upsets us, not just when there’s an election, or when an issue pops up for a few weeks.


Here's the second quote in context:


But I can say to the German people that the United States has been good for Germany, has looked out for Germany, has provided security for Germany, has helped to rebuild Germany and unify Germany. And I can say, across Europe, that many principles that have been taken for granted here around free speech and around civil liberties, and an independent judiciary, and fighting corruption -- those are principles that, not perfectly, but generally, we have tried to apply not just in our own country but also with respect to our foreign policy.

And that should be remembered. Because in an age where there’s so much active misinformation -- and it’s packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television -- where some overzealousness on the part of a U.S. official is equated with constant and severe repression elsewhere -- if everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect. We won’t know what to fight for. And we can lose so much of what we’ve gained in terms of the kind of democratic freedoms and market-based economies and prosperity that we’ve come to take for granted.

That was a long answer, wasn’t it? I don’t remember if there was a second part to it. I got all caught up in that one.


Full discosure — I've had a few drinks — but it seems to me that your problem is chiefly one of semantics. Specifically, that you take issue with characterizing what the President was addressing as "fake news" but I and many others would say that is precisely what he was talking about.

At least that's how it appears to me given your conflation of "fake news" and media bias in the OP.



posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 10:14 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

I think the problem is that I have no clue what True Pundit or SuperTruenews is. All I read is the usual fair.

Obviously some of the fake news on the conservative side is far more egregious, and sure, I haven't been as critical of it as I could be. But this "fake news" is a fart in the wind in comparison with the big boys. I see nothing wrong with holding all journalism to the same standards. My only real bias is between ethical and unethical journalism. If and when the media meets their own standards, I will consider them real news.



posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 10:15 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

fare enough.
edit on 11/21/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 10:18 PM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

fare enough.


You didn't even read Obama's words. If you had, you might have seen my 4-d chess.



posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 11:48 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Wow. You utilized a LOT of words to say nothing



posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 11:53 PM
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I tend to be annoyed by the "fake news" sites from time to time, but the sudden massive uproar from the establishment about fake news sites has my alarm bells ringing. Kind of makes me think some of these sites may have hit a nerve.
edit on 21-11-2016 by sooth because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 01:27 AM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

originally posted by: windword
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Can you please define "fake news", for us?



Fake as in counterfeit, pretend, sham. News as in a broadcast or publishing of recent information.


So....Just to be clear, we're NOT talking about CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, NPR, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Time, etc., then, right?

We're talking, like Phage said, Niburu, Big Foot, Alien sightings, The Onion, The Borowitz Report, True Pundant, etc., right?

I ask because a lot of people seem to categorize news presented with a bias as "fake", but when the same information is presented with a different bias, it's not fake news. If that's the case, then I believe we're talking about selective propaganda, not malicious lies or "fake news".



posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 01:41 AM
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a reply to: windword

That depends. Was the example I gave real or fake news? Did Obama say Fake news is a threat to democracy?



posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 02:36 AM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope




Was the example I gave real or fake news? Did Obama say Fake news is a threat to democracy?


Not seeing any fake news here. Who are you calling the liar, Obama for stating something you feel is a falsehood, or the media for reporting it?



posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 04:10 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
I agree with the OP.
Fake news is not a problem. Unless enough people believe it.

Like Hale Bopp is going to take us to a wonderful new world.
Like Nibiru is going to be here...any day now.
Like...the Maya were right but their calendar was off a little bit.


It's not a problem if people believe it ('fake' news) either.

edit on 22/11/2016 by UKTruth because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 04:25 AM
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originally posted by: windword

originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

originally posted by: windword
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Can you please define "fake news", for us?



Fake as in counterfeit, pretend, sham. News as in a broadcast or publishing of recent information.


So....Just to be clear, we're NOT talking about CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, NPR, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Time, etc., then, right?

We're talking, like Phage said, Niburu, Big Foot, Alien sightings, The Onion, The Borowitz Report, True Pundant, etc., right?

I ask because a lot of people seem to categorize news presented with a bias as "fake", but when the same information is presented with a different bias, it's not fake news. If that's the case, then I believe we're talking about selective propaganda, not malicious lies or "fake news".




There is no consistent or objective way of defining fake news. Trying to censor or warn based on opinion or accepted norms is a futile exercise.
The only news we can ever know is fake is where the source says it's fake - like The Onion.

Even way out stories like those surrounding Niburu are not fake, they are a predictions based on some factual information and conjecture. The best we can label predictions about Niburu are 'highly unlikely', not 'fake'.

The real problem society faces are those people that want to control information, not information itself.



posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 10:31 AM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

I said something very similar last week (I think) on a thread about fake news, citing the apathy of modern Americans concerning researching information as being the real problem.

Glad I'm not alone in recognizing the real issue.



posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 11:59 AM
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a reply to: windword




Not seeing any fake news here. Who are you calling the liar, Obama for stating something you feel is a falsehood, or the media for reporting it?


As I said in the OP, Obama did not say nor imply Fake News is a threat to democracy. Here is the question and answer the article derived its clickbait from:


Thank you very much, Mr. President. You've spoken a great deal about what you've characterized as kind of a crude form of nationalism perhaps on the rise. I'm wondering if you would advise some of those protestors at home to stop demonstrating against some of the charged rhetoric that has been used by Donald Trump. And I'm wondering, as well, if you've advised your successor to be extra mindful of what you see as some very worrisome trends, particularly when it comes to making his own potentially powerful staff picks.

Lastly, sir, in these final weeks of your presidency, do you believe you have any leverage to stop Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin from continuing to bomb Aleppo?

Chancellor Merkel, I'd like to ask you, Bashar al-Assad has described Donald Trump as a natural ally. Your own Foreign Minister has described Donald Trump as a preacher of hate. I'm wondering, would you tell Americans that they now have a perception problem?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: One of the great things about our democracy is it expresses itself in all sorts of ways, and that includes people protesting. I've been the subject of protests during the course of my eight years, and I suspect that there's not a President in our history that, at some point, hasn't been subject to these protests. So I would not advise people who feel strongly or are concerned about some of the issues that have been raised during the course of the campaign -- I wouldn't advise them to be silent.

What I would advise -- what I advised before the election and what I will continue to advise after the election -- is that elections matter, voting matters, organizing matters, being informed on the issues matter. And what I consistently say to young people -- I say it in the United States, but I'll say it here in Germany and across Europe -- do not take for granted our systems of government and our way of life.

I think there is a tendency -- because we have lived in an era that has been largely stable and peaceful, at least in advanced countries, where living standards have generally gone up -- there is a tendency I think to assume that that's always the case. And it's not. Democracy is hard work.

In the United States, if 43 percent of eligible voters do not vote, then democracy is weakened. If we are not serious about facts and what's true and what's not -- and particularly in an age of social media where so many people are getting their information in soundbites and snippets off their phones -- if we can't discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems. If people, whether they are conservative or liberal, left or right, are unwilling to compromise and engage in the democratic process, and are taking absolutist views and demonizing opponents, then democracy will break down.

And so I think my most important advice is to understand what are the foundations of a healthy democracy, and how we have to engage in citizenship continuously, not just when something upsets us, not just when there’s an election, or when an issue pops up for a few weeks.

It’s hard work. And the good news is I think there are a lot of young people, certainly, who were involved in my campaigns and I think continue to be involved in work, not just politically but through nonprofits and other organizations, that can carry this hard work of democracy forward.

But I do think sometimes there’s complacency. Here in Europe, I think that there are a lot of young people who forget the issues that were at stake during the Cold War, who forget what it meant to have a wall. And I’ll be honest, there have been times when I listened to the rhetoric in Europe where and easily equivalence somehow between the United States and Russia, and between how our governments operate versus other governments operate -- where those distinctions aren’t made.

I’ve said many times around the world that, like any government, like any country, like any set of human institutions, we have our flaws, we’ve operated imperfectly. There are times when we’ve made mistakes. There are times where I’ve made mistakes, or our administration hasn’t always aligned ourselves with the values that we need to align ourselves with. It’s a work of constant improvement.

But I can say to the German people that the United States has been good for Germany, has looked out for Germany, has provided security for Germany, has helped to rebuild Germany and unify Germany. And I can say, across Europe, that many principles that have been taken for granted here around free speech and around civil liberties, and an independent judiciary, and fighting corruption -- those are principles that, not perfectly, but generally, we have tried to apply not just in our own country but also with respect to our foreign policy.

And that should be remembered. Because in an age where there’s so much active misinformation -- and it’s packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television -- where some overzealousness on the part of a U.S. official is equated with constant and severe repression elsewhere -- if everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect. We won’t know what to fight for. And we can lose so much of what we’ve gained in terms of the kind of democratic freedoms and market-based economies and prosperity that we’ve come to take for granted.

That was a long answer, wasn’t it? I don’t remember if there was a second part to it. I got all caught up in that one.


Obama states explicitly what weakens democracy, when democracy breaks down, and the reasons for it, none of which contains fake news. He lists eligible voters not voting, the taking for granted of systems of government, complacency, not knowing what to fight for, not being able to discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, no compromise between left and right, as the problems facing democracy.

So even though I stated in the OP that this is a real news agency, the pretending that it is anything but fake news is troubling, especially with lies such as the headline in the example.

If that is real news to you, then Obama was right that not being able to discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda is a problem.
edit on 22-11-2016 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



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