Saturday, February 4, 2017

Fake News on the Left

Fake news to left of them
Fake news to right of them
Fake news all over the damn place
Volly'd and thunder'd...
Writing in The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer argues that, in the wake of Trump's election, we're seeing an uptick of questionable news on the Left.
Twitter accounts purportedly operated by disgruntled government employees—@AltNatParSer, @RogueNASA, and the extra dubious @RoguePOTUSStaff—have swelled in number to become a shadow bureaucracy. Conspiratorially minded Medium posts insist to anyone who will read them that the real story of the Trump administration is even more layered and nefarious than it seems. And satirical news of poor quality has gotten passed around as a weird story more than once. (Queen Elizabeth II didn’t actually say she could kill Donald Trump with a sword.)

Or at least that’s how it seems to me. Brooke Binkowski is the managing editor of Snopes, the English-speaking internet’s most important rumor-debunking site. It is her job to sit around and look at some of the most popular falsehoods on the web all day. Earlier this week, I asked her if she had seen a spike in the amount and popularity of fake news aimed at liberals.

She immediately replied: “Of course yes!”

“There’s a lot of confusion, and people are profiting from the confusion on all sides of the continuum,” she told me. She said she had seen a concerted spike in fake news aimed at liberals since the inauguration.

She emphasized that there’s no equivalence between the falsehoods coming from the American left and the right in the past two weeks. Individual Democrats on Facebook may cling to pleasant stories and wishful thinking, but the Republican White House press secretary spouts off lies beneath the presidential seal. On Thursday, Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to the president, referenced a terrorist attack that never happened.
The rest of the piece is an interview with Binkowski. One interesting comment:
Even people who are sending around these stupid stories that are complete BS, they would latch onto actual news, not conspiracy theories, if there was more actual news out there. I think that people are going about the fake news issue the wrong way. Pinching off fake news isn’t the answer. The answer is flooding it with actual news. And that way, people will continue looking for information, and they will find vetted, nuanced, contextual, in-depth information.
It's as though we're looking for the world to match our inner sensibility. If we don't see facts that answer to that sensibility, then we'll make them up.

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