Just a week ago the BBC were investigating the history of ‘Fake news‘…..
In record time, the phrase morphed from a description of a social media phenomenon into a journalistic cliche and an angry political slur. How did the term “fake news” evolve – and what’s next in the world of disinformation?
It is, you may be surprised to hear, not a bad run down of how ‘fake news’ came to be the battle cry of the liberal elite…it does look mostly at Trump but concludes he’s not guilty…it was his opponents, including in the media, who weaponised the phrase to discredit him….
Nothing new here
Misinformation, spin, lies and deceit have of course been around forever. But what Silverman and others uncovered was a unique marriage between social media algorithms, advertising systems, people prepared to make stuff up to earn some easy cash and an election that gripped a nation and much of the world.
In the wake of President Trump’s victory, BBC Trending delved into the huge world of pro-Trump Facebook groups. Inside those hyper-partisan spaces there were some outright falsehoods circulating.
But most of the content was more traditional political communication: puffery, drumbeating, and opponent-slagging. There were memes showing Trump as a fearless leader, support for his pledges to deport illegal immigrants, and potted biographies describing the candidate as “the very definition of the American success story.” It was hardly balanced stuff – but nor did much of it qualify as “fake news”.
But pundits scrambling to explain the shock result (and in many cases, their own follies) turned to “fake news” as one possible explanation.
It admits Clinton used the phrase before Trump…despite many a BBC journo accusing Trump…
To say that President Trump was the first politician to deploy the term would itself be, well, “fake news”.
On 8 December 2016, Hillary Clinton made a speech in which she mentioned “the epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year.”
President-elect Trump took up the phrase the following month, in January 2017, a little over a week before taking office.
Also it noted that ‘fake news’ may not have much impact at all in elections…Nick Robinson, Emma Barnett and Co might do well to note that before claiming that Russian fake news won the US election and Brexit….which of course is fake news from the BBC itself….
The researchers also found that the visits were highly concentrated – 10% of readers made 60% of the visits. And crucially, the researchers concluded “fake news does not crowd out hard news consumption.”
“The reach was relatively wide, but not so deep,” Mantzarlis says. “It’s quite a big step further to say, are people voting on this, making decisions on it.”
“To say it’s poisoning our democracy or it won this guy or the other guy an election, we need a lot more research to be able to say that.”
But one thing is missing from this analysis…the BBC…of course….stories such as this from the Sun today:
LABOUR LEFTIE LEWIS’ BIAS
Labour frontbencher Clive Lewis admits broadcasting biased news reports while working as BBC journalist
A LABOUR frontbencher has admitted broadcasting biased news reports while working as a BBC journalist.
And last night the revelation by shadow treasury minister Clive Lewis plunged the corporation into a damaging storm.
Mr Lewis told left-wing Momentum members: “I was able to use bias in my reports by giving less time to one than the other.
“I reported on both but the angle and words and the language I used — I know the pictures I used — I was able to project my own particular political positions on things in a very subtle way.”
Mr Lewis made his damning comments last September at a Momentum rally in Brighton.
They were discovered in a secret recording and will be a huge embarrassment to BBC bosses.
Tory MP Damian Collins said: “He’s boasting about undermining one of our great institutions.”
A spokesman for Mr Lewis declined to comment. A BBC spokesperson said: “Our editorial guidelines ensure impartiality.”
Remarkably, or not, you won’t find the story on the BBC website.
A Labour MP admits that when he was a BBC journalist he used the platform to spread his own propaganda and the BBC doesn’t immediately investigate and put it up as frontpage news? If it had been a Tory MP who had worked for the Mail, a Murdoch paper or Sky I can’t imagine the BBC being so coy.
Then again that’s why this site exists, because BBC bias is real, pervasive and dangerous to British society and democracy….just a few days ago David Attenborough was boasting how his nature programmes had changed government policy but he then also added that people must be careful who they vote for….given that Harrabin and Co seem to think that the Tories are toxic for the environment I imagine Attenborough isn’t suggesting you vote Tory when the chance arises.