It appears that the political left has decided that “fake news” is a big fat scapegoat that they can saddle up, then spur the hairy beast into a final götterdämmerung battle-ride against the Trump-Hitler. Thankfully there are a few highly informed people talking sense on the matter of “fake news”, albeit while being drowned out by the ongoing hysteria. Here are three such…
Backchannel: According to Snopes, Fake News Is Not the Problem…
“Take it from the Internet’s chief myth busters: The problem is the failing media.”
The American Interest: “Fake News” Is the New “Bregret”.
The Register: The Facebook ‘Fake News’ Moral Panic. Just a second…
National Review: Buzzfeed’s ‘Fake News’ Study – Methodology Questioned
M&G: The surprising origins of ‘post-truth’ – and how it was spawned by the liberal left
I would add that the ‘fake news’ panic is a typical leftist tactical manoeuvre, in which they spot a real emerging concern — then latch onto it in order to project their own failings onto their political enemies. In this case, such a manoeuvre serves to deflect scrutiny of the outright lies and shifting half-truths that the far-left have been experts at purveying since the 1930s.
Incidentally, I see that one of the several “block ‘fake news’ posts from Facebook” add-ons, for Web browsers, uses an obviously biased URL list. The blocklist gives a free pass to sites like Russia Today (RT) and the Huffington Post, while blocking politically mainstream-right news aggregators like Independent Journal Review, Breitbart and Drudge. One may not like the megaphone tendencies of such news sites, but so far as I can tell they are no more likely to link to satire stories than Google News is. Once the partisanship of this sort of block list gets exposed in the media, expect the left to turn around and psychologically ‘project’ — probably by trying to claim that it’s ‘actually right-wing sites that are shills for Putin’.
I’ve been thinking a bit about the need for personal news filters recently, in terms of toning down the mainstream media’s relentless focus on disaster, crime, trivial/celebrity, staged and ‘feigned taking-offence’ news. Such filters are needed, if only to hack through the jungle and get to the important news and analysis. I’m still formulating ideas on such, and am not yet really for a post on the matter. But I think that one of the key things we can all do is to ask news sites to offer RSS feeds, which at least keeps the whole news ecosystem loose and flowing easily. This whole “sign up to our private mailing-list” thing, while not offering a public RSS news-feed, is vile. Thankfully there are services run for free by various beneficent WebGods. Such as Five Filters which lets you get an RSS feed from any site. And Feed2JS which lets you easily plug that feed into your blog sidebar or homepage.