Thursday, February 02, 2017

Biased, Incorrect, Fake and Hate News

In my opinion, nothing matters more right now than getting rationale adults to speak with more discipline about these critical concepts. Failing to make a distinction is extremely dangerous, as I tried to explain before. But this problem seems to be getting worse.

Biased news: The New York Times has a bias. The Wall Street Journal has a bias. Examples are not needed as you can clearly see their bias on a daily basis on their Editorial pages. If you want to understand different sides, read both papers. But please do not conflate bias with "incorrect" or "fake".

Incorrect news: Journalists get it wrong, even in the NYT an WSJ. That's the point of a "Corrections" section in print media and why many online articles will have italic text at the bottom or an article that explain how and when an article was corrected. When you get it wrong, you correct the error and apologise. Example: Reporting that the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from Oval Office. One might argue that this was a reporter with bias also making a mistake. Not good at all, but pretty common. If one writes a lot of incorrect news, they usually don't last very long at the NYT or WSJ.

Fake news: The intentional effort to write or say something one knows is false. Recent examples include the story that a pizza restaurant was a den of child abuse run by Hillary Clinton. Another example is the story that Barack Obama was not born in the US. Another more recent example is that 3-5 million people voted illegally in the election. Chilling aspects of Fake news relate to the current White House not understanding any of these terms and dubbing anything it dislikes as "fake".

Hate news:  When a news outlet or person on social media continues to perpetuate incorrect information that by all appearances seems to promote xenophobic ideas. Recent examples, Fox tweeting that the suspect in Quebec murders of innocent people praying led to the arrest of a Moroccan man when the actual article linked to the tweet stated that the only suspect was a French Canadian who harboured right wing bias.

The tweet by @FoxNews:
The article linked to that tweet, which itself rightly identifies the "lone suspect":

What happens on social media as a result of Hate News:

And yes, several days on, this post remains available to the 132,000 followers of Cloyd Rivers.

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