Talk for Article "Fake news is ‘journalistic warfare’ says New Yorker’s chief fact-checker"

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    Wouldn’t you know it, the first comment I read on this site just now is the one by Calvin Correli. Hah! My comment might also be labeled as biased in the other direction.

    There’s an expression that was first used against HRC in the 1990’s by a Republican, “blizzard of lies” strategies. It’s only fitting that Republicans even then believed in “retaliating first.” Accuse your opponent first of your biggest weakness and of what you are most guilty of. In terms of 2018 the term blizzard of lies strategy is very relevant. Check one lie and the lie machine is already ten ahead. What happens when lying is mostly what you do? Who does that bring to mind? Is that too biased a statement?

    Just came across Jonathan Albright’s work at CSJ as reported in Wired. He determined by way of 80,000 suspicious links that the central generator of Russian fake news was YouTube not Facebook. No big surprise but it’s pretty bad when so many completely avoid mentioning YT. Possibly because it’s been relegated to the status of swampland long ago. That badly misses the point. A lot of ppl like me gave up on Facebook a long time ago. I turned to Twitter but that wasn’t where things were mainly happening.

    From even casual following of blatant and subtle psy-war disinformation since 2013 none of what happened concerning Russia in 2015 – 16 came as a surprise. Trump surprised me but not Russia. What did surprise me was how long it took to adjust to the onslaught that even I could see coming. IMO, there had to be any number of people who saw it besides ex-Russian journalists like Peter Pomerantsev who wrote a well reviewed book on it in 2014 or 15.

    When anyone could see what was happening in front of their eyes in 2016 concerning Russian interference many smart people in media pretended to write startling headlines “Did Russia Attack?” with people like Glenn Greenwald and Fox “News” labeling even these very meager attempts as McCarthyism and Russians under the bed Cold War paranoia. Greenwald didn’t go so low as to label them “Russophobia” as so many likely Russian troll comment writers of 2016 did. I guess he can be proud of that much. *Well done Glenn.*

    I guess my point is that none of this should be treated as new. In 2014, Rudy Giuliani, Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, F Graham publicly, in effect, endorsed Putin’s leadership over their own President. What was Comey thinking when he saw Giuliani praising Putin’s “decisive leadership in the Ukraine” on Fox “News?” My guess? He didn’t confine it to partisan politics. It’s likely he wasn’t surprised at all. And what events involving Russia in 2013 gave unelected Republican proxies the nerve to go public before the 2014 midterms? And what is the point of saying that? Not just Trump. Are all the above compromised Republicans? No. They’re much smarter than that.

    That might be called out as cognitively dissonant non-fact based speculation. How do I know the motives of the above named etc etc? I naturally call it informed and useful speculation. I and many many others can actually tell the difference.

    Edited: 2018-08-03 06:18:33 By Jerry Hanlon (talk | contribs) + 132 Characters .. + 4% change.‎‎ (Note | Diff)

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      Hi Jerry, do we know each other? Glad to meet you.

      I’m trying to figure out exactly what point you’re trying to make here. If you’re saying that mass misinformation has been used throughout the ages by all parties, I’d suspect you’re correct on that.

      To me, talking about that is to miss the point of the “fake news” conversation. I don’t think there’s any real argument about mass misinformation. I think everyone would agree that’s always been a tool employed by all powers that could. I could be totally wrong on that, of course.

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    Is it me, or does this article on fake news managed to completely avoid talking about what’s being referred to as fake news? In my understanding, what it means is major news outlets’ tendency to see everything from a particular point of view … Trump is bad, multi-culturalism is good, and they see everything supporting those viewpoints, and manage to ignore or downplay any facts against them. No-one seem to genuinely be asking the questions like “is Trump bad or is he good? In what ways might he be good, in what ways might he be bad? Do we really know for sure the things that we take as evidence of him being either good or bad, or are we speculating?” And the same with all kinds of other topics, economical, immigration, etc. They see their jobs as doing advocacy, not discovery. That’s what I understand the label “fake news” to mean, and this article seems to completely miss that point.

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      Deleted User

      Thanks for your comment Calvin.

      People use the term “fake news” in different ways, but we stick by the definition that refers to deliberately false or hoax information – the “mass misinformation” that is referenced in this article – rather than “news outlets’ tendency to see everything from a particular point of view.”

      As for the “is Trump bad or is he good?” question, WikiTribune is based on neutral and fact-based journalism so subjective or opinion-based queries such as that are out of our remit.

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        That makes sense. That may be another great example of the problem here. Some people hear “fake news” as meaning “mass misinformation” and get hung up on checking facts, others hear it as “twisting everything to fit a preconceived narrative”.

        Who would you say uses the term “fake news” in the way you’re defining it? I haven’t come across that much.

        Edited: 2018-08-03 15:32:10 By Calvin Correli (talk | contribs) + 30 Characters .. + 8% change.‎‎ (Note | Diff)

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          Deleted User

          Thanks Calvin,

          A good example of this definition comes from this ‘Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 election’ from the “Journal of Economic Perspectives.” (

          “We define ‘fake news’ to be news articles that are intentionally and verifiably false, and could mislead readers.”

      2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        Also, my point wasn’t that WikiTribune should be concerned with whether Trump is good or bad, I’m saying that’s an example of what the media that I see covered by the term “fake news” is doing, and which is referred to as “fake news”. Instead of looking at what’s actually going on, they try to read Trump’s mind and talk about what he means or intends or thinks, and predict the future and say what’s going to happen. I only used the Trump thing as an example, because he seems to be a key figure in the whole “fake news” conversation.

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    It might be helpful to explore whether “fake news” is a new phenomenon or a new name for an old phenomenon. For example, arguably one of the most egregious and important episodes of fake news was the Zinoviev letter (1924).

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    Deleted User

    One aspect I think maybe driving fake news is the need for broadcast journalism to garner ratings. “Breaking news as we go on the air…, live from the latest …” are examples of efforts to attract viewers vs. traditional reporting. As long as news shows have to compete with each other they have to out do their competition to stay on the air.

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    Typo with then instead of than… “quicker to fact check then it used to be”. Also, I thought this story was published before, but it seems to just be a draft now. Not sure if that was intentional.

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      Apologies about being a month late to reply but thank you Gareth. Have changed now

    2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      We’ve published it just now.

  6. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    “Canby’s staff aim to speak to every person mentioned in a story, even if they’re not quoted. ” sounds like solid fact checking.

    Perhaps WikiTribune also does this?

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      Sounds like something that’s nice to aim for, but I’m sure many will be difficult to contact. At least the platform should make it easier for the authors to get input from specific individuals and a large group. Sending the draft to people involved and asking for any input seems like it could be very beneficial. Maybe something worth streamlining a process for?

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      Story is published now. In our case we are hoping the community will help us do some of the verification, certainly on attribution and references. The New Yorker is the gold standard on traditional fact-checking methods.

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    What about stories that take quotes out of context and misguide readers by leaving out key points or only focusing on certain statistics without any mention of glaring holes in them. I think this is a big issue in the news and I’m not sure if the fact checking necessarily takes care of these issues. I’m sure some fact checkers do more than others, but some may let statements that are technically true slip through

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      I think a large reason for the fake news is that “suck ups” were promoted to become editors.
      These people could not have been mature if they succumbed to spreading false narratives.
      Either they are being told from the top that they need to create these false articles OR they have hired terrible people as journalist and they deserve to go out of business for their terrible hiring practices.
      If the person has short purple hair and wears feminist badges you may be hiring an activist instead of a journalist.
      But we may be dealing with a larger problem as basically all news media has decided to take up the practice.
      ABC, NBC, CNN, WaPo, etc… they all push the same fake stories in unison so this can’t be an accident.

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