Is fake news the problem?

You know the news media is getting desperate when they had to write this headline.

Poll shows Americans trust some media outlets more than Trump

Some media outlets are more trusted than a carnival barker that lies every time he speaks.
SOME! Not all. Just some of them.
Talk about a low bar to jump over. And then some of them can't even manage that.

Yet, that isn't the half of it. To get a good idea of just how despised and distrusted the news media is, consider this story.

According to a new survey first reported on Axios, more than half of people – 61 percent – say that they believe the claims made in television ads and other forms of advertising. That is an increase of 11 percent from similar questioning in 2014.
This increase in ad trust coincides with a major decrease in trust of news and media sources as Americans become more skeptical of so-called “fake news.” As Gallup recently noted, as many as 68 percent of Americans no loner trust the news, a record low.

To put this another way, Americans are far more likely to believe the ads for the penis enlargement pills and "get rich" investments than the actual news stories in the magazines they are reading.

Yes, it's that bad for the news media.

People's trust in the news media has been declining for a long time.

While just 20 percent of the public expressed a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in newspapers in 2016, that same measure was at 30 percent in 2006 and at 51 percent in 1979 (though it largely remained in the 30s over the years).

Why this is happening is probably a complicated answer involving a flawed business model of journalism.
But that leaves no scapegoat, and this is America. We demand our scapegoat, dammit!

Facebook, Mozilla and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark want you to be able to trust the news again.
The three are part of a consortium of tech leaders, academics and nonprofits that are pouring $14 million into the creation of the News Integrity Initiative, they jointly announced on Monday.

Problem solved!
I'm feeling more trusting already.

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Comments

Bollox Ref's picture

Given the constant failure to actually live up to promises made on the electoral trail by politicians of all stripes, lo these many years, who's surprised that the average punter has more faith in 'penis enlargement' than the most recent spiel from the latest 'wonder gal/boy' via an 'established news organization'?

Something has a reputation for working, and it isn't politicians or the MSM.

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Big Al's picture

NY Times, etc., as credible to very credible. The very corporate media that dispenses the propaganda, lies and false narratives. It's like 1984 where lies are truth and truth is lies.
One problem is a very small percentage of people access the real truth, which is being labeled by those it threatens as fake news. Most of the sites I get my information from are on those lists of fake news the oligarchy sent out to the serfs. So it's incredibly obvious what they're trying to do here for those that know the deal.

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earthling1's picture

Sounds more like an ad buy. Seriously, what a joke. They might as well hang a flag on it saying, " More fake news".

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

Pluto's Republic's picture

Far more noticeable and obvious are those rare occurrences of "real" news — a written essay that is clearly well-researched and presented ruthlessly, inconveniently, and often sociopathically, with no regard to anyones's coddled sensibilities. Occassionally one stumbles across real news in odd places like Rolling Stone, where the word "investigate" is used in a credible fashion.

For nearly thirty years, "investigate" has meant that all attributions point to super-secret "insider sources" — that most cynical of propaganda delivery systems.

Most of what we talk about here and on other blogs are "opinion" pieces that are intellectually sound, or better yet, information analysis. But the actual facts of the matters at hand are not yet collected and guarded in any repository of note. The best we can muster is Wikipedia, where the facts are still awaiting manipulation and interpretation. The idea of Holocaust denial is an actual genre of thinking about information. Things like the JFK assassination and 9/11 have not even begun to gel into solid history.

The one bright spot in all this is that the American people do not trust their news. Good for them. That's something I can really respect.

I was reading an editorial in a foreign newspaper yesterday about how Donald Trump lied to the people 75 percent of the time, according to Politifact. Thus, Hillary was regarded as far more fit to lead the nation with a lying rate of only 49 percent! Free speech and freedom of the press, the editorial pointed out, had corrupted and perverted US society and responsible political thinking and governance. No one is held accountable for lying to the people about reality. There are no consequences for such social sabotage. There is no fairness doctrine. No direct challenge or rebuttal. The smears are allowed to stand.

The editorial explained that these "freedoms" are something that the American people are very, very proud of. How is it possible that there is energy to get excited over the ever-present and ubiquitous "fake" news? Such excitement would be a full time job for an American citizen, if they were to do it conscientiously. It would be completely exhausting to do it for even a day.

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@Pluto's Republic Matt Taibbi

This is one of the tricks that keeps every good conspiracy theory going. Nobody wants to be the one claiming the emperor has no clothes the day His Highness walks out naked. And this Russia thing has spun out of control into just such an exercise of conspiratorial mass hysteria.
...
One way we recognize a mass hysteria movement is that everyone who doesn't believe is accused of being in on the plot. This has been going on virtually unrestrained in both political and media circles in recent weeks.
...
I've written a few articles on the Russia subject that have been very tame, basically arguing that it might be a good idea to wait for evidence of collusion before those of us in the media jump in the story with both feet. But even I've gotten the treatment.

I've been "outed" as a possible paid Putin plant by the infamous "PropOrNot" group, which is supposedly dedicated to rooting out Russian "agents of influence." You might remember PropOrNot as the illustrious research team the Washington Post once relied on for a report that accused 200 alternative websites of being "routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season."

Politicians are getting into the act, too. It was one thing when Rand Paul balked at OKing the expansion of NATO to Montenegro, and John McCain didn't hesitate to say that "the senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin."

Even Bernie Sanders has himself been accused of being a Putin plant by Mensch. But even he's gotten on board of late, asking, "What do the Russians have on Mr. Trump?"

So even people who themselves have been accused of being Russian plants are now accusing people of being Russian plants. As the Russians would say, it's enough to make your bashka hurt.

And this isn't being called "fake news".

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@gjohnsit

And this isn't being called "fake news".

Even Matt Tiabbi fell victim to the mind virus during the elections. He had some very depressing vulnerability to the Russian menace, I believe. I try not to think about him, or Michael Moore, or Bill Moyers anymore. They are dead to me.

But in what sense is the passage you quoted some glaring example of fake news?

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Pricknick's picture

@Pluto's Republic
Michael Moore is a hero to those of us who live in Michigan.
Excuse me. Was.
Bloviation is such an unused word.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

@Pluto's Republic

Even Matt Tiabbi fell victim to the mind virus during the elections.

And now things have gotten so crazy that Taibbi is waking up.
He's pointing out the craziness that isn't being called fake news.

That was my point.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@gjohnsit

I'm relieved to hear he's coming to his senses.

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to make it the homogenized white bread ( mixing my food groups) that MSM is.

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There is no such thing as TMI. It can always be held in reserve for extortion.

lotlizard's picture

we peons need our news screened by a “ministry of truth,” which is totally not Orwellian because it’ll be a private initiative backed by billionaire entrepreneurs?

How reassuring.

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orlbucfan's picture

not perfect. Their track record of factual opinion writing/investigative journalism sure beats the so-called standard. Rec'd!!

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Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

Pluto's Republic's picture

@orlbucfan

And I hold them to a standard as high as my own.

(No psychotic breaks with reality allowed. Ever.)

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@orlbucfan Because they have broken faith in a highly dangerous situation.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

detroitmechworks's picture

They've already started banning LGBTQ videos and anything else that MIGHT be offensive. (They're demonetizing many political speakers, EXCEPT those that are sponsored by MSM networks, like MTV and Comedy Central, etc...)

Fairly soon Youtube will be back to cute dogs and cats and nothing else.

Add in the new rules on selling info, and welcome to 1984.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

@detroitmechworks

Well, we knew that was coming, after fair warning by Google... We need an alternative to YouTube and I've yet to find one suggested.

It has to be something that can deal with political news, comedy and any/all music videos being shifted over from Youtube (this preferably would have been before demonetization/removal began, as they have) and that can be somehow publicized so that people know where to go without being censored into viewing only whatever all corporate sponsors and political powers (same thing, really, I suppose) approve of. And I've no idea myself how to achieve that.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Lol, no wonder TPTB took over control of so many once-respected 'left-wing' publications to have them babble their talking points and tried listing the few remaining independents still trying for factual news as 'ROOSHIAN"!!!-infuenced or 'PUTIN!!-paid' for showing them up with facts and documentation.

Scary that anybody believes advertising, though...

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.