Fake News and Poisonous Media: A Self-Made Punishment

Fake News and Poisonous Media: A Self-Made Punishment

We have entered a world where the media cannot be trusted. The media are seen to be liars. To be biased to the left. From the reporters, the topics, to the fact-checkers. Why is that? Why is that a problem? The truth is that fake news is a problem made by the media. It acts in a dishonest manner; now no-one believes them. Let me explain how.

Imagine a world where Donald Trump seems reasonable. In January, 2017, Donald Trump stood in a room of reporters, where the CNN reporter Jim Acosta refused to allow another journalist to speak. Trump tells the reporter that he is rude, to sit down, and finally, ‘you are fake news’ (Trump, 2017). He wasn’t the first person to use this phrase; he wasn’t even the first U.S. Presidential 2016 candidate to use this phrase (this honour belongs to Hillary Clinton) (BBC, 2018).

Source: CNN (2018)

Source: CNN (2018)

This isn’t even the first time in history that people believe that the media is biased; Groseclose and Milyo (2005) write about the time during the Bush administration, admittedly of a right-wing government supported by a right-wing media for the Iraq war.

A biased media is a threat to democracy. A closed media is unable to inform the citizens of  a country of the doings of the government; they are a necessary check on the government, and a media controlled by the government is a media that is a poison in the minds of the people. In this vein, a media controlled by a single ideology is a media whom is poisoning the dialogue, but more importantly, destroying the trust necessary for the media to perform its function as a check against the government. Left wing media may feel it is doing what is necessary for the ‘greater good’: instead, it is poisoning the well. When true evil comes, and evil acts are done, the people will not believe them, and they will not want to listen. If everyone is Hitler, how can you tell when Hitler is here? If Farage and Trump are truly similar to Hitler, then the media are the reason they were elected; Farage’s recent successes can be found here. We learned the lesson about the boy who cried wolf when we are children, yet it seems that everyone has forgotten it.

It seems undoubtedly self-evident that the media is biased. A report from Lott and Hassett (2014) found that nine in ten media companies report about economic news more favourably if the President was Democrat, and more negatively if the President was Republican.

One of the media’s favourite report on fake news, and often quoted by the BBC (a supposedly non-partisan organisation that skews heavily left-wing; next to the Economist, Politico, and Huffington Post according to Mitchell et al., [2014]) is: 

“Selective Exposure to Misinformation: Evidence from the consumption of fake news during the 2016 U.S. presidential election”
— (Guess. et al., 2018).

This is the report that people use to suggest that Facebook is the main avenue for ‘fake news’, and that the majority of ‘Russian interference’ came from Facebook. This is the report people use.

This report highlights the bias of the academia, and the media that is referencing it. Firstly, this website heavily references Buzzfeed three times as a source (Guess et al, 2018). The Pew Research Centre (Mitchell et. al., 2014) places Buzzfeed as untrusted by both conservatives and liberals; yet they are the most referenced source in this report. Non-partisan watchdog AllSides (2018) provides a low-confidence left-leaning bias from a sample size of over 8,000 people; an editorial review found not a single right-wing opinion or perspective. Amusingly, even the report itself puts Buzzfeed in one of the top website that fake news consumers visit (Guess et al., 2014). From Mitchel et al., (2014) below:

Source: Mitchell at al, (2014)

Source: Mitchell at al, (2014)

The Fact-Checkers Are Biased

Notice that Buzzfeed sits far left; the Guardian that is also used is further left. These are both sources used in this report (Guess et al., 2014). They also decide which sites are fake news based off of four fact checkers:

1. Politifact

In Allsides (2019a), Politifact is a left-leaning organisation (with low confidence rating; N=3000+). One report from Politifact by Greenberg (2014) stated a claim by Ben Shapiro is false; despite the fact that Ben Shapiro used non-partisan Pew Research data directly from the report; they said it was false simply because they didn’t like the answers.

2. factcheck.org

In Allsides (2019b), factcheck.org is placed as a non-partisan party (with low confidence rating; N=8000+). We can regard this as a non-partisan organisation. Note that it regards both Politifact and Snopes as non-partisan.

3. Snopes

Leetaru (2016) held a series of conversations with the founder of Snopes, David Mikkelson. He found that Snopes held people who ran for democratic office, he was unable to disclose the procedure of fact-checking that Snopes used, his hiring standards were low, that Snopes does not encourage diversity of opinion in hiring, but hires for a strong partisan opinion, nor does Snopes ask for comment from the accused or have a process for appeals. Knight of the Washington Times (2018) provides an example of Snopes having directly lied regarding a law in California on a conservative issue.

4. Washington Post Fact Checker

In the Pew Research Report (Mitchell et al, 2014), the Washington Post is left-wing. In Allsides (2019c), the Washington Post is left-leaning with high confidence (N=37,000+). The Washington Post has never endorsed a Republican Presidential candidate. The Washington Post has endorsed 9 Democratic Presidential candidates. In Groseclose and Milyo (2005), the Washington Post was ranked 16 out of 20 furthest from the centre, meaning only 4 more publications were more left-wing than the Washington Post. In light of three out of four fact checkers having a strong and clear left-wing bias, is it any wonder that 88% of Trump supporters believe they skew the facts (Rasmussen Reports, 2016)? Not only that, but 69% non-affiliated voters believe the same?

These fact checkers are more important than you think. If the fact-checkers are biased, then the news that checks facts will be poisoned. People will know that it is skewed, and they will not listen anymore. We will enter an age of controlled media; not by government, but by ideology. What is the long term effect of that? When people cannot speak the truth, what will happen? I’m sure we’ve all read 1984.

Everything RIght of Me is Fake News

As we can see, this report asks left-wing organisations to decide what is real news, and what is fake news? Surprisingly, everything that is more right wing than Fox news is fake news. Hillary Clinton, Presidential Democratic Candidate for 2016 is now seen as too right-wing (Stevens et. al., 2018). Therefore, the findings that ‘Trump supporters’ read fake news would make sense, if anything right wing is fake news, and Trump is certainly no left-wing sweetheart. In turn, all articles shared by Trump supporters via Facebook is ‘shared fake news’, and all articles shared by left-wing supporters (CNN, MSNBC, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post) are all ‘real news’ and perfectly fine. Is it any wonder that 62% of Americans believe that the media are biased in their reporting on candidates (Rasmussen Reports, 2016)?

We have a media that disdains conservatives and right-wingers. The media often paints the conservatives as being quite evil; yet the Pew Research Centre (Mitchell et. al., 2014) found that consistently liberal people are more likely (44%) to block or defriend people they disagree with when compared to consistently conservative people (31%) and centrists (19%). They are also more likely to completely remove friends (24%) than conservatives (16%) or centrists (8%).

There is also the idea that conservatives are suspiciously more echo-chambered and secluded according to the often quoted report (Guess, 2018). According to Pew Research (Mitchell et al., 2014), both liberals and conservatives will focus on having friends who have the same views (over 50%), and both conservatives and liberals will have friends whom they know the politics of (less than 12%).

Punching Down, One Innocent at a Time

The media has a recent history of lying, taking things out of context, or hitting innocent targets. They also have a history of double standards. When the media hunts down and attacks civilians, this will be what appears when jobs or universities do research. They will become persona non grata. They will be unable to get a job. Their life will be ruined because they didn’t agree with the mainstream media (Shapiro, 2019b). The media spent 8 years ignoring the many things Obama did, but spends its time hunting down the private details of citizens to bully them into silence. This is why people do not trust the media; they will always attack the right, and defend the left. They will rake the average person over the coals like they are a politician (Shapiro, 2019b). Here are a few recent famous examples*:

Covington High School Student

Buzzfeed News was among the first, but not the only, media to post the video of a young man from Covington High School intimidating a Native American (Reinstein and Baer, 2019). Except that was not true; instead, the boys stood awkwardly while a crowd of Black Isrealites chanted slurs and the Indian moved into the crowd of boys and stood not inches from his face, banging a drum into the boys face who didn’t react nor defend himself (Richardson, 2019). Why? Because the student was wearing a MAGA hat; that is his identifier in the headline, and CNN wanting an anti-Trump and anti-Trump support story first (Richardson, 2019).

Did they apologise? CNN refused to apologise for getting it completely wrong, according to their attorney; they hadn’t yet provided a direct apology (Richardson, 2019).

Double Standards 1:

Notice that the media did not hunt down the racist Black Isrealites who used the n word, and other racial slurs to the white males? Of course they didn’t. They were also the one actually shouting racial slurs to the Native Americans; they are still not the investigated or hunted ones (Flanagan, 2019).

Media Hunts Down Pelosi Video Maker

The Daily Beast went after a video of a man who released a video of Nancy Pelosi slurring her words with the caption: “Is Nancy drunk?” (Poulsen, 2019). In this article of some random civilian making a comedic video, they released his name; the fact he was on probation; his age; his job; his relationship past. The article even publishes that he feels in danger from left-wing individuals.

Why did they do this? To punish a civilian who dared to voice his opinion against the mainstream media; a right wing opinion. To prevent more voices speaking out (Shapiro, 2019b). His life was laid bare to the world for the crime of making fun of a Democratic candidate.

Double Standards 2:

The media claims that doctoring a video is both fake news and dangerous. Here is Vice, famously doctoring their video of Jordan Peterson to change his answers to sound more ominous and removing context. Note that the original interview is 9 minutes long (VICE News, 2018). Also consider the name: Full Interview. A direct lie. Link here. You can find the video below.

And here is the full interview (Peterson, 2018). Notice it is 17 minutes long. Vice cut half of the interview and rearranged multiple questions. Link here. You can find the video below.

Remember; VICE News is not included on the list of fake news by Guess et al., (2018).

Media Hunts Down a Man Who Won’t Help a Racist

In June this month, Buzzfeed hunted down a man who refused to serve a racist to his hotel, and released his past tweets and records to the public (Chen, 2019). He was bullied until he was forced to publicly change his opinion. Despite the fact that he is both gay and black, he is not intersectional enough, and so he is bullied by the left-wing media (Shapiro, 2019a).

Hunting Political Enemies

Buzzfeed News (Koerner, 2019) claimed that a man who vandalised a synagogue was inspired by Ben Shapiro. Ben Shapiro, who is a Jew. An orthodox Jew (Shapiro, 2019a). Shapiro states that he really isn’t into anti-Semitic attacks.

The Economist also referred to the Jewish Shapiro as ‘alt-right sage’ (Economist, 2019). This is despite him being the centre of alt-right attacks in 2016, the largest single target according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League (2016).

The media also frequently prints information about Ben Shapiro’s wife. I will not link to it out of respect for her privacy, but I will link to this information being leaked (. She is not a public figure; she is only exposed due to her association with her husband. Why? To expose her, and through her silence her husband (Shapiro, 2019b).

The Russian Collusion Hoax

For two years, the media blew up the Trump-Russian collusion (Shapiro, 2019a). Turns out; there was nothing. They lied about having evidence, about knowing the truth. For two years, they attacked an innocent man (Barr, 2019). It’s debatable whether or not Trump is a nice man, or a good man, but in this case, he was an innocent man. Andrew Barr released his statement of no indictment due to a lack of evidence (Barr, 2019). Please remember that we work under “innocent until proven guilty” in the West, under the rule of law. Mueller himself directly said that Barr had acted in good faith (Greenspan, 2019). Barr asked Mueller directly if he would have indicted Trump; Mueller responded no 

This is almost fact; the Mueller Report was two years long, had over 500 interviews, and took place across multiple countries and multiple governments (Greenspan, 2016). For two years, the media made insulting remarks about Russia, Trump, Putin, and implied homosexual or dominating relationships (for example, Colbert’s ‘the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock-holster’ comment) with no evidence (Colbert, 2017).

Double Standards 3:

Remember how if Trump fired Mueller, that would be the end of his Presidency? Remember how if Trump obstructed, that he should be impeached? Obama had 47 out of 73 of his inspectors complain about his administration obstructing investigations (Spakovsky, 2017).

Remember how people complained that Barr released only 99% of Mueller’s Report? Eric Holder, the Attorney General to Obama, refused to release any report about Operation Fast and Furious, which would have likely led to indictions (Dooley et. al., 2014).

Remember how Hillary Clinton openly broke the law, and was caught doing so? Yet there is no outcry to have her investigated (Spakovsky, 2017).

Trump possibly breaking the law should end his career, according to the media. But when Democrats actively break the law, with evidence, with Comey admitting it to Congress, the media is silent.

Trump and his AG Barr are innocent men who have been more open than previous adminstrations, but the media has been nothing but aggressive and insulting. When it was Obama, Clinton, and Holder, the media has been silent.

CNN and Trump Gif

We can see in this article here how proudly CNN displays it’s latest hunt; a young man who made a joke gif of President Trump wrestling with the CNN logo (CNN, 2017). CNN notes that this man fears for his personal safety; because he has offered a grovelling apology, the media giant CNN has graciously decided to not reveal his personal details to the world

CNN regards the tweet as it ‘encourages violence against reporters’ (CNN, 2017). CNN finishes by slyly threatening the person; “CNN reserves the right to publish his details’ (CNN, 2017). I assume if he were to change his mind about taking part in politics, they would reveal everything and put him into danger.

Donald Trump Jr. stated the person was a 15 year old; CNN denies this (Shugerman, 2017). What lovely people.

Double Standards 4:

Whereas CNN hunted down a private individual and threatened them because they made a joke video of Trump body slamming the CNN logo, Trump simply retweeted Congressman women Ilhan Omar’s public twitter comments about how 9/11, the greatest tragedy upon American soil committed by terrorism, was “some people did something”, handwaving the evil motives and the largest domestic death toll on American soil (Associated Press, 2019). One Congresswoman called it an ‘explicit attack’.

How about when British MP Dianne Abbott from the Labour Party claimed “All white people love to divide and rule”; a simple apology was enough (BBC, 2012).

Or when Ilhan Omar said that Jews have dual loyalties? Defended through and through by the media (Griffith, 2019).

But when Sadiq Khan, mayor of London and defender of the 7/7 bombers, is accused of having loyalty to Islam? It is ‘slurs and insinuation’ to even suggest it, and racist. The media defended Khan who has proven loyalties to Islamic groups (Stone, 2016).

Conclusion

So in conclusion, we have a media who relies on fact checkers (3 out of 4 of whom are left-wing, none are right wing). We have a media that is mostly left-wing. We have a media who is widely perceived, and provenly so, to skew the facts to suit the left-wing narrative. We have a media who will lie, hide, and defend the crimes of their own sides, but will hunt down the civilians who oppose them. We have a media who will bully anyone who they can. We have a media who demands they are treated with respect, but will insult, lie, and bully innocent people with no evidence of crime. We have a media who insults, denigrates, and spits upon people who disagree with it. Anyone who disagrees with the media must be stupid, racist, sexist, etc.

And when people look at all of this behaviour, and they turn their backs on the media, the media cries out “why? What have we done?”. When the people elect Donald Trump, who regularly beats down the media, the media is confused; “why do they love him?”. People will elect a bully; a bully who thinks like them. A bully who ignores the media. Like Modi. People love a person who bullies the bullies. This leads to darker destinations for democracy: more here.

The media has displayed prejudice, intolerance, pettiness, spitefulness, intimidation, ignorance, and hypocrisy. No wonder no one trusts them.

Trust me though. I’m trying to be honest at least.**


*Please note that I do not use the names of private individuals. While they are available, I do not believe in spreading their information further across the internet. Privacy is a right we should expect, especially if people have not entered the public realm of politics.

** Feel free to chat on Twitter, or comment here. It’s called the Idea Meritocracy. I’m open to chat about ideas and let the best idea win.


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In all articles, I provide as much information for sources as possible, including links. I encourage everyone reading this article to read deeper, and make their own conclusions. For students, links are here so they can read the original source themselves.

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