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Mainstream Media: The Historic Purveyors of Fake News

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 9:04
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Fake news are not new and neither is its progenitor, Yellow Journalism. Mainstream media have been, for a long time, the largest purveyors of fake news. No one can debate such a reality. Indeed, fake news go a longer way and spread faster than real news. It is just a matter of watching CNN for a few minutes to realize how easily fake news are put out and broadcast to thousands in 30 seconds. In the last 30 years, wars have been promoted and advertised by the most recognised news outlets around the world. From the BBC to CNN, from FOX News to PBS, from MSNBC to ABC, from EL PAÍS to TVE, most mainstream megaphones have played a significant role in spreading “official” versions of reality, which in most cases were just fake news. Somehow, however, fake news is now attached to alternative media, who are key in providing an alternative source of information to the corporate-controlled fake news. Alternative media have given corporate media such a run for their money that corporate news sources are now openly attacking alternative media. Censorship is the most common way of banning real news from being internationally discussed. All Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Google impose bans on alternative media on a daily basis. Video channels and accounts are blacked out without previous warnings or without showing valid reasons. Explanations for the attacks are as simple as “you have violated our publishing policies”, whatever that means. Today, the mainstream media and governments who control them, label fake news anything that does not support the official story, no matter how extraordinarily fake that official story is. The latest example of fake news are so-called lone wolf mass shootings in the US. Local and federal law enforcement, as well as mainstream media, push versions of reality that are difficult to believe. According to them, lone shooters are responsible for killing dozens of people in churches and schools, though witnesses always explain that several shooters were seen in military or police gear riddling unarmed children and parishioners. While calling for more gun control, the mainstream media blame conservatives, gun owners and pro-gun organizations for the shootings, as they demand that the population be disarmed. Coincidentally, all mass shootings take place in heavily disarmed areas and the cities with the strictest gun control policies are the hardest hit by mass shootings. The media also refused to touch the mental health issue even though most shooters are mentally ill people under the effect of pharmaceuticals. But it gets even worse. The media, in most cases, refuse to report that most mass shooters were already under surveillance by local and federal law enforcement agencies, but that somehow, they escaped police radars to carry out the shootings. It has been only after the arrival of President Donald Trump to the White House that mainstream media have been exposed for what they are: an assembly line of fake news. According to an article published in the journal Science, false information is disseminated “significantly farther, faster, deeper and more widely” than real news in all categories of information, and the effects are more pronounced when it comes to false political news more than in other areas that are also impressive or controversial, such as terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends or financial information. Why is it that no one ever questioned fake news produced by mainstream media before? Because no one knew how fake their information was. False information receives 70% more retweets than the truthful ones, that is to say, that the users share them much more among their followers, helping to multiply their diffusion. From the detailed analysis of 126,000 affirmations spread on Twitter between 2006 and 2017, researchers have discovered that lies, moreover, succeed because they often provoke responses of fear, outrage and surprise. The diffusion of falsehoods was favored by its virality, when infected with equals. At the other extreme, truthful statements took six times longer to reach 1,500 people than to the hoaxes. The political lies are not only shared more, they run like wildfire: they reach more than 20,000 people almost three times faster than it takes the rest of false news to reach 10,000 individuals, as calculated in this work. “Falsehood spreads farther and faster than the truth despite these differences, not because of them,” the study says. Just imagine. The mainstream media have been at the top of the pyramid for a hundred years, so they are deeply rooted in the core of a mindless society that used to believe everything they reported. But now, things are different. Whereas it was thought that the media were responsible for keeping the government in check, now, alternative media keep both deceitful mainstream media and government in check. The authors of the study come to a very striking conclusion about bots, those automated fraudulent accounts whose purpose is to deceive or generate confusion: “Contrary to what is believed, robots accelerated the spread of true and fake news at the same rate, which implies that fake news is spread more than the truth because humans, not robots, are more likely to spread it.” Those humans include news presenters and their so-called panels of “experts”. Unfortunately, the direct result of the discovery of fake news, most of which is created and distributed by mainstream media, has been a generalized call for censorship, instead of having a discussion about real issues. Mainstream media, especially extreme Left outlets, attach […]

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