Tag: fake news media

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.

 

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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 Fake News Awards Are Here

By Nick Hamilton | USA

On Wednesday night, the GOP published a major article that nobody can stop talking about.

President Donald Trump has mentioned numerous times a “fake news trophy” or “fake news award” on his Twitter account. However, nobody would’ve ever thought that we’d actually be sitting here talking about a piece, which you can view here, concerning an actual “award show” per se, attacking Fake News in America.

The article, titled “The Highly Anticipated 2017 Fake News Awards,” shows eleven major instances of “fake news” that the President has had to deal with from the media.

Their first one, attacking the New York Times, attacks their writer Paul Krugman for suggesting that the economy would fall under Trump.  

Their second one, attacking ABC, criticizes their reporter Brian Ross’s “choke” during his reporting of a Trump-Russia story, that sent the stock market way down. ABC eventually had to issue a retraction.

Their third one, attacking CNN (who would’ve thought), attacks their reporting of President Trump and his son “hacking into WikiLeaks,” and inaccurately reporting on the subject.

Their fourth one, attacking TIME Magazine, attacks their false report saying that President Trump removed a model of Martin Luther King Jr, and attached a picture of Trump posing next to the figure.

The fifth one, attacking the Washington Post, criticized the “empty” rally that they reported was happening in Pensacola, FL. Of course, who could forget the empty rally that sold out? Smart!

The sixth one, attacking CNN again, criticized their reporting of Trump overfeeding Japanese fish with the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, while on his visit. It was later revealed that Abe led the way on the feeding.

Number seven, staying with CNN, attacks three reporters being forced to resign after fake news concerning Anthony Saramucci’s meeting with the Russians. They called it a “significant breakdown in the process.”

Number eight, hopping over to Newsweek, slams Newsweek for reporting that Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda didn’t shake Trump’s hand. There’s photo evidence to prove that happened.

Number nine, back to CNN, attacks their reporting of Former FBI Director James Comey saying that Trump was under investigation. He testified in his hearing, which was broadcasted ON TV, that Trump was never under investigation.

Number ten, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration had hidden a climate report. They had to issue a retraction.

And last but not least, the GOP took a shot at ALL news networks reporting on the Russia Collusion Scandal, stating that it was the “greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!”

The GOP also stated ten things Trump was doing well, despite the 90% negative media coverage. They recognized his great work for the economy, stating he’s created nearly 2,000,000 jobs and created $8,000,000,000,000 in wealth since he was inaugurated. They mentioned that African Americans and Hispanics are enjoying the lowest unemployment rate in recorded history. They mentioned that Trump had signed historic tax cuts and lowered taxes to the lowest since President Reagan. They mentioned that President Trump signed a major executive order, cutting job-killing regulations. They mentioned the Keystone Pipeline, ISIS being attacked harsher, Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the official Israeli capital, his demanding of NATO members to pay up, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and his campaign promise of getting Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court Bench done. They left out the Paris Climate Agreement, but overall, Trump has had a very good year in office.

You can’t really say the same for some of the media outlets. MSNBC is the only “liberal” news outlet prospering, and you see Fox News getting more and more viewers by the day. According to the January 8th edition of Basic Cable Ranker, Fox News Channel is the most watched network, MSNBC is #3, and CNN is all the way down at #7. ABC didn’t even make the list. Notice that Fox News isn’t on the list, and neither is MSNBC. (except MSNBC has been pushing the Russia story.)

Meanwhile, CNN makes an appearance FOUR TIMES on the list, and they’re all the way down at #7, and not even in the Top 10 for the hours of 8-11PM. And ABC isn’t even on the list!

These stats certainly give Americans a lot to think about when turning on their television and selecting who they’d like to hear their news from.

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

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Business.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, 12 Dec. 2017, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-12/business-takes-a-hit-when-fake-news-baron-tries-to-play-it-straight.

Heath, Alex. “Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook Will ‘Proceed Carefully’ with Fighting Fake News

and Won’t Block ‘Opinions’.” Tech Insider, Business Insider, 16 Dec. 2016, www.businessinsider.com/mark-zuckerberg-on-how-facebook-will-fight-fake-news-2016-12.

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Real Election | Hannah Jane Parkinson.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 Nov. 2016, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/14/fake-news-donald-trump-election-alt-

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Sydell, Laura. “We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here’s What We

We Learned.” NPR, NPR, 23 Nov. 2016, www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/11/23/503146770/npr-finds-the-head-of-a-covert-fake-news-operation-in-the-suburbs.

Trinko, Katrina. “Facebook’s Fact-Checkers Have a Liberal Bias.” Opposing Viewpoints Online

Collection, Gale, 2017. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/QFURIP828001891/OVIC?u=carmelhs&xid=95fc806d. Accessed 10 Nov. 2017. Originally published as “Facebook’s Reliance on Liberal Fact-Checkers Means Your News Is About to Be Censored,” The Daily Signal, 15 Dec. 2016.

Infowars Statistics: https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/infowars.com

If You’re Going to Attack the New Tax Plan, Use Some Sense

By Mason Mohon | USA

While recently reading up on the late GOP tax reform legislation, which has more than a few changes on United States tax policy, I came across a particular article from CNN. It was titled 7 reasons why Republicans may have made a bad bet on the tax bill. The article then goes on to list seven reasons, and they are rough. The article, written by CNN Politics Reporter and Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza is full of logical fallacies, mental jumps, and stretches that make my arm ache just to look at. The left’s attacks on Trump and Republicanism leave me astounded, for nobody in their right mind should or would take this seriously.

The first reason for the tax bill being bad is that “opposition is high… and growing”. CNN’s polls showed that the majority of the people oppose the tax bill, along with another poll that shows that non-Republicans think it goes against the middle class in favor of the wealthy. This is not a reason why the tax bill is bad for a few reasons. First, CNN polls a majority leftist audience, with studies reporting that the average CNN viewer profile “is a college-educated woman between the ages of 25 and 54, who tends to lean to the political left.” CNN has been polling leftists and progressive liberals, so why would their polls ever be in favor of a GOP proposal. At the same time, just because the majority opposes it, that does not mean that it is bad. This is a classic case of the appeal to the majority fallacy. It may be permissible if the author had a real impact on majority opposition, but he rounds off his reasoning with the two-word statement “That’s bad!”

The author had the option to make the argument that a significant amount of GOP voters are unhappy with the tax plan, which would harm the GOP in the next election and put many Congressmen in a dangerous position when it comes to re-election, but Cillizza did not, and his argument is still bad. This also would not have gotten around the issue of probably biased polling so he would have had to use a non-biased poll for this too.

The next reason is much shorter but just as bad. The CNN author claims that “People think the plan won’t help them.” Yes, people think the plan won’t help them. There are no statistics that say it will not, and there is no proof that the 37% of the population that believes this is grounded in fact. This reason does not matter at all.

Reason three seems to have a bit of well-sourced grounding. Donald Trump has claimed this tax bill is not here to serve his interests, yet they do source to a New York Times article that does provide well-sourced reasoning as to why the bill will not cause harm to Trump. Trump should not be lying, but make that your point. The president bending the truth is not a reason in itself as to why the plan won’t work.

Reason four faces the same issues as reason one: CNN polled left-wing people, and these left-wing people didn’t like it. Cillizza argues that people see this as a tax cut for the rich, with no backing as to whether or not it actually is. It doesn’t matter what the majority believes if there is no proof that they are well founded in their beliefs.

Reason five and six argue that Trump is not popular, citing his recent record low approval rating of 35% as a reason why the tax cut is bad. It is no secret that the approval rating is low, but why does this mean that it was a “bad bet” for the Republicans. The president has nearly nothing to lose. Six says that people do not trust the president on taxation, but that does not matter either. The author still does not make an argument for any impact of this on Trump or the GOP.

The last reason brought back memories of the 2016 election campaign season. Seven states that people want to see the president’s tax returns, which is the same complaint we heard leading up to November last year. Whether or not Trump has skeletons in his taxation closet has nothing to do with the plan’s impact on America, though, either.

The mainstream media, and CNN in particular, has shown themselves to be serious jokes. They do not seem to care about accountability to actual factual argumentation anymore. They obsess over appealing to a young leftist audience that will click on anything that even sort of depicts Trump in a negative light. As a libertarian and former (reluctant) Johnson supporter, it sucks to have to defend the current president from these senseless attacks. A lack of journalistic integrity makes the targeted side look good. It makes it look like CNN is in an echo chamber that will just feed the left-wing mob, rather than attack with strong arguments and facts. I see media companies left and right dipping into this pitiful type of journalism, and it saddens me to see that this is what the exchange of ideas has come to. CNN, along with the mainstream media, is day-by-day becoming more and more of a joke, and all I can do is cringe.