The recent corporate media frenzy over “fake news” has led Facebook to announce its collaboration with third-party organizations who will “verify” what news is true and false.
In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s “shocking” defeat, the corporate media that ardently supported her has tried to reclaim legitimacy by blaming “fake news” as the source of its clearly self-inflicted problems. “Fake news,” the epidemic that never was, has become the scapegoat for the media outlets that threw their support so blatantly behind one candidate that they lost the trust of over half of the electorate. In many cases, they even published false or misleading content themselves in order to serve their clearly one-sided political agenda.
Some of these media outlets, particularly the New York Times, have now promised to “rededicate” themselves to honest reporting. However, nearly all of the corporate media refuse to blame themselves for their record low approval ratings. Yet, the corporate media isn’t the only group doing the finger-pointing – politicians have gotten involved as well. President Obama recently spoke out against fake news saying that: “[…] in an age where there is so much active misinformation, and it’s packaged very well, and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or turn on your television. If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect, we won’t know what to fight for.” Obama later added that “we’ll figure it out.”
In response to all the criticism levied against Facebook and Google as unwitting accomplices in the propagation of such “misinformation,” both recently announced plans to halt ad revenue for content deemed as false. Google, for its part, has decided to be the arbiter of what is true and what is false regarding it popular AdSense program. Facebook, however, recently announced that they will teaming up with still unnamed “respected fact checking organizations” as part of a 7-point plan to weed out misinformation in the newsfeeds of its users. Though specifics have yet to be released, Facebook’s previous collaboration with the government of Israel may hold some clues for what Facebook’s latest project could have in store for its users. In September, Facebook and Israel announced that they would begin working together to “rein in” Facebook content that “incites violence” among those who oppose Israel’s policies. Weeks later, the accounts and pages of Palestinian journalists were suspended and taken down despite a lack of violence rhetoric – a clear move at silencing dissent.
Clearly, so-called fake news is not to blame for Hillary Clinton’s loss nor is it to blame for the massive decline in trust for the corporate-owned media. The real targets of this “fake news” hysteria, which interestingly was absent during the actual election season, are the alternative media outlets that covered Clinton’s numerous scandals that were largely ignored by her supporters in the mainstream press. In addition, the alternative media covered the unprecedented collusion between corporate journalists and the Clinton campaign that Wikileak’s October and November releases revealed.
“Respected” journalists from CNN, CBS, the New York Times, the Guardian, Politico, the Washington Post, the Hill, Vice, Vox, and several others allowed the Clinton campaign to re-write, pre-approve, or redact passages from their articles. This represented a stunning rejection of journalistic ethics from the very same people who now want you to regard their compromised publications as the paragons of truth. As Edward Snowden said earlier this week, it is indeed dangerous to rely on Facebook for news, especially as its proclivity for censorship begins to spiral out of control. Nearly half of Americans rely on their newsfeeds as their primary source of news, though that may soon change as many of them wake up to Facebook’s and the corporate media’s attempts to silence dissenting opinions.
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