Tag: Bias Media

An NPC Hate Mob Is Born in Blind Support of Nathan Phillips

Glenn Verasco | United States

It was perfect: white, male, MAGA-hat-wearing, pro-life, Catholic school teenagers mocking and harassing an elderly, Native American veteran. The Gods of grievance studies and the Democratic Party had combined their omnipotence to deliver the video exemplifying toxic masculinity and white supremacy in Trump’s America to end all videos exemplifying toxic masculinity and white supremacy in Trump’s America. The Donald and freedom of association would now see defeat in one fell swoop.

Unfortunately for some, the initial video in question, like most videos, neglects crucial and extenuating context.

Nathan Phillips and the MAGA Kid

In the viral Twitter video, a lone Native American man is banging on a drum and chanting a Native American hymn. Directly in front of him stands a white teenager in a MAGA hat. The teenager, whose face is terribly punchable, remains still with an irritating grin plastered on his mug. Surrounding these two are dozens of other teenagers bouncing, cheering, laughing, and clapping to the rhythm as well as some individuals who appear to be with the Native American man.

The clip spread online with captions and explanations suggesting that the boys had instigated the situation. Sources identified the man as Nathan Phillips, a veteran, and the boys as pupils of Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky.

It was at this point that an NPC hate mob was born and all the usual suspects latched on. Obviously, left-wing identitarians, woke celebrities, blue check marks, and anti-Trump radicals pushed the hardest. However, cowardly conservative pundits and journalists joined in too.

A Reality Too Convenient to Question

Next came doxxing and explicit threats of violence towards the boys and platitudes of admiration for Mr. Phillips. What never came, at least out of the burgeoning mob, was skepticism. I guess some realities are just too convenient to question.

More video of the situation then began to emerge. To anyone willing to open their eyes, it was clear that the situation was far more complicated than the mob would permit for consideration.

One video shows that it was Phillips who approached the boys, not the other way around. As the boys shout their alma mater wildly, something teenage boys do, Phillips walks towards them with his drum:

https://twitter.com/SportsBuckeye/status/1086941332764020736?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1086941332764020736&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fhowtocureyourliberalism.com%2F2019%2F01%2F20%2Fbirth-of-an-npc-hate-mob%2F

As one present student explains, the boys’ initial thought was that Nathan Phillips was making “a cultural display”, so they decided to join his chant. They then grew “confused” after sensing hostility on Phillips’ part:

Enter the boy with the most punchable face in America. I do not know this young man’s name, and I wouldn’t share it if I did, but he is in dire need of some sympathy. Simply for wearing a MAGA hat and having a face that only a mother could love, an awkward young man is being called a hateful bigot and other horrid things I’d rather not repeat.

Accusations of the Hate Mob

What is it that so many are accusing him of doing? Not using his fists. Not using his words. In fact, not even using his middle finger. No, merely smiling and standing still and having evil in his heart. Smiling and standing still are not contemptible acts, and nobody knows what is in another’s heart. I don’t know who you are, young man, but God bless you and stay strong. And grow a mustache as soon as possible. If Nathan Phillips were someone else, I would have a major bone to pick with him. But based on the interview below and his disputed recounting of the event (he said he heard chants of “build that wall” but no evidence of this exists and also claimed punchable face boy blocked him from moving forward and from retreating, which is absurd), I must assume that he is not completely with it:

Nathan Phillips is a man and is responsible for his words and actions, but The Washington Post is the real villain here. Instead of reporting on what the video evidence suggests, they simply quote Phillips’ version of the story. This is despicable, but it’s also mainstream journalism in 2019. So what do you expect?

The Real Instigators

If anyone is bigoted here, it’s a group of black Israelites who shouted conspiracy theories and racist and homophobic epithets at the Covington boys, though simply ignoring them is likely the better way to go. Against my own advice, here is a longer video of the confrontation with the black Israelites taking center stage about four and a half minutes in.

Instead of white supremacists inspired by President Trump treating a Native American serviceman like garbage, we have some dumb boys (redundant) having fun and being smeared by a psychotic gang of silly adults.

The anti-Trump mob cares little for facts or reality. They will not get over their electoral college loss from over two years ago, and they will be happy to ruin lives for the sake of misguided vengeance until someone else is commander-in-chief. I predicted this would last a few months after Trump was elected, but I was wrong.

We can still do something about this. But because the mob is spreading the fake version of this story with chilling haste, I do not know what it is at the time of publication.

Buy gold, ammo, and canned food, and, for the love of God, share this post!

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Being a Victim Does Not Make You a Policy Expert

By James Sweet III | USA

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day all about love and enjoying those that are close to you. It’s not supposed to be a day of survival. Not a single person at Stoneman Douglas High School expected to be hiding and praying for survival that day. Yet, Nikolas Cruz decided to kill seventeen students and staff, while also injuring fourteen more.

The deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook was bound to spark an endless debate, and indeed did a gun control debate begin. This time, however, the charge for gun control was not being led by career politicians, but by victims of the shooting. Mainstream media, the left, and other groups have been revolving their efforts around these students, gaining large support from the masses. What makes these students, as well as their followers, believe that they’re experts on the matter they are debating over?

Recently, CNN held a town hall over the gun control debate currently raging in the country. Victims of the Parkland shooting, parents of victims, Senators Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson (D), Representative Ted Deutch (D), Sheriff Scott Israel, and an NRA spokeswoman, Dana Loesch, participated in an intense discussion over the future of the nation’s gun culture. At the town hall, Ryan Schacter, a senior at Stoneman Douglas High whose 14-year-old brother, Alex, died in the shooting, asked Representative Deutch:

“My friends and I are worried that we are going to be murdered in our classrooms. What reassurances can you give me and what specifically are you going to do to make sure that we can’t have this fear?” The representative responded with, “What am I going to do? Well, as a starter, next week when we go back to Washington, we’re going to introduce legislation to make sure that assault weapons are illegal in every part of this country.”

 You would think this would answer the question Ryan Schacter asked, and that the next sentences that came out of the representative’s mouth would explain how this would help quell the fears the students held. The exact opposite happened when Representative Deutch said:

“But, that’s not going to help you when you go back to school and all I can tell you is that we stand with law enforcement in Broward County. We stand with the administration and the teachers in your school to provide as much security, as much comfort, as much as can make you feel that you’re in a safe place.” 

Is this the same Broward County whose deputies failed to enter the school when the gunshots rang out? Certainly, the victims of the shooting, as well as their congressional representative, wouldn’t support a policy that would do nothing, right?

Wrong.

That response was met with applause.

Solutions are, evidently, not being provided, yet they’re being supported by many, with the sentiments of the victims being used as reasoning for these policies. Don’t believe me? Just read CNN’s article on letting younger kids vote, using the student activists as examples of kids that should be able to vote. Still think that doesn’t mean anything? How about an article titled “Adults should stop attacking young people over gun control”? The advocates of gun control want to use the social status of the young victims to their advantage, disregarding any that attack the students because the students are younger and throwing away any legitimate argument due to the fact that the students are also victims.

David Hogg, a leading activist in the #NeverAgain movement, who also happens to be a victim of the Parkland shooting, has been touted around by gun control advocates as a perfect example of a young adult who has been speaking out. It is true that he is causing waves in American society, but why is that? Is it because he is correct, or because we are told not to refute a young person over their beliefs? I mean, after all, he supported the cowardice of the Broward County deputies and their choice not to enter the school during the shooting. Hogg advocates for a ban on assault weapons as well, while also supporting those that abandoned their duties, letting seventeen innocent students and staff die.

Proper refutations have been provided by the gun rights advocates, yet they are disregarded for the silly reasons previously mentioned. If you go back to the town hall hosted by CNN, you can see a perfect example of these refutations. Senator Marco Rubio was answering a question from Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter died in the tragedy. Guttenberg described “assault weapons” as “weapons of war” and “weapons of choice”. Senator Rubio proceeded to state:

“I want to explain to you for a moment the problem with the law that they call the Assault Weapon’s Ban. And if you’ll give me — and indulge me for a minute to explain to you the problem. First you have to define what it is. If you look at the law and it’s definition, it basically bans 200 models of gun – – about 220 specific models of gun…  it allows legal 2,000 other types of gun that are identical. Identical, in the way that they function and how fast they fire and the type of caliber that they fire and the way they perform. They’re indistinguishable from the ones that become illegal. And the only thing that separates the two types – – the only thing that separates the two types is, if you put a plastic handle grip on one it becomes banned, if it doesn’t have a plastic handle it does not become banned.”

Do you want to know what Mr. Guttenberg said?

“Good. Good.”

Cheers. Applause. The crowd went wild.

They are trying to ban our guns, and these kids are exploiting their status as victims in an attempt to get their agenda across. Not only are they exploiting their own status, but gun control advocates are exploiting it as well. They refuse to listen to anyone that’s not on their side, regardless if legitimate points are brought up or not.

The truth of the matter: no matter what you go through, the facts do not care about your status in society. They do not care if you were the victim or the aggressor. These students are not the only activists, and the media needs to stop acting like it.

 

Dear CNN, Harassing People And Censoring Discussions Isn’t Okay

By Nick Hamilton | United States

If it seemed as if the left wing news organization, CNN, couldn’t get any less trustworthy and credible, then you haven’t been paying attention. This week, their coverage of the mass shootings in Florida has caused major outrage from people who don’t like their fake news spoon-fed.

Earlier this week, CNN’s Drew Griffin visited Florida and performed a “gotcha” style interview with Florine Guren Goldfarb, a Trump supporter, outside her home. He bombarded her with questions about her alleged efforts to collude with Russia during the 2016 Presidential Election. Alleged by who, you ask? CNN themselves. They belabored an argument insinuating direct involvement with the Kremlin to sway the election although Goldfarb testified she knew all her people and that they were “all Trump supporters.”

The segment starts off with Anderson Cooper mentioning the Mueller indictment, saying that the Russians only helped President Donald Trump, (which in itself is fake news, the indictment also mentions Russians staging Anti-Trump protests) and saying that a Facebook group called “Being Patriotic” was sharing Pro-Trump messages, and this lady shared one of their posts on Facebook. So rather than doing the rational thing, and asking her to appear on an interview or exchanging courteous and civil emails, like a respected news outlet should, they showed up at her house and started to harass her.

What you’ll see in this video is frankly disgusting, but if you wish to see this for yourself, you can view the video here. However, that’s not the only screw up that CNN has had this week.

Of course, it seems as if everything mentioned in this article done by CNN is absolutely disgusting. But CNN is now using children as puppets to push their agenda. You may be wondering how one could come to such a conclusion. Here’s how.

Colton Haab, one of the survivors of the shooting last week, appeared on a local news station, WPLG, last night after the debate. (View a video here, courtesy of Mark Dice) Haab stayed home because he wasn’t allowed to ask his question. Now you may think his question may have been inappropriate. Apparently, a valid question about hiring retired veterans who are unable to find work is inappropriate by CNN standards in a discussion about protecting the safety of our children. They told this teen to ask one of their “scripted questions.” 

This is absolutely outrageous. CNN is manipulating the victims of the Florida shooting with a clear intent to push their own political agenda. Someone who survived a tragedy was discouraged to attend a discussion because CNN decided that their own political agenda was more important than the ideas and thoughts of a survivor himself. This is not only a disgrace to media outlets, this is a disgrace to the United States democracy. of course, CNN is denying doing so because apparently they’re just so perfect, and can’t own up to things when they screw up, like adults.

These disgusting acts by CNN shouldn’t be tolerated. Their ratings are falling and I’d love to see that keep happening. CNN is becoming less trustworthy every single day, and frankly, society has accepted it. I’m calling on Drew Griffin and CNN to issue an apology to the lady they harassed. I’m also calling on whoever’s bright idea it was to use children as a political puppet to apologize to the family of Colton Haab, and I encourage anyone else who suffered those same consequences to speak out as well. And my message to CNN: If you’re going to be biased, at least try and act like you’re an impartial network. At least act like adults over there. Because bullying people because of their beliefs is an elementary school move, and censoring certain views from being shared is, again, a threat to our democracy.


Image from CNN.

The Real Cause of Mass Shootings

Charlie Gengler | USA

Mass shootings have plagued America over the past few years, and with the most recent one in Kentucky, it’s high time to determine a root cause.

What do you see every time there’s a shooting?  You see the carnage wrought upon by a psychopath, you see people reporting on it you see group discussions, but, most importantly, you see the killer’s name, and most likely a picture of him.  This is what encourages mass shooters, not gun availability, not racism, not toxic masculinity.  For when someone is as far gone as these people, so insane that they are no longer simply suicidal, but they cannot make rational decisions regarding human life, they see one opportunity, be famous (more infamous) and take more people down with you.  They see the chance to make the news, to have their face plastered all over the nation, and maybe even the world.

There are two main groups when arranging mass shootings, Islamic jihadis, and insane people.  The terrorists look to create a caliphate and bring down the west.  They seek terror and intimidation to be widespread, to scare the west and shore up support from their base.  They depend on media coverage to spread their message of fear.  They use it as free advertising and propaganda.  Jihadis use these attacks, not just mass shootings but also bombings, as a springboard for their message, and to whip up westerners into a chaotic frenzy, and to gather followers from those on the fringe.

The other group is those whose minds were not normal.  They most often experienced extraordinary trauma and despair.  They see no point but malevolent action against innocent people.  They know about this option because of the constant media and political attention devoted to it.  They [not always but quite a bit] see their lives as pointless, with one goal left in sight, infamy.  They make it into a mad game, seeing who can reach the highest tragedy, the biggest number of headlines.  This has lead to not only an increasing number of mass shootings but more severity in the cases where they occur.

So, what can be done with this?  We must certainly not control the media through government force.  This, besides being completely antithetical to liberty and everything the country stands for, would be completely inefficient. Nor should we increase regulations in the pharmaceutical industry, or, God forbid, force upon the mentally ill unwanted or, possibly, unneeded medications out of fear and desire to control.  The only thing we can do is provide more safety measures and preventative actions.  The best way to implement this would be to allow firearms to flow more freely to the populace.  This would give the citizens the protection they needed while maximizing freedom.  But how to stop the increasingly worrying rise of those bent on providing harm to others?

For starters, consumers could put economic pressure on more stories that bring happiness.  The people could try and stop giving names and coverage to those whose goal is that of infamy.  All of this could slowly end the threat of these domestic terrorists.  For now, we must pray, give, and remember the victims, and hate, spit on and suppress  (not via government action) those who would want to do harm to others unjustly.


Image from NBC San Diego

In a World of Fake, How Can We Find the Truth?

By Joshua | USA

Throughout the history of American politics, there have been truths and falsehoods disseminated and published on both sides of the political divide, usually in an attempt to persuade voters to vote for or against a specific candidate. However, with the advent and adoption of the internet, these motives have diversified and become much more cunning. Fake News is defined as “a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media. Fake news is also written and published with the intent to mislead in order to damage an agency, entity, or person, and/or gain financially or politically, often with sensationalist, exaggerated, or patently false headlines that grab attention.” (Burshtein). While the concept of inaccurate news has been around since the invention of the printing press, the term “Fake News” and its malicious undertones have only been a common term since the 20th century and has been further redefined in the last two decades alone. However, in today’s connected world, the stakes are much higher, and information travels much faster. Fake News in American politics poses a unique threat to citizens of the electorate, in that it distorts the democracy and hampers accurate political discussion. No entity is immune to inaccuracy, whether it be an individual, or even news outlets themselves. And with Fake News being distorted and adopted by government officials themselves, we find ourselves slowly transforming into the society that George Orwell describes in his book “1984”. Fake News affects the daily lives of Americans, often indirectly, and has forever changed the way social media and news outlets operate. Fake News has revolutionized American politics, damaging trust, misleading, and confusing voters, and has played a dangerously tangible role in major events of the 21st century.

Background of Fake News

“Fake News” is the term used to reference information and websites on the internet that are covertly falsified, for either the purposes of deceit, profit, or satire. While the term “Fake News” has several meanings, the “Fake News” label that politicians and other media figures assign to unfavorable news coverage and opinions that they dislike should be differentiated from actual inaccurate news that is misrepresented as being legitimate. These Fake News articles are often framed as being from legitimate news organizations, complete with fake credentials and corroborating fake news websites to add credibility. Examples of this phenomenon would be ‘The National Report’ and ‘abcnews.co’ with the latter utilizing the same website design and layout as the real news organization, and only becoming obvious as being a fraud upon close inspection of the URL, which is uncommon for most site viewers. There is no law preventing individuals from impersonating a legitimate news organization, and as such several notable copycat news sites have popped up in the last decade alone.

Most Fake News articles have inflammatory or salacious headlines, such as “CALIFORNIA LAWMAKER INTRODUCES RESOLUTION TO BAN ‘KILLER ROBOTS’” (Infowars) and “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton transferred 20% of US uranium to Putin’s Russia as 9 investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation” (Breitbart.com). In the case of the former example, the headline is formatted in all caps to increase the emotional impact. Articles similar to the headline from Breitbart’s home page are often designed to appeal to the reader’s sense of legitimacy by using fake statistics and detail in their articles, and using unverifiable, yet normal sources, such as ‘an insider’, ‘a top aide’, or ‘an anonymous official’ which are all used by legitimate news sources in order to protect identities. Articles that run along the lines of the Infowars example often primarily utilize emotion as a way to bypass a reader’s common sense, using attention-grabbing keywords and inflammatory word choice to get the reader to share the article with others, or even take direct action, furthering the reach of the original Fake News. Often times, the inaccuracies in Fake News articles are only obvious upon close cross-examination of other websites, something the average viewer is unequipped to do.

Even legitimate news sources aren’t immune from Fake News. During the 2004 Presidential Election season, several doubts were raised by the media and by voters, about President George W Bush’s military record, something he had touted numerous times during his first term. On September 4th of that year, 60 Minutes published an explosive article containing supposed documents that showed Bush’s absence in several physicals that were mandatory for military personnel, and several legitimate-looking documents that suggested that Bush’s story wasn’t as watertight as he had first held (Munger). However, after closer analysis, the documents turned out to be covertly falsified by a previous source, leading to a media crisis, and the first accusations of “Fake News”.

Methods By Which Fake News Has Affected American Politics

Recently, Fake News has been pushed by heavily partisan organizations, in order to advance political agendas, by individuals attempting to make a profit from advertising and merchandise-related sales, and by foreign entities attempting to interfere in American politics. Almost all Fake News websites have a partisan agenda, whether it is obvious or not. An example of a site with hard-right views would be Infowars.com, run by notable conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, which pushes an alt-right, anti-globalist, anti-semite agenda; the website also contains a plethora of featured advertisements as well as an entire online catalog of Infowars-affiliated merchandise. He also pushes his products numerous times during his shows. A second example would be The National Report, which  publishes false and satirical articles with a right-leaning agenda, an example being a featured article on the home page titled “Man Shouts ‘Allahu Akbar’ Before Blowing Up Friend’s Inbox” (thenationalreport.com) while at the same time running numerous ads around the homepage and on all main pages of the site. These advertisements are the life force that keeps these websites alive because, for most Fake News sites, advertising is the only method of income. This has resulted in sites writing any manner of article in order to get more viewers, including articles with dangerously misleading content, notably about Muslims, which has inspired several hate-attacks on Muslim citizens in the last year.

A 60 Minutes Special Investigation (aired (3/26/17) included the interview of the owners of two Fake News websites, including the owner of the site that invented “Pizzagate”. They discovered that the common themes between the two owners were “money” and “to inform viewers” with the latter motive being akin to “pushing a political agenda”. The owner that responded that money was his primary motive has good reason to pursue that goal: in an interview, Jestin Coler, who runs several Fake News websites (most notably The Denver Guardian) told a reporter for National Public Radio that he made as much as US$30,000 per month from advertising that rewards the high traffic that Fake News stories draw. After posting a Fake News article about an FBI agent who leaked Hillary Clinton emails being inexplicably murdered, Coler said that “over [the subsequent] 10 days the site got 1.6 million views. He says stories like this work because they fit into existing right-wing conspiracy theories” (Sydell). His site is not alone. Many of these sites attract upwards of tens of thousands of viewers, with more popular sites such as Infowars.com receiving over 31 million visits in November 2017 alone (Infowars Traffic Statistics), using tactics similar to Coler’s: using existing information and mindsets to create a Fake News story with enough facts and buzzwords to appeal to a reader’s confirmation bias, while at the same time planting enough inflammatory content to keep the reader hooked and continuing to spread the article to others, where the cycle usually repeats.

Fake News often has permanent, real-world consequences, and constitutes a direct danger to everyday Americans, both directly and indirectly. During the 2016 Presidential Election, a Fake News website run by Mike Cernovich published a series of stories detailing a secret child pedophile ring inside a Clinton-linked Washington D.C. pizzeria. Some of the details of the story were allegedly obtained by codebreakers who analyzed actual emails leaked from the Clinton campaign, John Podesta, and the DNC by Russian hackers through Wikileaks in early 2016. These false articles quickly spread throughout other Fake News sites and republican forums and social media networks, including Facebook, inspiring copycats and mutations of the story, complete with: added documents related to child orphans from Podesta’s previous activities in earthquake-stricken Haiti in 2010, images allegedly from inside the pizzeria, including a below-ground storage room where the children were supposedly being held, and images of the children themselves. Some of these images, in fact, came from the restaurant’s Facebook page and from random social media pages (LaCapria). This resulted in an armed gunman (who had been following the Fake News story on several republican news platforms) storming the Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria on December 4th of the same year, brandishing a loaded assault rifle, and firing several shots off, endangering not only himself, but dozens of other diners, who panicked and rushed out of the restaurant into the street and into nearby businesses. This instance alone demonstrates the tangible danger that inflammatory Fake News poses when it gathers steam and runs unchecked. In addition, although no comprehensive study has undertaken the task of verification, it is speculated by many media outlets and Americans that Fake News led to the election of Donald J. Trump, both directly through Fake News spread by his supporters to discredit his opponent, and indirectly through the pushing of inaccurate claims and articles by conservative outlets such as Fox News.

Fake News Effects On Social Media

Social Media has been a key catalyst in the spread of Fake News by both the right and the left, corrupting Americans’ news intake at their most frequent source: their social network. Facebook, a platform consisting of primarily older Americans (Baby Boomers and Gen X) was the source or vector for most Fake News articles. This was, in part, because of the greater confirmation bias and low scrutiny demonstrated by these main demographic groups, Facebook saw the highest amount of Fake News sharing, and was ground zero for many of the Fake News stories, which then spread to other platforms such as Twitter and Instagram (Strong). However, that is only one distribution avenue; “Many more come from people we now term the “alt-right”, who cook up stories on boards such as 8chan, 4chan, and social media, and are then co-opted either by genuine right-leaning sites or shill sites, and are then shared again on social media” (Parkinson). Facebook has also been the epicenter for the spread of Russian propaganda, with Facebook itself saying that “as many as 126 million Americans may have seen content uploaded by Russia-based agents over the past two years” (BBC). Facebook has also been criticized as of late for allowing Fake News and propaganda to spread on its platform and taking entirely too long to address the problem before it grew out of control. The article goes on to explain how the Russian Fake News content blended in, stating that “many of the pages such as Heart Of Texas, Being Patriotic and Secured Borders were designed to look like they were created by US citizens” (BBC). These pages often appealed to partisan values, such as a Facebook page titled ‘Army of Jesus’ that compared Hillary Clinton and a handful of her supposed political views to the Devil, whilst likening Donald Trump and several core conservative values with Jesus, invoking emotions and stereotypes held by most conservatives about Democrats, and fusing them with Fake News designed to keep the reader hooked. These Russian Facebook pages were continuously added to with a steady stream of misinformation and confirmation bias which duped millions.

The rise of Fake News has spurred controversial reforms on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, with users voicing concerns and anger over disenfranchising policies that affect profitability and censor content. After identifying the thousands of bot accounts and falsified pieces of content on its site (both foreign-oriented and domestic), Facebook has undertaken the task of clearing as many of them as possible from its platforms, as well as changing algorithms and user feed mechanics that determine what users see, negatively affecting content creators and users by decreasing their traffic flow. A prime example would be the case of Cyrus Massoumi, who ran both a questionable right-leaning website and a website that catered to liberals. He made sure it abided by Facebook’s stricter rules, especially concerning clickbait — headlines manipulated solely to attract page views, a common characteristic of Fake News. Even with all of these precautions and content changes, Massoumi’s liberal website, TruthExaminer, was hit hard. “When Facebook changed its algorithm to disrupt the financial incentives for fake news, the tweaks had a collateral effect on the whole ecosystem of businesses built on its news feed, including Massoumi’s liberal property. Traffic for TruthExaminer went down 60 percent starting in March and hasn’t recovered, according to Nicole James, his editor-in-chief. “We never broke the rules that were constantly changing,’’ James said. “I did everything I’m supposed to do. We don’t steal, we don’t cheat. But I get people who message me and say, ‘I don’t see your posts anymore.’” ” (Frier). Massoumi is only one of many content creators that have effectively been rendered invisible by the content reforms that Facebook has enacted in response to Fake News, and he is in a better position because his other sites have generated enough income for him to ride out the storm for the short term. Many other legitimate news sites aren’t as lucky.

These anti-Fake News reforms are also causing a torrent of criticism and anger from conservatives, who argue that some of these reforms, such as “fact-checkers” have a liberal bias and a history of being very un-impartial. When Facebook announced in December 2016 that they were partnering with “impartial” fact-checking organizations such as ABC News, Snopes, and Politifact, the conservative community immediately became alarmed that these fact checkers would discriminate against conservative content. Ben Shapiro, a prominent conservative commentator and editor-in-chief of the conservative outlet The Daily Wire, criticized the decision, saying “This is a disaster for news coverage. It’s an attempt to restore gatekeepers who have a bias as the ultimate arbiters of truth” (Heath). These fears are not without merit. When asked how exactly Facebook would guarantee that the fact-checkers would be 100% impartial in their decisions, Zuckerberg could not give a firm answer, simply remarking that the network would “proceed carefully”. Another top conservative journalist, Katrina Trinko, explained a common sentiment shared by many conservatives: subtle bias exhibited by these same organizations in the past. “When you look at the signatories on the Poynter list (a group of “impartial” organizations), you’ll find seven from the United States: ABC News, The Washington Post, Snopes, Associated Press, FactCheck.org, Climate Feedback, and Politifact. Talk about the devil being in the details. These are hardly unbiased fact-checkers—conservatives have raised alarms about several of them” (Trinko). Many “impartial” news organizations have been at loggerheads with conservatives for decades, fueled by various inconsistencies such as the controversy surrounding former President Bush’s war record and the Clinton Benghazi incident/subsequent investigation. The measures being put in place in order to drive away Fake News are inadvertently driving away conservatives who feel that these social media sites and news organizations don’t represent them or their values; this ironically has the potential to increase traffic to “alternative” news sites, which are more prone to being the Fake News that the original policy was designed to prevent.

Conclusion

After extensive research, it is clear that Fake News has completely revolutionized the American political climate. It has had a significant effect on almost every area, from where and how voters get their news, to how they filter it, and how they apply it to their daily lives and civic duties. Fake News has proven to be extremely dangerous under certain circumstances which are becoming more commonplace as Fake News is allowed to fester, such as the Pizzagate incident. It has also been demonstrated that Social Media and its vulnerable users played a huge role in extending the reach and scope of Fake News, and the subsequent investigations have caused voters to become much more skeptical of ‘social media news’; these investigations and polarizing political tensions have also had the unintended effect of creating a thick cloud of animosity overall news networks, both partisan and impartial. This has the potential to create an even more uninformed electorate and affecting the future in uncertain ways. The reforms put into place to eradicate Fake News are also slowly eroding conservatives’ trust in social media, with the installation of organizations that are seen by them as oppositional to their views being placed in positions of often indisputable power over free speech on some of the biggest media platforms. Overall, though many other forces have been at work changing American politics, the phenomenon of Fake News has radically mutated the relationship between the electorate, social media, and the news organizations that they all depend on, with no solution in sight.


Works Cited

BBC Staff Article. “Facebook to Expose Russian Fake News Pages.” BBC News, BBC, 23 Nov.

2017, www.bbc.com/news/technology-42096045.

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