Washington Post – Time To Retire Term “Fake News”

Fake News Blow Back Hits Main Stream Media

Last week, on January 12, 2017, we reported that according to Rush Limbaugh, the New York Times was banning the use of the term “fake news”. Today, we learned of a story in the style section of the the Washington Post that appeared on January 8, 2017, calling for the retirement of the term fake news.

The term apparently has been co-opted and used against the Washington Post, NY Times, CNN and other main stream media purveyors of some times fake news for the Washington Post’s liking. Margaret Sullivan, previously a public editor at the New York Times, writing for the Washington Post referenced uses of the term fake news by former Senator Jim DeMint, Info Wars’ Alex Jones and an “arch conservative webstite” (unnamed but linked to Stop the Take Over .org) in her recent column.

For Ms. Sullivan such use by a “tea partier”, a “conspiracy theorist” and an “arch- conservative website”, of the term fake news was enough for her to conclude the term needed to be retired. In the manner of a top PC word police officer, Ms. Sullivan declared that the word fake news needed to removed from the lexicon because it had been co-opted and become removed from its original meaning.

Perhaps, instead the term “fake news” still meets Ms. Sullivan’s definition: “deliberately constructed lies, in the form of news articles, meant to mislead the public”. Look no further than three recent fake news stories published by the Washington Post and cataloged here that arguably meet that definition.

The term “fake news” is not going away. The main stream media weaponized the term fake news and created a Frankenstein. CNN was on the receiving end of a “fake news” truth bomb last week when President- Elect Donald Trump silenced a CNN reporting by calling his organization “fake news”.

You organization is terrible, Quiet, Don’t be Rude, You are FakeNews

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The Washington Post’s Fake News Problem

The Washington Post has a fake news problem. Fake news is not only competition for the Washington Post, but its own affliction. The Washington Post seem to have difficulty refraining from publishing fake news while criticizing others for publishing it.

The Washington Post’s labeling of competing alternative media outlets as “fake news” since the 2016 Presidential election are becoming increasingly ironic.

Debunking Pizzagate

The Washington Post entered the “fake news” fray by attempting to debunk Pizzagate. While the Washington Post examined some of the unproven allegations, it did not conclusively determine with factual analysis that Pizzagate was “fake news”. Rather, the Washington Post simply declared it was fake news, rather than thoroughly debunking the story.

Prop or Not Hoax

Things got worse for the Washington Post’s reputation as a “real news” outlet, when it published accusations that a hundred or so alternative media sites were Russian propaganda outlets that disseminated fake news that helped tip the election to Donald Trump. The Washington Post cited a newly created anonymous group as its source, Prop or Not, which itself did not provide any concrete evidence of any Russian connection. The article was roundly criticized not only by some of the web sites wrongly accused as acting on behalf of the Russians, but also by Rolling Stone and the Intercept.

The Washington Post later added an editor’s note to their “Prop or Not” story indicating that they did not vouch for the accuracy of Prop or Not’s findings.

In other words, the Washington Post published fake news knowingly.

In December, the Washington Post was appointed by Facebook to help it identify fake news coming from fake news outlets, perhaps on the assumption of “takes one to know one”?

Russia’s Hacking of a Vermont Power Grid

The Washington Post’s next brush with fake news occurred in late December and involved their reporting on Russian hacking of a Vermont power grid. The Post published an unverified story that the Russians hacked the Vermont Power Grid. The story turned out to be totally false.

In other words, the Washington Post published fake news negligently.

Rather than add a note to their false power grid hacking story, the Washington Post devoted an entirely new story in early January that confessed “Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility, say people close to investigation

Trump Forces out DC National Guard General

In January, the Washington Post left out key information on the resignation of head of the D.C. National Guard. The Post’s story indicated that “D.C. National Guard, Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, said Friday that he has been ordered removed from his command” effective immediately upon Donald’s Trump’s inauguration at 12:01pm Friday January 20, 2017. Such a move would make the President Elect appear reckless as the National Guard would be without a general for the period of time after Donald Trump was sworn in.

The Washington Post story left out key information regarding the procedural protocol for the General of the D.C. National Guard who traditionally submits his letter of resignation to the incoming President. The Trump administration had offered General Schwartz the opportunity to keep his post through inauguration, but he declined the offer.

In other words, through purposeful omission of key facts or simply shoddy journalism, the Washington Post published fake news, AGAIN.

The main stream media’s assault on alternative media outlets as “fake news” so far has not been a success. The term “fake news” seems to have been co-opted by alternative media who now in turn label main stream media publishers like the Washington Post as “fake news”. Donald Trump’s characterization of CNN as “fake news” at his press conference last week, may have main stream media outlets ruing the day they decided to fight the competition with the term “fake news”.

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New York Times To Ban Term “Fake News”

According to Rush Limbaugh, the New York Times will no longer use the term “fake news”. Seems the left’s “fake news” campaign to discredit alternative competing media outlets has backfired on them. Charges of “fake news” began soon after the Presidential election was over as an excuse for Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

Alternative media bloggers and you tubers leveled charges of “fake news” back at main stream news outlets and created their own fake news outlet list that included the New York Times, the Washington Post (for peddling the prop or not and Russian hacking of a Vermont power plant fake news stories) and CNN.

But no “fake news” charge was delivered so decisively as when Donald Trump yesterday silenced CNN reporter Dan Acosta by telling him his news organization was terrible and “fake news”.

BOOM!

It can only get worse from here for the main stream media, so the New York Times has chosen to cut its losses and stop using the term fake news.

Perhaps President Trump can call a reporter “racist” at his next news conference?

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Trump Calls Buzzfeed -Pile of Garbage; CNN – Fake News

Donald Trump had no patience for CNN’ Jim Acosta at today’s press conference.

You organization is terrible, Quiet, Don’t be Rude, You are FakeNews

Early, the President-Elect trashed Buzzfeed for publishing an unsubstantiated story as a “failing pile of garbage”.

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Who Will Fact Check the Fact Checkers?

The fake issue of fake news get more ironic by the day. Facebook recently announced that they were going to censor fake news by employing a cadre of left wing fact checkers.

In order for fake news censoring to achieve the near impossible task of gaining and retaining credibility, the fact checkers must be viewed as impartial and have an impeccable record of objective factually correct reporting. Even with such credentials, a small group of selected fact checkers by an entity like Facebook that already has shown its political bias, face an uphill battle.

That hill just got steeper. Last week, one of the fact checkers selected by Facebook, the two person left wing biased, Snopes was caught in an embarrassing factual snafu involving charges of embezzlement and prostitution, not the types of activity that build confidence in a fact checker. Read more.

See also Who Will Fact Check Facebook’s Fact Checkers

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Obama To Russians: Cut it Out

Obama Joins The Battle Against Russian Hacking and Fake News

Last week, President Obama gave a press conference on the issue of Russian interference in the U.S. election. The President noted that Russia hacked among other things, John Podesta’s emails and released mundane information like Mr. Podesta’s risotto recipes. The intention of this hacking and interference was to tip the election to Donald Trump.

Stop Sharing our Risotto Recipes!

Apparently, the onslaught of the release of mundane information from John Podesta’s emails by the Russians, did tip the election. The Power of Risotto! The President told the press corp before jetting off to his final golf vacation of his Presidency, that when he became aware of Russian hacking, he told Russian President Vladimir Putin to “cut it out”.

Stern words indeed!

While governments, including the United States, often attempt overt and covert ways of influencing other governments’ elections, it seems this year such interference has taken on heightened importance at the White House, given the outcome. “Fake news” has also become a national emergency for Democrats and the corporate media.

We wonder what conclusions a CIA under President Trump will make about the influence of Russian interference in U.S. elections and how a President Trump will treat the corporate media who have blamed “fake news” for his election.

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Slate: Stop Calling Everything Fake News

It took years for constant overuse and inappropriate use of terms “racist” and “sexist” to lose their sting. Incessant use of the term “fake news” has already lost its sting after about a month. But that isn’t stopping main stream media outlets, spurred on by Hillary Clinton and other left wing organizations to “do something about it.

number-of-articles-in-the-new-york-times-referencing-fake-news
Through November, fake news references in the New York Times were up 531% in 2016 over last year.

There is factually incorrect news properly termed “fake news”, there is satire and there is news that expresses views and presents information in a manner contrary to, and often more widely read, than the main stream media’s news, which itself often contains factually incorrect information and is highly opinionated. The main stream media’s complaint appears to be mostly with the more widely read media outlets that report a contrary narrative to their own.

Will Oremus writing for Slate notes “The way to combat actual fakery in journalism is to keep the definition narrow enough that reasonable people across the political spectrum can agree on what does and does not meet the criteria.” It does not seem, however, that the main stream media is really interested in eliminating fake news, but rather silencing their right wing media competitors.

If indeed the main stream media was serious about fighting fake news, Mr. Oremus takes a sensible approach to combating fake news that starts with an admonition of “Stop Calling Everything Fake News.”

READ MORE

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AP Joins Left Wing Battle To Fight Fake news

AP has become the latest news organization to join the cadre of left-leaning news outlets in the fight against “fake news”. Yesterday we reported that Facebook would be joining forces with left-wing groups to fact check and censor fake news. AP announced that it would work with Facebook to “help identify and debunk trending “news” stories being shared online that are false.”

The fake news furor seems to only be shared by main stream media outlets that are losing market share and influence. These same news organizations seem also to be inordinately upset about “PizzaGate”.

AP posted a photo at the bottom of their announcement that they were joining the fight against fake news. The photo showed flowers and notes left at Comet Ping Pong Restaurant, the center of the PizzaGate conspiracy theory, one of which that read “Fake News is Not Ok”.

AP captioned the photo: “A fake news story prompted a man to fire a rifle inside the popular pizza place…”

READ AP’S FIGHT AGAINST FAKE NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT

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FaceBook to Fact Check Fake News

Facebook to Use Left-Wing Organization and Left Leaning Main Stream Media Fact Checkers

In an Orwellian move that many media experts suspect is nothing more than an attempt to silence opposing views and competitive media outlets, Facebook announced that it will enlist the aid of several main stream media outlets to help it fact check articles.

Facebook announced that it will use a fact checking code drafted by The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), an organization hosted by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. The Poynter Institute, according to Breitbart is funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, and the National Endowment for Democracy, entities all openly favorable to left-wing causes and the Democratic party.

Other Facebook fact checkers include Snopes, ABC News and The Washington Post- all left leaning organizations.

How it will work

Facebook announced that it will address hoaxes and fake news by:

  • Easier reporting
  • Fake news can be reported to Facebook by clicking on the upper right hand corner of each post.

  • Flagging Stories as Disputed
  • Fake stories will be flagged. Facebook users can still share these stories but they will be flagged with a warning that the story has been disputed.

  • Informed Sharing
  • Facebook will introduce signals into helping to identify fake news. If people read articles and don’t share it, that may be a sign that the article misled the reader. There are many reasons why people may not share a story (not interesting?) that have nothing to do with the veracity of the content.

  • Disrupting Financial Incentives for Spammer
  • Facebook will identify publishers where they detect ‘policy enforcement actions might be necessary.’

The Facebook action against fake news is not a voluntary opt in filter but a site-wide mandated Facebook”feature”. If users wish to have every piece of information vetted by a third party, then the Facebook fake news filter will satisfy them. If not, other platforms that don’t engage in overt and biased censorship of information will most likely come on line and thrive.

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NY Times Urges Social Media Companies’ Aid in Fighting Fake News

Yesterday, we reported that the main stream media wants social media platforms to identify and, if possible, ban what they deem to be “fake news”. The New York Times CEO went one step further in the battle on fake news. In a speech earlier this week to the Detroit Economic Club, New York Times Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson plead directly to search and social media platforms to do more to help the NY Times and other main stream outlets that report “real news”.

Calls PizzaGate “poisonous nonsense”

Before making a plea for assistance from social media companies, Mr. Thompson pointed out the dangers of fake news using PizzaGate as an example. Mr. Thompson noted that the “poisonous nonsense” of PizzaGate was an example of fake news amid a torrent of such fake stories that have been flooding the Internet.

“Widely Accepted” that Russians Hacked Podesta’s Emails

Mr. Thompson also repeated the claim that not only is fake news a danger, but that foreign actors have a vested interest in disseminating fake news. “It is now widely accepted [emphasis added] that it was Russian hackers who broke into John Podesta’s emails and gave them to Wikileaks, beginning the chain of events that led to Pizzagate, ” said Mr. Thompson.

It is also not “widely accepted” that Russian hackers broke into John Podesta’s emails. Theories as to who or how Mr. Podesta’s email was hacked range from a disgrunteld DNC staffer, to a lost phone and an weak password on his Google account. What may be considered as “widely accepted” is that Russian actors attempted to hack a variety of Republican and Democratic Party systems, but no one has been able to say with certainty that John Podesta’s email was broke into by Russian hackers. What the New York Times’ role might be in preventing foreign hacking was unclear from Mr. Thompson’s comments.

The Plea

Mr. Thompson concluded his speech with a plea that “the big search and social companies must do more to sustain the economics of real journalism.” He also noted that the New York Times would benefit from more paid subscribers arguing that real journalism cost money and “consumer will have to pay for it.”

What happens if not enough consumers want to pay for the New York Times? Does “real news” therefore die? Or, does another news entity capable of turning a profit take their place?

Read Mark Thompson’s Speech and Recommendations

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