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The Friday Rant - Fake News

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by TiredSam, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. TiredSam

    TiredSam The wise nematode hibernates

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    Today I received my daily “must read” email from the The Times with the title:

    Horrified, and wondering whose fault it was, I clicked on the link;

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/public-cash-paying-for-growth-of-fake-news-vb2hbvs3x

    and discovered (thanks to the Times investigation) that fake news is the fault of “false or outrageous websites”, Islamic extremists, white supremacists, hate sites, illegal piracy forums, and also advertising agencies:

    Aha. Did the Times just hint at who the victims are in all this? The reading public? Those lied about in fake news? Consumers? Nope, it is “real publishers”.

    Then showing the tact, discretion and fairness that real publishers are famous for, and without naming names, the Times continues:

    Deeply unsettled about the problem of fake news, I decided to consult an objective and unbiased news source, so went to the BBC website and found the following recent article:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-38790254

    Well at least our elected representatives are worried about the threat to democracy, and concerned “about the public being swayed by propaganda and untruths”. Thank goodness.

    The committee chairman identifies “fake news on social media platforms” as the problem, and also adds that “the rise of propaganda and fabrications is a threat to democracy and undermines confidence in the media in general".

    Well we can’t have confidence in the media in general being undermined, can we? That would be nearly as bad as real publishers being damaged.

    The bbc also reports: “The way that fake news affects people's understanding of the world and their trust in traditional journalism will also be examined”.

    Suddenly hope springs in my world-weary breast - are the government and the media (real) about to organize a War on Fake News for me? This would be great, because to be honest since the War on Crime, the War on Drugs, and the War on Terror were all won I’ve been looking for an outlet for my sense of moral outrage, and this will do nicely.

    So kind of them also to tell me in which direction to point my concerned outrage - false or outrageous websites (see, they’ve already labelled the websites “outrageous” to make it easy for me), Islamic extremists, white supremacists, hate sites, illegal piracy forums, advertising agencies, social media platforms. I think I read somewhere that “the Russians” are somehow in on it too, which is always good if you’re having a War on something.

    They’ve also told me who the good guys are and what I should be concerned about: damage to real publishers, confidence in the media in general being undermined, and people’s trust in traditional journalism (and democracy of course).

    So that’s all sorted then. Thank goodness they’ve not only made it clear who the good guys are, but also who the bad guys are. Otherwise imagine the confusion if I was left with the impression that there was to be scrutiny of fake news in all the media, including print media and traditional journalism. In my initial zeal to help the cause I might inappropriately send them a link to one of the most offensive fake news platforms I know of:

    http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/

    or an example of fake news in the Times:

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/science/medicine/article3116831.ece

    or an example of a bbc radio 4 science program being infiltrated by serial fake news prankster Sir Simon Wellsly (as if claiming to explain unexplained medical syndromes wasn’t a big enough clue):

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08dnr3g

    Any other ME sufferers concerned about fake news?
     
    ahmo, Woolie, flybro and 34 others like this.
  2. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    Yes. We usually just call it bad science or psychobabble around here.
     
    Woolie, flybro, mirshine and 15 others like this.
  3. Esther12

    Esther12

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    We could make submissions.
     
    lnester7, Mel9, BurnA and 4 others like this.
  4. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    Well, thank heavens MPs are investigating. I'm sure they'll arrive at a sensible conclusion, such as the setting up of more bodies like the SMC to restore public trust.

    Thanks, Sam. You're 100% right about everything, as usual. YOU should be the new truth tsar.
     
    Woolie, Jan, BurnA and 4 others like this.
  5. slysaint

    slysaint Senior Member

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    Vlad the confessor?
     
  6. *GG*

    *GG* Senior Member

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    Ha, ha! No News source is unbiased :)

    Fake news has been around for centuries, we just need people who are more discerning (do some research, easier to do in modern times), and are not going to take something reported at face value!

    GG
     
    Woolie, MastBCrazy, PennyIA and 3 others like this.
  7. Molly98

    Molly98 Senior Member

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    So where do we the general public report Fake news?

    What serious bills are the government trying to push through parliament on the sly while our attention is being diverted to fake news?

    Are the media outlets and government seriously suggesting that we believed that most of the bull we are fed is real news?

    Why this sudden buzz and urgency about what has been going on all our lives?

    Where is the line drawn between fake and real since many stories may have the tiniest thread of truth and are then spun to fit the preconceived agenda of the spinner and are 90% fabrication?

    Isn't politics itself the bastion of fake news?

    Fake news that comes from the powers that be and the status quo, that can be controlled by them - OK

    Fake news that comes from small online websites, individuals or small groups, or worse still foreign governments which can not be controlled by them - NOT OK
     
    flybro, alkt, HowToEscape? and 5 others like this.
  8. Molly98

    Molly98 Senior Member

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    I suspect The Last Leg will have some witty things to say about the Fake news epidemic tonight.
     
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  9. Barry53

    Barry53 Senior Member

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    Or a load of old "bullocks".
     
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  10. TiredSam

    TiredSam The wise nematode hibernates

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    Well if I'm 100% right about everything, never mind about being the truth tsar, I can apply for President of the Royal College of Psychiatry :).

    Damn. I'd never heard of The Last Leg. Now I've got over 100 episodes to catch up on.
     
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  11. Molly98

    Molly98 Senior Member

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    Ha ha, tonight channel 4 I think 9 pm I think it will appeal to your sense of humour @TiredSam :)
    The only news update I bother with nowdays.
     
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  12. Molly98

    Molly98 Senior Member

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    Sorry @TiredSam forgot you are not in the UK, I don't know if you can get it where you are or not?
     
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  13. TiredSam

    TiredSam The wise nematode hibernates

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    Last Week Tonight is back this weekend too :)
     
    Molly98, sarah darwins and Valentijn like this.
  14. TiredSam

    TiredSam The wise nematode hibernates

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    Oh yes, I'll get it somehow ;)
     
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  15. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    The media is doing well by itself in undermining their credibility. Churnalism, lack of fact checking, lack of specialized journalists doing reporting in their area (food critics should not be writing health news) and so on.

    The issue with the current fake news emphasis is, I think, political. Its not just that fake news occurs ... fake news is probably as old as Humankind ... but that its become somehow acceptable and being uncritically accepted.

    The issue with politics is that, while politicians specialize in fake news, just like public relations companies, there is an implied threat to mainstream media becoming infiltrated with fake news. Its not just about their credibility, but the way they operate.

    So far as I can see the mainstream news media is in a death spiral. They need to change their business model and adapt ... and indeed most are trying to do so. However with more regurgitated stories, many of which have had little or no fact checking, we are finding news less and less reliable. So we rely on it less. So they get less revenue. So they cut costs even more, do even less fact checking and deep investigative journalism, and print more stories written by others.

    I am wondering if the future of investigative journalism might be in private websites, with big prominent donation buttons?
     
    Woolie, alkt, Sandman00747 and 4 others like this.
  16. AndyPR

    AndyPR RIP PR :'(

    You forgot to add the link to alex3619reportsthefacts.com.... ;)
     
  17. Last year the BBC had an article about/against "conspiracy theories" every other week...why?
    because "Big Brother" is angry we're not listening to his B.S. any more!

    The "professional" Media are a disgrace, 95+% of it is all about pushing the "Elite's" viewpoint, propaganda, brainwashing and demands.

    We are just one group of victims
     
    flybro, alkt, Skippa and 4 others like this.
  18. HowToEscape?

    HowToEscape? Senior Member

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    @TiredSam :

    I particularly liked

    "Suddenly hope springs in my world-weary breast - are the government and the media (real) about to organize a War on Fake News for me? This would be great, because to be honest since the War on Crime, the War on Drugs, and the War on Terror were all won I’ve been looking for an outlet for my sense of moral outrage, and this will do nicely."​

    but the rest was also brilliant. I wish I could write that well! Here in 'Murrica we don't do that word sorta thing, though we do have schools of unlearning to erase any such strange propensity.

    // Ackshully, in New York City, during the time in which the film "Escape From New York" was set, the voters temporarily developed an interest in Law'nOrdor (not Mordor), and elected someone not a variety of leftist to the Mayor's office. He propounded upon the public the scandalous experiment of having criminals arrested, and not infrequently sent to jail. Crime plummeted, a happening which the frequently outraged have taken to frequently raging against, and are working to reverse.

     
    alkt and TiredSam like this.
  19. purrsian

    purrsian Senior Member

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    Love reading your stuff @TiredSam , you write so well!

    I was actually just reading in one of my textbooks this morning about an example of how facts get messed up in news reporting. After the Nepal earthquake in 2015, an image of two children went viral online and in news. It was said to be a younger sister being protected by her older brother in the aftermath of the earthquake. In reality, it was a photo from Vietnam in 2007, of two children playing in front of their house and the younger one became afraid of the photographer as he was a stranger. The older brother gave her a hug to comfort her. The ridiculous thing is, it was not only attributed to the Nepal earthquake, but somehow got an intricate backstory about how the mother died and the father left them. In some countries, it was said to be victims of civil war in Syria or of two Burmese orphans. I'm guessing it's partly due to the fast-paced nature of "journalism" where they need a photo quickly that's touching and will draw them clicks. But you know, you need a sad story to go with it, so people will share your link!

    You'd hope that plenty of people would be able to read and absorb things critically, but these days, I'm starting to feel that the movie Idiocracy was actually a prophecy :cautious:
     
  20. TiredSam

    TiredSam The wise nematode hibernates

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    Well I'll happily rage against giving Dinkins and Giuliani too much credit for the crime drop in New York. This from chapter 4 of Freakonomics:
    Full text here:

    http://www.cc.ntut.edu.tw/~kmliu/freakonomics/4 criminals are gone.pdf
     
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