Associated Press, Fox News, and the Trust Issue.

Fake news is supposed to mean non-media entities parading as legitimate news, but as I shown in 2005, legitimate outlets have been spewing fake news for years. The Associated Press did just that when they mischaracterized an on-air blunder on Fox News Channel's MediaBuzz hosted by Howard Kurtz (the original story is archived here and here, while the corrected version is here and here):

Fox News inadvertently posted a graphic showing it lagged other cable news networks in trustworthiness.
It happened during a segment Sunday on "Media Buzz." Host Howard Kurtz was talking about a Monmouth University poll about whether the media regularly or occasionally report fake news.
But the graphic on the screen showed results from another question about what cable news outlets do respondents trust more. Fox News was last at 30 percent.
Kurtz realized the mistake. He said "that is not the graphic we are looking for. Hold off. Take that down, please."
The graphic was shown out of sequence. It wasn't shown "accidentally," especially as it takes time and planning to create that graphic in the first place. Kurtz discussed the graphic in question, but it wasn't supposed to come up when it did.

This wasn't a case of "gotcha." This wasn't a story at all.

Kurtz pointed out the distortion, while Left-winged partisan outlets, such as AlterNet took full advantage of the original flawed piece as did BoingBoing. Other outlets, such as the Washington Post covered the incident as did MarketWatch. Some others have been having a fit over AP's antics.

The kerfuffle is over a very flawed and melodramatic partisan study from Monmouth University that makes a huge leap in logic that "‘Fake News’ Threat to Media; Editorial Decisions, Outside Actors at Fault."

The AP story proved that fake news is a problem inside the old guard outlets. The FNC is a partisan outlet, as I chronicled in 2005, but here is a case where a bad study wasn't questioned, and then another media outlet ignored the methodological flaws of the same study and could have brought MediaBuzz to task for not scrutinizing the study. Instead they misrepresented a mundane error and polluted the information stream.

Journalism has a serious trust issue. While the Monmouth study did reveal that people do have trust issues with the news (a no-brainer observation considering that news media use has been eroding for years), how they did it, and the questions they asked leave a lot to be desired. It is like using a psychic to determine if the man whose bone is protruding out from his leg has a broken limb.

But these are the screwy times we live in. There is a profound disrespect for facts. It is all about a narrative that is used to force people to believe the same ideology you believe in -- and of course, this ideology completely benefits your backside. It is driven by folksy logic -- the belief that life is a parable where fictional patriarchal story structures are logical and natural, and drive reality.

And it's not.

You have to fight to find facts. They are raw and unprocessed. It is the reason why we need a profession that ignores the narratives to find those nuggets that show us what is really happening.

And when you have a program that takes a study for granted because they appeal to authority, and then have a wire service misrepresent the program, there can be no deep trust. Everything becomes babble, and our instincts to see truth from lies becomes dulled, and we begin to lose our way...

Journalism's Sour Grapes: Facebook outplayed them, and now they are making decrees about deleting Facebook. Nice try.

The CBC as well as Salon (via AlterNet) are marching lockstep like good little zombies, musing whether news organizations and the little people should just give up their autonomy and freedom like the #NeverAgain gang, and delete Facebook. To the dead profession of journalism: yes, you should delete Facebook because you always sucked at it. Old relics who are unteachable should just, like, stay away from the big scary monsters and just go continue to rot under the bed.

Even the CBC piece tries to dismiss the real reason for trying to weaken the medium that humbled them:

It's easy to dismiss the comments as sour grapes, but news organizations — including the CBC, which boasts more than 2 million subscribers on its Facebook page — have long wrestled with how to manage what the site has become: an available audience of more than 2 billion people, but without much differentiation between real and fake news.

Of course, it is more than sour grapes: it is a transparent attempt to try to reclaim the power Facebook undermined. Once upon a time, CBC could dictate the narrative and control the information Canadians heard. Now they cannot, and have discovered that the populace may not be the brainless sheep they had mistook them for over the years. People can finally make fun of CBC coverage out in the open, as they present their own realities with each other.

The AlterNet piece is particularly fascinating meta-propaganda trying to confine the narrative to install fear in people:

Whether the Facebook fiasco conclusively proves either Russian involvement in the 2016 election (or the UK’s Brexit referendum), or simply highlights the violation of campaign finance laws, is yet to be determined.

It is a loaded statement along the same ilk as Have you stopped beating your wife? 

It assumes that Facebook is a dupe or an agent of those evil Russians who manipulate those stupid Right-wing people living in trailer parks, and had there not been any meddling, everyone would march lockstep to the Left's decrees, Comrade, and let them do all of thinking for all of us.


The article is pure childish fantasy that rips off more of Soviet-era propaganda than modern-day Russia ever could.

Both of these articles are manipulative fear-mongering meant to terrify the masses who should realize one thing: a healthy mind is an unpredictable mind. So let the algorithms tell you what colour underpants you should buy -- you do not have to follow marching orders.

I know Facebook has never managed to sell me a single thing -- not a pair of socks or a political ideology.

East Germany had something even more powerful -- the Stasi and those people married the targets they spied on and had children with them. The Stasi failed and fell, and those who fought against it won out at the end of the day.

There is another amusing sentence here as well in that long, rambling piece:

But in a world in which we have all become reliant on the internet for our information, our searches and declared preferences are constantly recorded.

So what? I work as an author, and whenever I publish a book, the whole planet can pretty much guess what my searches and declared preferences are by reading my work. If I was going to be a paranoid coward, I wouldn't have had a public profession.

Besides, look who popped in my LinkedIn page:


No, I will never tire of showing that.

So, it is not just Facebook. Homeland Security had no trouble looking at my LinkedIn profile, and leaving a trace for giggles. So what?

The CIA and MI6 can stop by, and leave me a message, too, as well as CSIS, and any other kind of spook or government agency. Go for it. Figure me out, send me my personality profile via Messenger to amuse me...and my mom who will tell you that you are all hopelessly wrong, or any surveillance pictures you have ever taken of me, especially the ones that are flattering. It beats plastering my Facebook page with selfies.

We share a planet, kids. You had nosy neighbours listening on the party line way back when. People had their phones monitored by all sorts of people as they heard that odd "clicking" sound when they talked on the phone. It is nothing new.

Just as all those ballots you filled out to win stuff were used to gather information on you to sell you junk.

Nothing new.

But the self-righteous babbling goes on:

But a centralized, monopolistic exploitation of these interpersonal links is inviting public intervention, especially as the technology can also survive on a distributed, competitive basis. In the eyes of many, these companies are unlikely to escape the opprobrium of helping to allow the Trump disaster to descend upon us.

They will be regulated because governments will want to hijack that massive power for themselves. Trump didn't win because of Facebook, contrary to the sore-loser narrative of journalists, whose own mendacity lead to their own ruin. He won because this was the first election where the media's power was so weakened, that any media-savvy entity could bypass them.

When that happened, the profession squealed. No longer could they make decrees to the little people who was acceptable to vote for -- and they turned into paranoid conspiracy theorists. Some of the paranoia came from all that weed they love to smoke, but mostly, for the first time, reality kicked them where it counted, and they realized they weren't the cunning evil geniuses they always fancied themselves to be.

They do not realize that people moved on from journalism. They moved on. Journalism became irrelevant because of their own arrogant incompetency and inability to see reality, and that is a reason to celebrate. Those shackles were finally broken.

But now, it is time for journalism's replacement, and one that can thrive in any media as it embraces reality and truth to show a better path where free will is nurtured, and critical thinking brings out the best of humanity.