Media Literacy and Fake News (1 Viewer)

Beach Friends

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If you're going to accuse CNN of bias, it's only fair to point out the bias of your preferred media. If you can prove lack of bias, do so.
You didn't point out any bias, you just made an accusation.

Now that I think about, your first post didn't even rise to the level of a whataboutism.
 

SaintForLife

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Yes, the right doesn't engage in unsavory and unfair tactics at all. Calling unfavorable coverage "fake news," labeling all democrats socialists, and the non-right media as "enemies of the country" is not at all comparable to the "new age McCarthyism" of the left.

And if you're sharing FB posts put there by Russians, you are by definition pushing Russian propaganda. But no one is accusing anyone here of being Russian agents or working with Russia. Come on.
When you said "the right" don't you mean Trump? That's one person compared to many on the left and in the media that engage in the new age Mccarthyism.
 

not2rich

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When you said "the right" don't you mean Trump? That's one person compared to many on the left and in the media that engage in the new age Mccarthyism.
Not just Trump. When he has 90% support of your party, "Trump" and "GOP" are basically the same thing.
 

not2rich

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You didn't point out any bias, you just made an accusation.

Now that I think about, your first post didn't even rise to the level of a whataboutism.
Your post didn't point out any bias either. Just made an accusation. With some other person's tweet of a video that was, frankly, unintelligible.
 

SaintForLife

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If you're going to accuse CNN of bias, it's only fair to point out the bias of your preferred media. If you can prove lack of bias, do so.
If you are going to criticize Trump then it's only fair that you criticize Democrats.
 

not2rich

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If you are going to criticize Trump then it's only fair that you criticize Democrats.
You're going to have to explain how comparisons of media bias are analogous to Trump v. Democrats. If you can, great. If not, quit trying to deflect.
 

SaintForLife

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You're going to have to explain how comparisons of media bias are analogous to Trump v. Democrats. If you can, great. If not, quit trying to deflect.
I was just trying to show how silly it is to try to get someone to follow your personal made up message board rules.
 

samiam5211

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If you are going to criticize Trump then it's only fair that you criticize Democrats.
Trump is a pathetic liar who has duped his supporters into giving him the power to use our government to enrich himself and his family.

The Democrats have been embarrassingly weak in their fight against Trump. They should be shaming every other elected official who is enabling Trump, and openly questioning whether or not these congressmen are being paid or blackmailed by Trump.

Did I do it right?
 

RobF

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There was a striking example of media literacy and fake news that came up in the last few days of the UK general election.

On Sunday, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported a case of a child taken to hospital with suspected pneumonia having to sleep on a pile of coats on the floor as the hospital was overwhelmed. Note that the journalists contacted the hospital before publishing, who confirmed the story, including the lack of a bed for the child. Their confirmation and apology was included in the original reporting.

The story, and photo, then went viral.

And then came the fake news.

A Facebook account posted this: "Very interesting. A good friend of mine is a senior nursing sister at Leeds Hospital – the boy shown on the floor by the media was in fact put there by his mother who then took photos on her mobile phone and uploaded it to media outlets before he climbed back onto his trolley. He was on a hospital trolley in the paediatric [accident and emergency] having been seen within 20 minutes. I am a nurse myself and am so pissed off with fake news, yes the NHS is a mess mainly caused by people misusing it and lack of elderly care. Think of the nurses and Doctors who are doing their jobs instead of constantly slagging them off. another Momentum Propaganda story. Disgraceful."

Bear in mind, there was zero chance of that being true; the original account had already been confirmed by the hospital. But that didn't matter. This false claim, the actual fake news, went viral too. And not just the original Facebook comment. A number of accounts on Facebook and twitter simply reposted the comment as their own, while others posted variations; another viral one was, "I’m a former paediatric A&E and PICU nurse and that child has a style of O2 mask in front of him that requires 6-8l/min to inflate like that. If a child needed that amount of O2 they’d be in resus for proper monitoring. He’d also have a cannula and be propped head up." This was amplified by political candidates and national paper columnists, with thousands of retweets, as screenshotted by this Buzzfeed UK reporter:


Again, there was zero possibility of these facebook and twitter comments being accurate, the story was confirmed by the hospital right from the outset. This was trivial to verify.

But the editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post still found himself being emailed by someone expressing their disappointment in his paper and hoping they'd retract their verified and entirely accurate story:


The editor wrote a great response, which you can read here: https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/health/do-not-believe-a-stranger-on-social-media-who-disappears-into-the-night-an-open-letter-from-our-editor-to-you-1-10147697

In the end, the original poster of the Facebook comment claimed they were hacked and tweets were deleted. But there will still be plenty of people out there who believe the photo wasn't real. And the very real story, which illustrates some very real problems that should be addressed, bubbled up and then drowned in a sea of fake news. It doesn't matter that the fake news is shown to be fake, it still distracts, it still takes the focus, it still destroys the original story.

So. How do we fix this?
 
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MT15

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So, what was the motivation for the actual fake stories? Why were they created?

I think you have to understand the reasons for a problem before you can begin to figure out how to counteract it.
 

Nebaghead

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There was a striking example of media literacy and fake news that came up in the last few days of the UK general election.

On Sunday, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported a case of a child taken to hospital with suspected pneumonia having to sleep on a pile of coats on the floor as the hospital was overwhelmed. Note that the journalists contacted the hospital before publishing, who confirmed the story, including the lack of a bed for the child. Their confirmation and apology was included in the original reporting.

The story, and photo, then went viral.

And then came the fake news.

A Facebook account posted this: "Very interesting. A good friend of mine is a senior nursing sister at Leeds Hospital – the boy shown on the floor by the media was in fact put there by his mother who then took photos on her mobile phone and uploaded it to media outlets before he climbed back onto his trolley. He was on a hospital trolley in the paediatric [accident and emergency] having been seen within 20 minutes. I am a nurse myself and am so pissed off with fake news, yes the NHS is a mess mainly caused by people misusing it and lack of elderly care. Think of the nurses and Doctors who are doing their jobs instead of constantly slagging them off. another Momentum Propaganda story. Disgraceful."

Bear in mind, there was zero chance of that being true; the original account had already been confirmed by the hospital. But that didn't matter. This false claim, the actual fake news, went viral too. And not just the original Facebook comment. A number of accounts on Facebook and twitter simply reposted the comment as their own, while others posted variations; another viral one was, "I’m a former paediatric A&E and PICU nurse and that child has a style of O2 mask in front of him that requires 6-8l/min to inflate like that. If a child needed that amount of O2 they’d be in resus for proper monitoring. He’d also have a cannula and be propped head up." This was amplified by political candidates and national paper columnists, with thousands of retweets, as screenshotted by this Buzzfeed UK reporter:


Again, there was zero possibility of these facebook and twitter comments being accurate, the story was confirmed by the hospital right from the outset. This was trivial to verify.

But the editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post still found himself being emailed by someone expressing their disappointment in his paper and hoping they'd retract their verified and entirely accurate story:


The editor wrote a great response, which you can read here: https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/health/do-not-believe-a-stranger-on-social-media-who-disappears-into-the-night-an-open-letter-from-our-editor-to-you-1-10147697

In the end, the original poster of the Facebook comment claimed they were hacked and tweets were deleted. But there will still be plenty of people out there who believe the photo wasn't real. And the very real story, which illustrates some very real problems that should be addressed, bubbled up and then drowned in a sea of fake news. It doesn't matter that the fake news is shown to be fake, it still distracts, it still takes the focus, it still destroys the original story.

So. How do we fix this?
The same thing happened with the Boston Marathon Bombing. After the fact it was Russian bots that were identified as propagating a false narrative. I can’t remember the details off hand but if you google Russian bots and misinformation Boston Marathon, there are a lot of articles from reputable sources about what happened.
 

RobF

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So, what was the motivation for the actual fake stories? Why were they created?

I think you have to understand the reasons for a problem before you can begin to figure out how to counteract it.
I think we do understand it, at least broadly. The possible motivations are political and psychological.

The original story and the image were harmful to the current ruling party seeking re-election. So they and their supporters are politically motivated to undermine it.

Then, people who are emotionally invested both in supporting the government and the NHS are also motivated to undermine the story, and/or inclined to believe stories that undermine it, since otherwise they would have to address a contradiction.

That is, for example, if you have the beliefs, "I support my party.", "I support my healthcare system.", and "I would not support a party that is failing my healthcare system," then if you introduce a story that adds the statement, "My party is failing our healthcare system." then you now have a contradiction and for some people, depending on how invested they are in those beliefs, the easiest way to resolve that contradiction is, "The story is false and my party is not failing my healthcare system." Or "fake news!" in other words. This is essentially the belief disconfirmation response to cognitive dissonance.

And then there's trolling.

But if we take those as the motivations, I'm not sure how that helps to figure out how to counteract it. Because both of those have always been problems. But previously the impact was limited by measures present in the means of dissemination and consequent trust. To falsely refute a story like this thirty years ago, the party or their supporters would have had to get a newspaper or other media entity to publish a false story, and that's potentially quite a hurdle to overcome. Even now, the majority of those media entities will not typically publish a story they know to be false and that can be easily verified as such (that is not to say they're angels; they might bury the story, or attempt to downplay it, but they will not typically simply publish outright false information to discredit it).

But instant publication by the masses to the masses breaks that. There is no checking before publication. The false information will be published and disseminated to the masses. And while that's happening, it simultaneously breaks down trust in the established media that might actually check sources and serve to refute the false information. The false information will ultimately be refuted through the same means, as well as by the established mass media, but at that point damage has already been done.

I don't know how we fix that.
 

MT15

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I don’t think there is an easy answer. As with any time humanity faces some sort of upheaval, we will have to figure out new solutions. And mass communication like we have now is certainly a huge upheaval.

Maybe we regulate the social media platforms, somehow. At least hold them to some sort of standard, much like print journalism was eventually. So if a platform hosts a lie, they have some sort of liability for reasonable penalties. Give them an incentive to at least attempt to keep their platforms clean.

Maybe there should be greater transparency so that you have to speak responsibly because everyone knows who you are. You cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theater, for example, and you shouldn’t be able to do that on social media and then melt away into anonymity and just start a new account. I don’t mean that everyone knows who you are, but maybe social media accounts shouldn’t be as easy to shed as an old pair of sneakers. Maybe bots need stricter controls.

Maybe we just have to double down on education in media literacy. I hold out this as the ideal solution, but at the same time I’m least hopeful about it, because human nature.

Maybe the “blue check marks” should be held to a higher standard than just regular folks on social media. If you are an “influencer” or make your living with social media, you shouldn’t be pushing harmful lies.

Obviously there are issues with all of these proposals. Maybe insurmountable obstacles.
 

samiam5211

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I don’t think we’re going to really fix this problem. We will grow out of it over time.

Most of the people living today were born into a world where there were only a handful of news sources. For better or worse, people were all working with the same information. People could actually discuss their opinions with each other because at least differing opinions were based on the same facts.

Allowing the market to supply news has led to variety like it does with cereal or anything else. Variety isn’t always a good thing. If I don’t like what I hear on the news I can change the channel until I get a version of the truth that makes me feel comfortable.

Social media has exploded this problem. Bots can get a fake story trending, and our friends list does the rest. If Bob from church posts something I may be more likely to believe it since I know Bob and he’s an honest guy. Especially if the fake story Bob posted reinforces what I want to believe.

We are going through an era similar to after the invention of the printing press, and society is going to have a few generations of growing pains. Lucky us.
 

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