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Fake News Hysteria Just Creates More Uncertainty in What Truth Really Is (medium.com)
49 points by AnneDev on Jan 23, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 40 comments



For some reason I really like the phenomenon of "Fake News". It was an idea launched fairly quickly right after the election. It spread fast. All over the news. The media, and even Facebook and Google throwing their weight behind it.

Nobody quite knew what it was. Was it just Lizard People news or did it include all news from Fox or just some. Was it just Macedonian teenagers making money or was CNN also Fake News.

Then something happened. The mass media channels which invented and promoted Fake News ended up being labeled by it. Search for "Fake News" in image search on Google and CNN is right there. That was not the intended result I am sure. So the last I heard the idea is to now retire it due to inconvenience:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/its-time-to-r...

There is something sad and ironic about it. There is a pr lesson there as well perhaps...


The country went through mass hysteria after the election, first it was fake news, then russian hackers, then the usual blaming of demographs.

The news media was completely upended by Trump. He seemingly has a reality distortion field of his own. His first couple of days in office have been spent at war with the media, this is precedent being set. No doubt that Steve Bannon is pulling strings already.

I think we're going to see a brand new propaganda machine set up by his administration. It'll be interesting how they deal with the rapid fire groupthink that seems to patrol the internet nowadays. I definitely don't think this is comparable to anything that's happened before.


Hey now, give Trump a chance to play with his existing toys before expecting yet another machine. There is this great one Obama signed into law around Christmas[1]:

> [The Global Engagement Center is] an interagency center housed at the State Department to coordinate and synchronize counter-propaganda efforts throughout the U.S. government. [The effort should] counter foreign propaganda and disinformation directed against United States national security interests and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support United States allies and interests.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countering_Foreign_Propaganda_...


All of that is true, except (I bet) your prediction at the end. The reason he is such a threat to the established power is because he directly threatens their propaganda system. It's not a given that Trump will replace it with his own. We (in the US) legalized domestic funding of disinformation years ago. Enlisted PSYOP people have been in the major news agencies for a long time.


Confabulation.


You noticed the same as I did. Google trends etc. will also show you this exact pattern and when exactly this "Fake News"-calling started. After a while it backfired when the ones they called "Fake News" pointed out how they are also reporting many things incorrectly. Source: https://www.google.com/trends/explore?date=today%2012-m&q=fa...

After a while they even started to use it in Europe and how our elections may also be affected by "Fake News" and how Russia is planting this. They even started EU government programs to counteract "Fake News" even on schools. Source (how to recognize fake news school program in the Netherlands): https://www.weekvandemediawijsheid.nl/mediamasters-universit... and https://www.omroepflevoland.nl/nieuws/141814/almere-bieb-ver...

This must all have been set up long time before they started to use it.

The only thing this did for me is making me take everything (all sides) less seriously. I cannot believe to live in a world like this where people keep this going while we talk about people their lives, health and our future. It should not be like a joke, it was all too obvious. Still many people think it is really something without there being any real proof of what it actually is.

One of the claimed proof of what they call "Fake News" (used many times to proof the existence of it) is someone (then unknown by all sides) that created an article about protesters being bused in by Soros or something while proven to not be true. The whole situation was too weird when people started to research the author. Source: http://www.snopes.com/anti-trump-protesters-bused-into-austi...

In reality Soros and his organizations (many part of the EU as well) sponsored and influenced many protests and still do. Read the leaked open society emails to learn about that. Source: http://soros.dcleaks.com and http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2017/01/20/billio...

To be honest, while living in the EU, I am afraid to tell people how I see things (and I still try to be objective) because it is all getting more violent by the day. This is mostly still confined to the internet but I can already see this changing all around me especially with the EU elections nearing.


Quite a few of us have been discussing fake/biased news for well over a year. When your feed shows you fake news people share from Brietbart and BlueNationReview, you tend to notice it.


[flagged]


This account has been posting plenty of uncivil and unsubstantive comments. We have to ask you to please stop and re-read the guidelines:

https://news.ycombinator.com/newswelcome.html

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


See this is the problem. Way too much groupthink nowadays. Do you honestly think Fox News is all fake? Hint: it's not.

I'm a lifelong democrat but here's where last November's events hit me even harder than most: I know we earned it.

We've been allowing CNN, MSNBC, etc to slam Trump left and right. Does he deserve it? Of course he does! The problem is they stand from an authority position with presumed partiality and they are absolutely biased. News flash folks: the giant cheeto is absolutely right about that. And they DO NOT get right 100% of the time, yet Fox News does the same thing and we slam them for it! It's absolute nonsense and it's how we got here. By being divided and pretending we aren't doing what our "enemy" is.

The MLK bust thing is a great example. The crowds? Not that it should even matter but the picture being passed around and paraded all over CNN and 10,000 memes everywhere was a picture taken BEFORE the inauguration got under way. Though I do not believe Trump had a bigger crowd than Obama, it was bigger than what CNN was showing you and making a big deal out of it.

These. Things. Matter.

There are so many simple examples, if you call Fox News fake you have to call all of them fake.


You can watch a timelapse of the whole inauguration at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdantUf5tXg which shows that the image shared was correct.


And the security checkpoints were choked at noon. I'm willing to bet that most people were trying to get in (me, for one) and got videos to show for it.


>You can watch a timelapse of the whole inauguration.

Very misleading video. That video doesn't show the whole day.

Here is a picture showing the crowds later in the day.

https://i.redd.it/romblz2zsxay.jpg

That video only show earlier in the day, before people started filling it up, as indicated by the time-stamp here...

http://i.imgur.com/cLiofdu.png

Here's a photo closer to the end, showing the crowds goes all the way to the back, almost comparable to Obama's.

https://i.reddituploads.com/a3495b511eed42509c6f3a82b853996f...


even if it is which it's still not completely clear since there is no timestamp on that, it doesn't take into account many factors such as the widespread claim that security into the event was excessive and many people couldn't get in on time, nor the fact that for Obama there was a much larger local turn out, nor the fact that MANY people stayed home out of fear of violence from the left etc. The point is, the media making a story about attendance numbers was nothing more than a swipe at his legitimacy and THAT is the problem.


Fox News has been doing the fake/biased news thing for a long time: http://johnhaller.com/useful-stuff/faux-news

Plus, your post is literally buying into the 'media downplayed Trump's crowd' and the 'picture was taken before the inauguration' fake news story. The picture was taken at the peak. They even released the video to prove it. Trump's crowd was about on par with George W Bush's. In other words, less than half the size of Obama's 2009 crowd.


>They even released the video to prove it.

Very misleading video. That video doesn't show the whole day.

Here is a picture showing the crowds later in the day.

https://i.redd.it/romblz2zsxay.jpg

That video only show earlier in the day, before people started filling it up, as indicated by the time-stamp here...

http://i.imgur.com/cLiofdu.png

Here's a photo closer to the end, showing the crowds goes all the way to the back, almost comparable to Obama's.

https://i.reddituploads.com/a3495b511eed42509c6f3a82b853996f...

>Fox News has been doing the fake/biased news thing for a long time...

It's ironic that Fox news was so biased before. But this election, Fox News did good. Fox was the only news media that actually show both sides of the story, while the rest of the news media were overwhelmingly biased against Trump.


The front low-angle picture is the one Trump fans use to "disprove" the story. Its angle hides the swaths of empty space that were filled during Obama's first inauguration. Not to mention that the low-angle front picture obscures the Obama 2009 crowd spilling out the sides.

The picture you linked was taken earlier in the day, but is not the one used in the comparisons on news sites. That picture was taken around the time the Obama 2009 one was taken and shows Trump's crowd slightly more filled in: http://i.imgur.com/17nLdRl.jpg

Obama's inauguration broke all records and Trump's didn't come close. The scary point is that Trump felt the need to lie about it. They even admitted it with their "alternative facts" line. Openly lying about things that are demonstrably false is his way of distracting from other issues.


Your photo showing Trump had little people actually came from 8 AM in the morning, as by the upload time-stamp here:

http://imgur.com/cLiofdu

Notice the time-stamp.

The following photo show way more people: https://i.redd.it/romblz2zsxay.jpg

Here is a photo showing near back end, showing the crowds goes all the way to the back, almost comparable to Obama's.

https://i.reddituploads.com/a3495b511eed42509c6f3a82b853996f...


Incorrect. Compare it to your 8am photo and it is much more filled in. Please post another rear image from the Washington monument to properly compare the two. Or keep posting low-angle front-shot photos to fit your personal narrative.


[flagged]


Here is one thing Fox News does do: give us information about things the rest of them don't want to think about. Ever see what happens to coverage when a shooter/attacker is Muslim?

8:30am (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News) MASS SHOOTER AT UNIVERSITY!!! FRONT PAGE!!

Information Released that suspect is Somali immigrant

8:40am (Fox News ) Police are saying shooter is Somali immigrant (CNN et al) Leaves up original page with update added that shooter may be a Somali immigrant

Information released it was a Somali immigrant, who is Muslim and praises ISIS, and used a knife

9:00am (Fox News) Information was released it was a Somali immigrant, who is Muslim and praises ISIS, and used a knife (CNN et al) Front page: Look! someone taught a dog how to water ski!!

The rest of the day Fox details the history of the suspect, pictures and supporting info and the others bury it completely.

This has happened numerous times over the last few months. Is this better for us?


Was it really especially notable or was it cheap news on inflammatory issue?

What are the consequences of such publicity for a known terrorist group?

I do not know the answers, probably nobody does, front page of a news site and a newspaper is a thing of tremendous value and not to be used lightly.

The more interesting part is what does not get reported by either side, which is the additional say 10 murders at the same time in other parts of the US.


Just because Fox News is biased doesn't automatically make the opposing media channels unbiased or better. I posit that before the election started some of those channels at least did a token / minimum amount of work to appear impartial. During the election that pretence was dropped. They have basically sunk to the level of Fox News.


You're absolutely right about that, they spun the wars pretty hard and the other media outlets criticized them... until BO took office.


Yes, when that happened the Fox News constituency took it about as hard as the rest of the world is taking Trump right now.

Indeed, the note of defeat in your average Fox News personality's voice was palpable.

They were washed up has-beens for the next few years and they knew it. In terms of a 24 hour news cycle that's eons.


Apropos of not much, I created a Chrome extension that replaces the phrases "fake news" and "alternative facts" with the phrase "real-life fanfic." It's made my browsing over the past few days much more enjoyable, including this post and these comments.

Also, my first Chrome extension, so yay learning!

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/fake-news-to-real-...


> replaces the phrases "real-life fanfic" and "real-life fanfic" with the phrase "real-life fanfic."

Seems a little redundant


that's badass!


It may be that the days of near-absolute public faith, trust and confidence in top shelf journalism brands such as the New York Times and CNN is over. In place of that we should try to teach people how to do their own research and how to think critically and objectively about the source of news and other content they consume. (Maybe that's too much to hope for.) Either way this trend presents continued opportunities for entrepreneurs as the barriers to entry for news content continue to decrease. In a couple decades I can see at least the possibility of the Huffington Post, Breitbart, and the New York Times all having the same level of credibility (with more or less support among different groups).


The big media organizations have brought this onto themselves.

Take CNN for instance. The entire summer they beat the drums that the world is going to end if the Olympics are allowed to proceed in Brazil because of Zika. Way overblown. And then, after this propaganda exercise, they have the veracity to run an online poll to see how many people are in favor of pulling out of the Olympics.

And they do this with everything. Be it literally shilling for Hillary this entire year or anything else. They have a pretty uphill battle to make themselves trustworthy again.


> the world is going to end if the Olympics are allowed to proceed in Brazil because of Zika

But of course we know this is not true because the world already ended because of ebola.


Ironically, the word "Hysteria" marks this as yet more propaganda in my eyes.

Is it possible they have something useful to say? Anything is possible, but I refuse to let the propaganda consume more of my time (one of its goals) and there are so many great things I could be reading.


Here in Bulgaria we've observed Fake News for at least couple of years.... the nature of those sites (not just a single article in a reputable source) is just to generate outrage with false but legitimately sounding information.

Since this has happened there is a thought trending among people : I disagree with you, so you are paid troll by (CIA|George Soros|Putin/Russia|EU liberals)


Can you tell me what kind of fake news or ideas Bulgarians believe would be sponsored by the CIA? I'm genuinely intrigued to hear that the CIA would be responsible for spreading propaganda in Bulgaria of all places.


Here is a prime example : http://bradva.bg/bg/article/article-70597

Rough tl;dr translation

Title : Report leas about CIA's future plans for Bulgaria. This is what they planned, it's scary!

Body : In 2050 The population will be divided into Bulgarians and Roma. The Roma minority will live in smaller cities/villages under extreme poverty and will attack larger cities for food. Bulgarians will have to travel with military convoys for safety. To prevent this Bulgarians have to start breeding kids with strong nationalistic views (to be read as neo Nazis) and to isolate the Roma into camps.


Wouldn't an article like this be by an ANTI-CIA group and not the actual CIA themselves? I don't see how something like that would be sponsored by the CIA because it paints them in bad light, no?


When people voted last year, they did not vote with facts. They voted with beliefs.

That is true because the published facts cannot be completely relied upon to make a decision. Why? People change! Hillary Clinton's 30 year public service work is a fact. What do you think of it? That is a belief.


> Hillary Clinton's 30 year public service work is a fact.

Is it? IMO all of it was cast into doubt the moment it came out that her foundation is just a front to get money from foreign interests.


Millions of people with tropical diseases were treated thanks to the Clinton Foundation, yet it's all "just a front". Sure.


Yet when she lost, many foreign governments started to pull funding.

Its pretty clear that something suspicious was occurring.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jan/16/clinton-glob...


There's a lot of scrutiny on the present, but the same applies to the origin stories around us.

If history is written by the victors, what did the people who lost have to say? Reading books from the early 20th century for instance shows a society far less backward than some progressive goggles would have you believe. One should never confuse those who complain about things for those who actually intend to fix them.


We are so fucked. Trump supporters are giddy but there is nothing to be happy about even if your preferred policies will be implemented. The thing about the destruction of Democratic institutions is that they are incredibly hard to rebuild. And without them it is a downward spiral from here.




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