How Fake News Happens: It’s simple! A governor tweets a Fox News graphic from a story that cites a British tabloid’s misinterpretation of a scholarly study, and a false narrative about Biden banning beef stokes political rage

How dare President Biden be invoked by a British tabloid that rather creatively linked a scholarly study to a plan Biden floated during the Democratic primary. How dare Biden be implicated in a Fox News graphic that falsely lists cutting beef sales by 90% as a requirement of Biden’s “climate requirements.” How dare Biden be targeted by the Texas governor who retweeted the misleading Fox News graphic that amplified the…

Fox News, accused of manipulating news images, relabels them as “collages,” “regrets these errors”

Using bits and pieces of real news in order to distort the public perception of a story is unethical. Not all news organizations distort the truth this way. What do you think about the ones that do? Today, Fox re-labeled three different altered images, identifying each as a “collage” and posting a note that says the company “regrets these errors.” Fox used a dramatic photograph of a person running past…

There’s nothing like a fair-minded, good-faith analysis of the facts

There’s nothing like a fair-minded, good-faith analysis of the facts. And this article from PJMedia is nothing like a fair-minded, good faith analysis. I see it instead as a cynical attempt to cloud the truth by feeding conspiracy theories. An actual news story would lead with the evidence — any charges filed against Gugino, quotes from a witness whose first-hand experiences challenge the mainstream interpretation of the video, behind-the-scenes photos…

Police Department, Fire Department Tell Different Versions of Same Richmond Incident

A Richmond police official and a fire official agree that Sunday, multiple individuals interfered with a fire truck’s response to a fire. But beyond that, each source tells a rather different story.

I just watched a pretty good Star Trek episode exploring the premise that well-intentioned people can remember and sincerely believe widely different interpretations of the same events, without being intentionally deceptive.

When equally credible sources make conflicting claims, there’s probably a story there somewhere. If a source makes unverifiable claims, or won’t respond to legitimate follow-up questions, or vilifies or aggrandizes a third party, that’s a good reason to be skeptical.

Meme unfairly blames “protesters” for four crimes

A Facebook meme that claims “3 of these 4 honorable men were killed by ‘protesters’” is false. I don’t mean that I can prove that not a single one of the guilty parties ever participated in a protest. However, Police never connected Beaty’s death with the protests (and the FBI declined to do so when asked). Police sent out an alert that specified Underwood’s death was unrelated to protests. Dorn…

2

Minneapolis protest cleanup: Did you share this meme without fact-checking it? (Don’t spread fake news about the news.)

A Facebook meme with 52k reactions and 37k shares includes pictures of volunteers cleaning the streets in Minneapolis, the day after mass protests of the death of George Floyd. The pictures make a powerful point about the values of the community. However, the text includes an unnecessary slam against journalism, because it introduces the images with “Images you won’t see in the news.” I searched news.google.com for “minneapolis protesters cleaning”…

Trump, Obama seem equally disinterested in portrait unveiling — but journalism takes hits from both sides

On social media recently I saw people mocking Trump for “refusing” to unveil the traditional presidential portrait of Obama, and I saw people attacking “the fake news media” for pushing a narrative designed to make Trump look bad. The original NBC story that broke this item accurately states that neither Trump nor Obama is interested in the unveiling ceremony. There’s a whole ecosystem of people across the political spectrum who…

1

When People Only Read the Headline — Misuse of Journalism

The Society of Professional Journalists links to an interview with an MIT professor who’s studying misinformation on social media (which is not the same thing as bad journalism — some bad actors take journalism out of context in order to deceive). Responsible journalists are aware that sensational headlines can harm the public. The truth is journalists in the field reporting breaking news often don’t write the headlines. Marketers will try…

Those mean fake news people at the Washington Post are at it again, this time publishing a vivid simulation of the effect of social distancing

Those mean fake news people at the Washington Post are at it again, this time pushing a series of four simulations that vividly illustrate the impact of social distancing. Where do they get off, creating clear and informative graphics to illustrate a scientific principle? What do they think they’re doing, some kind of public service? From they way these enemies of the people talk, you’d think the free press gets…

These Fake Local News Sites Have Confused People For Years. (Buzzfeed) Found Out Who Created Them.

People who caught the sites plagiarizing began speculating about the motivations of whoever was running them. One person noticed that their Google Alerts for Julian Assange were flooded with results from the sites, leading them to warn that “cyber marketing tools are being used in the propaganda war against #WikiLeaks.” One researcher labeled the network of sites “a malicious information operation masquerading as a news aggregator.” Neither was the case. In fact,…

Snowfall at the White House (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour, Jan 7) Tweeted by WH on Jan 12

My social media feed was full of people mocking the White House yesterday for publishing a photo titled “First snow of the year!” on a day when Washington had clear skies and freakishly warm weather. What was the Trump administration trying to pull? Why would they publish such a blatant lie? It wasn’t a lie. The photo was real photo of Washington’s first snowfall of the winter, but the picture…

1

Inverted Pyramid, #SharpieGate edition

Context: Sunday, President Trump tweeted a supportive message for people in the path of Hurricane Dorian; however, he included Alabama in the list of states in the path of the storm. Within minutes the National Weather Service posted a statement asserting that Alabama would not be affected. As usual, Trump doubled down when facing any opposition, and variously asserted that he was operating on new information, and that he was…

Reporters accurately repeat what VP spokesperson says; different official cites “misreporting”

The media reports that on an official trip to Ireland, VP Pence will not stay in the vicinity where he is doing work, but his entourage will fly 180 miles away to stay at a Trump-owned property. To respond to public criticism, the Pence camp organizes a media event, where the main speaker is the VP’s spokesman, Marc Short, who says Trump said, “Well, you should stay at my place.”…

2

Yellow Journalism Did Not Cause the Spanish-American War (Role of Sensationalized Headlines Often Exaggerated)

When a correspondent sent to Cuba to cover a possible war telegraphed that there would be no war and he wanted to come home, Newspaper mogul Willam Randolph Hearst is said to have replied, “Please remain. You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.”   It’s a story I remember learning in middle school.   But there’s no contemporary evidence of this exchange, which would never have been permitted by…

Students in a Finnish community college learn how to spot "fake news".

Finland is Winning the War on Fake News

This is story is from May, but it’s very relevant. Standing in front of the classroom at Espoo Adult Education Centre, Jussi Toivanen worked his way through his PowerPoint presentation. A slide titled “Have you been hit by the Russian troll army?” included a checklist of methods used to deceive readers on social media: image and video manipulations, half-truths, intimidation and false profiles. Another slide, featuring a diagram of a…

Why Fears of Fake News Are Overhyped

Facebook seems to have made changes that mean it is less involved in the spread of fake news. Overall, and for reasons that extend beyond whatever unknown changes Facebook may have made to its algorithm, fake news seems less prevalent now than it was in 2016. “[T]he role of Facebook in the spread of fake news appears to have changed. In 2016, the site differentially appeared in web traffic just…

Don’t Want to Fall for Fake News? Don’t Be Lazy

Fake news is not a problem caused by those dishonorable people whose political values differ from yours. Misinformation researchers have proposed two competing hypotheses for why people fall for fake news on social media. The popular assumption—supported by research on apathy over climate change and the denial of its existence—is that people are blinded by partisanship, and will leverage their critical-thinking skills to ram the square pegs of misinformation into the…

Facebook logo (white sans-serif lowercase letter "f" on a blue background).

Facebook touts fight on fake news, but struggles to explain why InfoWars isn’t banned

10 points to CNN’s Oliver Darcy for working both “when asked about” and “this reporter” into a news story that was not written by a supporting character in a 1940s gangster flick. When asked by this reporter how the company could claim it was serious about tackling the problem of misinformation online while simultaneously allowing InfoWars to maintain a page with nearly one million followers on its website, Hegeman said…

Facebook shrinks fake news after warnings backfire

In its efforts to combat the spread of false news online (whether by malicious people who knew it was propaganda, or through the wishful thinking of overly-credible sheep who saw a post as confirmation of a value they already held), Facebook experimented with flagging stories as “disputed by third-party fact-checkers.” It turns out that a significant number of users were motivated by the “disputed” flag to share that item even…