The Fake Attack on “Fake News”
From Frontpage Mag:
Remember when Hillary Clinton won a landslide victory? The fake news media which predicted it in order to depress pro-Trump voter turnout certainly does. And so they’re out to fight “fake news.”Read the entire article.
By fake news, they don’t mean their own raging torrent of misinformation and lies.
The media has gone to war against Facebook. While various supporters have blamed Hillary’s loss on everything from the FBI to internalized misogyny, the media has decided that Facebook is to blame.
Cable news is dying. Newspapers struggle online and offline. The mainstream media’s profitability lives and dies by social media. But the essence of social media is that it allows communities to shape what they see. That’s a terrifying idea if you’re a media conglomerate that depends on its megaphone.
But it’s also scary if you’re a leftist running for office in a country that doesn’t agree with your views.
Obama blamed “messaging” for the election results. But messaging requires being able to reach people. And that means clearing competitive voices out of the social media space by banning conservatives.
The war on conservative media is being conducted under the guise of banishing “fake news” from Facebook. But the fake news devil is in the details. Fake news can mean satire sites like the Onion or the Daily Currant. It can mean foreign clickbait sites that invent fake news. But it can also mean sites from outside the mainstream media whose stories are contested by the left for partisan reason.
The war on fake news is a smoke screen for a campaign against conservative media. And it’s easy to see that it’s conservative sites that are the real target of the Facebook book burners.
Buzzfeed, which depends heavily on Facebook traffic, has fed the “fake news” hysteria. Its list of “fake news” sites includes “hyperpartisan” sites. Its story contrasting “legitimate” mainstream media outlets, a category that somehow includes the Huffington Post, with a variety of right-leaning sites is a major piece of supporting evidence used in the fake news crusade.
Considering BuzzFeed’s history of fake news stories that fit its political narrative, it has no credibility fact checking anyone else. Examinations of BuzzFeed’s own methodology for its fake news article tore it into tiny little shreds. Its claim that fake news outperformed real news turned out to be… fake.
But what’s more important is how quickly the goal posts have been moved from fake news to conservative news, from fraudulent sites to fighting “clickbait” or “hyperpartisan” sites. And it’s clear that these are largely a euphemism for sites on the right that are outperforming the media.
USA Today and the Los Angeles Times promoted a list of “fake news” sites that included a variety of mainstream conservative sites including RedState, IJR and the Blaze. BuzzFeed targeted RightWingNews.
Fake news, like fact checking, has very obviously become a euphemism for attacking the politics that the left disagrees with by dressing up partisan agendas in fake concerns about journalism and civic virtue.
This goes far beyond namecalling. The goal is to ban conservative sites from social media. Or at least to penalize them in ways that will make it difficult for them to compete with the mainstream media.
There are obvious ideological and financial motives behind this war on “fake news.” The financial motives are grossly blatant. The loudest media voices in this war, BuzzFeed, HuffPo and Vox, depend heavily on social media traffic for their own hyperpartisan factually challenged clickbait.
The Washington Examiner gave some examples of what the Buzzfeed “study” considered the top “real news” stories:
Here’s the top “Real News” stories: “Trump’s history of corruption is mind-boggling. So why is Clinton supposedly the corrupt one?” As the headline suggests, this is a liberal opinion piece, complaining that the media doesn’t report enough on Trump’s scandals.Three conclusions can be drawn from all this. First, liberals are seeking a rationalization for why their candidate lost. They cannot admit that Clinton was a terribly flawed candidate. They cannot admit that their snobbish elitism was recognized, and rejected, by voters. If this evil fake news could have been controlled, the obviously correct candidate would have won, they believe.
No. 2 is “Stop Pretending You Don’t Know Why People Hate Hillary Clinton.” This is a rambling screed claiming that people only dislike Clinton because she is a woman.
The No. 3 “Real News” story is “Melania Trump’s Girl-on-Girl Photos From Racy Shoot Revealed,” published at the New York Post.
To be clear, the journalists gnashing their teeth about “Fake Election News” winning would have been less concerned if “Melania Trump’s Girl-on-Girl Photos” had received more clicks.
If this study shows something it’s that the biggest fake news stories get a ton of Facebook engagement — maybe more than the biggest real election stories. (I say “maybe,” because maybe there were stories with more engagement at places like AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, the Miami Herald, the Chicago Tribune, the Dallas Morning News, Yahoo News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Houston Chronicle, or any of the thousand other news sources not included in the BuzzFeed study.)
Second, the Mainstream Media, and liberals generally, long for the bygone days when a few gatekeepers decided what was news, and what was true, and how events should be understood. They hate having to complete with alternative conservative sources over these issues, and hate that ordinary citizens on social media can entirely undermine the mainstream narrative.
Finally, this is an example of the ugly authoritarianism of contemporary liberalism. Indeed, it is significant that liberals will not call themselves “liberals,” since they have abandoned, in huge numbers, the central doctrine of classical liberalism. As propounded by Jefferson: “we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
Liberals increasing insist they need not tolerate error. And they believe themselves authorized to decide what is in error.