NY Times: How Fake News Goes Viral

Home Forum Question Everything NY Times: How Fake News Goes Viral

This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Brad 7 months, 4 weeks ago.

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #2140

    Adam
    Participant

    To start things off, here’s one about those allegedly bussed-in protesters in Portland, OR (“the buses were, in fact, hired by a company called Tableau Software, which was holding a conference that drew more than 13,000 people”):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/business/media/how-fake-news-spreads.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

    #2141

    Brad
    Participant

    Great stuff, Adam. I most definitely saw the “bus” stories on my social feeds during the protests. I had a hard time believing any group of people would be so stupid as to bus themselves in so obviously. And they didn’t. Clearly.

    But since we’re on the topic of fake news, and because you shared a New York Times story, I wanted to get your opinion on a story they ran recently.

    On November 18th, they ran a story with the headline… “Iraqis cheer ‘truth-telling’ Trump’s stance on ISIS, but fear it may backfire.”

    Within a matter of hours, the headline was changed. It later read… “Iraqis cheer Trump’s stance on ISIS, but fear it may backfire.”

    The noticeable change was the removal of “truth-teller” as a part of the headline. No big deal right?

    My initial reaction was to laugh and think to myself how typical the edit was. After all, the NYT is an undoubtedly Left leaning news organization. As such, it was as if their online editor simply could not swallow such positive phraseology within a Trump-centric headline. Thus, the change was made.

    But what’s more annoying is that they have since changed it again! Latest headline… “Trump’s New Hard-Line Aides Worry Muslims, but Some See an Upside”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/19/world/middleeast/trump-muslims-middle-east.html

    What’s completely ridiculous is that this article has seen so many variations, with each one getting more and more negative as it concerns Donald Trump. Keep in mind that the first variation had Iraqis viewing him as a “truth-teller” and now, suddenly he’s “worrying muslims” — which is a reoccurring narrative for the Left, wouldn’t you agree?

    All politics aside, what do you think of this practice? Is it not a form of manipulation (just like fake news)? It may not be a “fake” in the true sense (as with the bus example), but with so many people never reading past a headline these days, I find it calculating. Depending on which headline you caught in your news feed, you’re bound to have totally different takes on what the subject matter may be.

    Maybe it would bug me less if there was an obvious note regarding an update to the title. Some transparency would be nice, but that’s probably too much to ask for.

    Because I found it so ridiculous, I happened to screenshot the story after the first change (linked). And to make sure I didn’t make up the first headline, I googled it as I recalled and found several other sites linking to the NYT story, with the “truth-teller” quote still mentioned (linked also).

    https://postimg.org/image/as0vc5vib/

    https://postimg.org/image/kbak5mj0j/

    How would you categorize this sort thing??

    #2142

    Adam
    Participant

    Great stuff, Adam.  I most definitely saw the “bus” stories on my social feeds during the protests.  I had a hard time believing any group of people would be so stupid as to bus themselves in so obviously.  And they didn’t.  Clearly.

    But since we’re on the topic of fake news, and because you shared a New York Times story, I wanted to get your opinion on a story they ran recently.

    On November 18th, they ran a story with the headline… “Iraqis cheer ‘truth-telling’ Trump’s stance on ISIS, but fear it may backfire.”

    Within a matter of hours, the headline was changed.  It later read… “Iraqis cheer Trump’s stance on ISIS, but fear it may backfire.”

    The noticeable change was the removal of “truth-teller” as a part of the headline.  No big deal right?

    My initial reaction was to laugh and think to myself how typical the edit was.  After all, the NYT is an undoubtedly Left leaning news organization.  As such, it was as if their online editor simply could not swallow such positive phraseology within a Trump-centric headline.  Thus, the change was made.

    But what’s more annoying is that they have since changed it again!  Latest headline… “Trump’s New Hard-Line Aides Worry Muslims, but Some See an Upside”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/19/world/middleeast/trump-muslims-middle-east.html

    What’s completely ridiculous is that this article has seen so many variations, with each one getting more and more negative as it concerns Donald Trump.  Keep in mind that the first variation had Iraqis viewing him as a “truth-teller” and now, suddenly he’s “worrying muslims” — which is a reoccurring narrative for the Left, wouldn’t you agree?

    All politics aside, what do you think of this practice?  Is it not a form of manipulation (just like fake news)?  It may not be a “fake” in the true sense (as with the bus example), but with so many people never reading past a headline these days, I find it calculating.  Depending on which headline you caught in your news feed, you’re bound to have totally different takes on what the subject matter may be.

    Maybe it would bug me less if there was an obvious note regarding an update to the title.  Some transparency would be nice, but that’s probably too much to ask for.

    Because I found it so ridiculous, I happened to screenshot the story after the first change (linked).  And to make sure I didn’t make up the first headline, I googled it as I recalled and found several other sites linking to the NYT story, with the “truth-teller” quote still mentioned (linked also).

    https://postimg.org/image/as0vc5vib/

    https://postimg.org/image/kbak5mj0j/

    How would you categorize this sort thing??

    #2143

    Brad
    Participant

    Hey Adam,

    I think you make a valid point about it being difficult to not have a left-wing bias when speaking about Trump.  That’s a point that I hadn’t considered.

    And for the record, I voted for the guy.  And as someone that identifies as Conservative, voting for him was like crawling through broken glass.  He doesn’t represent me, my principles or my politics — but neither did Hillary.

    What a miserable election this was.  And how convenient that the biggest frauds in politics brought about “fake” news.

    #2144

    John
    Participant

    Great catch, Brad.

    My own take on this, and this just an educated guess, is that the NYT were trying to look less virulently “anti-Trump” after the post election media meltdown.  We have to remember that the publisher just came out with an apology, basically admitting to their own left-leaning (i.e. establishment) bias and promising to, “report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you.”

    Now that is stunning admission.  In other words, he admitted they weren’t being honest.

    So that, I believe, is the context from which the original headline came about.  They were trying to be “fair and balanced”, but then just couldn’t swallow, as you say, labeling Trump a “truth-teller”.  That was just a bridge too far.

    The fact that they changed the headline again, just shows how conflicted they really are in trying to be unbiased and objective when covering Trump.  They’re in a real ideological pickle now, a kind of fermented propaganda jar of their own making, and it’ll be interesting to see how they try to get out of it over the next few years.

    My guess is their bias is so entrenched and institutionalized that they won’t be able to extricate themselves from the establishment echo chamber.  A leopard never changes its spots, as they say.

    All that said, as most writers and editors of all stripes (both real and fake) know, “the headline” is the most important part in the editorial process. They know that most people don’t read the articles, but they DO read the headlines.  Hence, there’s a lot of careful thought and attention directed toward how to phrase the headline before and (sometimes) after publication.  The fact that it gets progressively negative, again, just reveals their partiality.

    By the way, thanks for listening to the podcast and participating in the forum.  Our goal is build a community of freethinkers who’ve escaped from the matrix (or want to), and are looking for a place to express themselves on a variety of topics (both taboo and traditional) without fear of being labeled or ridiculed just for having a thought outside the mainstream.

     

    Magical Mystery Media: Website of the Damned.

    #2145

    Brad
    Participant

    Awesome insights, John!  I love the way that you described things at the NYT… “a kind of fermented propaganda jar of their own making.”  I agree completely and think this could be said for outlets on all sides of bias.  Adam pointed out a great example with Drudge (although Drudge is more of a curator I suppose).

    Speaking of Drudge (and fake news), I’ll admit that I frequent the DR often.  Granted, I feel as though I’m smart enough to call bulsh on much of the sensationalism, so I don’t consider my readership a problem.  The thing I hate most about visiting Drudge is that I subsequently become a contributor to the massive amounts of traffic that the site gets.  Thus, I suppose I’m part of the problem with fake news.

    In any case, the Drudge Report was insufferable throughout the Republican primaries.  I had to stop visiting — and I lean right politically.  The garbage stories, the misleading headlines… they’re just ludicrous.  And I didn’t use to feel this way about Drudge.  I use to feel as though there was an argument to be made for the work Matt Drudge was doing… but that argument is becoming harder and harder to make.  And the same can be said for much of “new media.”  It seems as though ALL headlines have become whorish clickbait… and the problem doesn’t even end there.  As you know, much of the content beneath the headlines are as bad as the headlines themselves.  The majority of articles online appear largely inaccurate… poorly written…  full of half-truths… and drenched in bias.

    I believe it was Adam that said he found comfort in listening to Dan Rather recently.  I can absolutely understand the sentiment.  And this isn’t to say that I (or Adam) believe anything Dan Rather has to say.  On the contrary, I think we just miss the facade of “real news.”  Everyone is so obviously tainted these days.  It’s impossible to take comfort in anything that the MSM has to say anymore.

    I don’t think I can recall a comparable time in our history in which the “news” has been so saturated with self-serving “echo chamber” nonsense.  I mean seriously — my entire social feed is full of shit.  And that includes my friends!  Haha, it’s embarrassing.

    Anyway, keep up the great work guys.  You make taboo subject matter seem normal and I absolutely love it.  You speak to one another (and to your audience) in a way that I regularly speak to my own friends:  cynically, seriously and often jokingly.  Kudos for keeping things casual and honest.  Your chemistry translates and I look forward to each and every episode!

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.