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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Fake News on the Left

Oliver Darcy writes at Business Insider:
Since Trump's unexpected victory over Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee for president, many in the media have focused on the prevalence of "fake news" and how it could have swayed some individuals to vote for the Republican businessman.
Conservatives have met the narrative with extreme skepticism. They argue that, while not fabricated out of thin air, much of the news reported by the so-called mainstream media is inaccurate or, as they characterize it, its own form of "fake news."
For instance, many incidents in which minorities said they were harassed by Trump supporters in the immediate aftermath of the election were given significant attention by the media and treated with little skepticism.
Only after such stories went viral was it revealed that some of the accusers had fabricated tales of abuse. By then, it was too late. The stories had already exhausted their time in the news cycle, and corrections almost never achieve the viral reach of an original post. Those false claims often diminish the credibility of legitimate hate-crime reports.
"Conservatives have blind spots, liberals have blind spots, but working together they can keep each other accountable," said Alex Griswold, an editor at Mediaite.
Griswold, for instance, suggested that it was difficult for members of the media to "police" fake news on the left because the press corps is largely made up of liberals. Alternatively, when it comes to fake news on the right, "there aren't many conservatives in the media to fall for it."
"There are basically no reporters who would believe Hillary Clinton killed a DNC staffer, because basically no reporters have that visceral a hatred for Clinton," he said, referring to aconspiracy theory circulated in 2016 by fringe far-right websites.
"But more than a few would buy into the idea that Trump/Putin rigged the vote in Wisconsin," Griswold continued. "As a result, only one of those zany views ended up being parroted by the mainstream and established media."
If newsrooms included reporters with more varied political perspectives, he argued, more stories would undergo greater scrutiny, a necessity in the current rapid-fire news environment.