Both the media and Americans are the problem

Americans are right to mistrust the media, although they give it more credit than I believe it deserves.
Americans are also correct in seeing the news media as critical to democracy, and that the media isn't doing it's job.

However, the enormous partisan divide in opinions of the media shows that those very same people, on both sides, are still believing their personally biased media outlet.
I take that to mean that these people either a) aren't honest with themselves, or b) aren't very bright.

To back up that I refer to this poll.

Donald Trump's presidency has been largely defined by what he calls "fake news," but a new poll suggests Americans just can't tell the difference between fact and opinion when reading journalism.

Findings show that only a quarter of adult Americans could correctly distinguish between a factual statement and an opinionated point of view. The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, tested over 5,000 people. It presented them with five facts and five opinions and asked them to identify which was which. Only 26 percent were able to correctly identify all 10 statements.

Some people fared much better than others, including those with high political awareness or those who are good at navigating digital content. But for the most part, statements the participants agreed with were labeled as true and statements that they disagreed with were labeled as false or opinionated.

The issue is a bipartisan one, the study found, as both Republicans and Democrats tended to be swayed by party politics and were more likely to believe something to be accurate if it lined up with their diplomatic ideology.

In other words, fake news = something I disagree with.
And the "truth" = something that reinforces my prejudices.

Of course, this carries over from the news to real life.

A 1999 Gallup poll found that 18% of Americans believed that the sun revolves around the Earth, while a 1997 Gallup poll found that 4% of Americans still believed that Elvis Presley was alive, 20 years after his death. Many of them, no doubt, also believe the news is fake.

A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 34% of Americans reject evolution entirely, saying that humans and every other animal on Earth today existed in their present forms since the beginning of time – meaning that dinosaurs and dachshunds once cohabitated the planet at the same time.

A 2001 Gallup poll found that 50% of Americans believed in ESP; that 41% believed that people are sometimes possessed by the devil, 38% believed in ghosts, 36% believed in telepathy, 33% believed that extraterrestrial beings have visited Earth, 32% believed in clairvoyance, 28% believed in astrology and that 26% believed there are witches among us.

So maybe before you hear the term "fake news", find out what that person thinks is "real" first.

24 users have voted.


Amanda Matthews's picture

a ‘team’ mentality and anyone on the ‘other’ side must be a lying cheat. There is NO middle ground anymore.

The ‘funny’ part is both the major teams are owned and ‘sponsored’ by the 1% and the goal is to screw the plebs into the ground. But the majority of the plebs don’t know that. Or don’t care as long as their team wins.

17 users have voted.

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

@Amanda Matthews
are what, 30-33% of voters? The rest know the game is rotten, but might cheer and boo. But we're like a town where you can only drink Coke or Pepsi and nothing else. But brand loyalty doesn't run deep.
What's needed is focus and energy on the Mass Media figures that lets them know that we know they themselves and both Parties are corrupt and enemies of our well-being and Democracy; that they start treating of this reality or we overturn their business.

12 users have voted.
detroitmechworks's picture

a fattening, sugary product, just like most American products. It encourages addiction, is extremely cheap to create, and creates the illusion of pleasure.

Real experience of the world cannot be collated from a keyboard. Which is why the news is not real. It is a reflection of a story created for a purpose of manipulation. It's second hand propaganda. Even first hand propaganda is awful, but second hand propaganda has the illusion of a human attached.

Aaaaaaaand I'm ranting philosophically again. Smile

15 users have voted.

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

@detroitmechworks I am thinking more and more philosophy may be one of the ways out. It's on that knife edge of a way of living and a creed (not the movie).

5 users have voted.

One is religion. Some (most... all) religions deny clear truths to reinforce their own power and control. Reality is the enemy of these faiths.
Second is honest speculation. Who cares if people believe in ESP or UFOs? Every life has more than enough experience - just from pure coincidence - to promote such a belief. Such "belief" is harmless, except that much of it comes from a distrust of competence and deseerved authority.(science)
Third is our culture of lies. So much of our society is based on self serving lies that we have been conditioned to assume that everything is a lie. Even if something is technically true it is only a half truth or a truth said only to support a later lie.

16 users have voted.

A PROUD Hillary hater since 1993

Pricknick's picture

fake news is a problem.
When so many lie, and depend on it for their substance, true news becomes a problem.
When true news is questioned (as all news should be), those that promote the fake are justified.
Humans will only know the truth when it bites us in the ass.
Mother nature will deliver us upon the truth.
Hail Mother.

12 users have voted.

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

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

I had no idea people hated social media so much. I thought I was (as usual) alone and overwhelmingly outnumbered about that.

The Republican "you can't trust the media" line has been so ingrained for so long that it's no surprise they say what they do. They're literally conditioned for it. "Meeediaaaa-BARKBARKBARKBARK!" One of my earliest and most traumatic arguments was in an online game in 2004 with a guy who astonished me with my inability to tell him that NO, the media is (and it should be are) NOT LIBERAL.

It stands to reason that Democrats would be less hostile, but even if "Very Well/Well" never breaks 50%, that degree of positivity is still far too high.

It looks to me like the number of creationists has gone WAY DOWN, which is certainly good news; the last figure I saw (circa 2008-2011) was more like 54%. Progress! Yay!

The fact that there are/were more people who believed in Ptolemy than Elvis is, well...just kind of heartbreaking in more ways than one.

As for diabolic possession (or the 20th Century equivalent, "the government put a microchip in my head"), I'm nothing but unhappy to say I understand why people would believe in that. For the past 14 years now, my life has been utterly ruined by something that no shrink in my entire state has been able to explain, let alone treat (literally; we appear to have run through them all, and we're scheduled to head back to the Bay Area to appeal to the minds at Stanford University), and that's what it feels like. No, it's not schizophrenia; I've had extreme OCD since I was 5...but it's mutated into something beyond recognition. And it absolutely has something to do with the sociopolitical environment.

16 users have voted.

“Remember, when the emperor looks naked, the emperor IS naked. The truth and the lie are *not* 'sort of the same thing'.” — Daria Morgendorffer

to educate people on how to discern fact from opinion, and the need to withhold judgment until things are thought through?

The thing that maddens me is how direct and actual solutions are always dismissed out of hand. But the apparatus exists right now that would hep everyone learn the tricks of marketing and propaganda.

12 users have voted.
travelerxxx's picture

@jim p

...the apparatus exists right now that would hep everyone learn the tricks of marketing and propaganda.

I find most folks to be quite receptive to educating themselves about recognizing propaganda and learning how to combat its affects. One does need to be sympathetic when broaching the subject, however. Few people like to the told, "Hey, that thing you believe is a lie ... and you fell for it." That won't work. Be kind. Remember we all have fallen for propaganda, which these days is promulgated by highly trained, highly skilled, and highly paid liars. It's also highly scientific - you can go to Ivy League universities and learn it.

We need the propaganda antivenom. So, what is it you're thinking of, jim p? It's gonna take more than Bernays' little book...

10 users have voted.

"Eh. Teambots, R&D," for the summary version. i hope to soon post an essay on it.

4 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@jim p

The thing that maddens me is how direct and actual solutions are always dismissed out of hand. But the apparatus exists right now that would help everyone learn the tricks of marketing and propaganda.

spelling corrected

The first and most important such apparatus is this: Accept NOTHING without direct evidence! Too many Americans accept as fact propositions for which only circumstantial "evidence" exists. Demand the smoking gun before believing -- or allowing anyone else to present it as fact in peace.

Allowing circumstantial-only cases to result in convictions is the single worst mistake Western jurisprudence ever made. And yes, I've been dismissed as a juror during Voir Dire because of it. (The fact I know what "FIJA" means probably didn't help, either!!) Smile

8 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

in one of the shops that did things like conference material for meetings of the top advertising houses of the day.
It had been intuitively understood before, but it became formally understood then, and backed by research, that teen-agers were the segment who had money to part with, AND were the easiest to manipulate. It also was established -- industry-wide -- that the dreaded 'inner-directed' consumer worked from an adult value system.

The systematic destruction of adult values and the promotion of adolescent values is easily demonstrated to be ubiquitous, and for decades, once you look at it.

18 users have voted.

@jim p that explains a lot.

7 users have voted.

in the exercise determining opinion from fact, that critical thinking skills are the problem. We no longer "teach" kids that and our media surely does not do one thing to assist Americans in attempting to use it. We have been taught to merely accept what the powerful and rich tell us for so long now most simply just do it.

Really, for an American looking at just what America does in the world and what America really IS, it's much easier to just swallow the lie and then go shopping. No need to worry, no need to analyze or think, just go on your merry way and everything will be fine. And when it isn't, find some immigrant or whatever other to blame and all your problems will be solved.

10 users have voted.

...A 2001 Gallup poll found that 50% of Americans believed in ESP; that 41% believed that people are sometimes possessed by the devil, 38% believed in ghosts, 36% believed in telepathy, 33% believed that extraterrestrial beings have visited Earth, 32% believed in clairvoyance, 28% believed in astrology and that 26% believed there are witches among us.

The Wiccans should sue for slander - who says there aren't any wise women in existence? The FDA would disagree, having seen them themselves.

WWH - We Begin With Nature

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Edit for my trademarked letter-typo.

1 user has voted.

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.