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.
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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