What That New Major Study About Fake News Means (and Doesn’t Mean) for Fact-Checkers

A major study on Americans’ consumption of fake news during the 2016 election was released last week — and rightly graced headlines from dozens of media outlets.

Yet the great variety in these headlines made it seem like there were at least two or three different studies, not one.

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One thought on “What That New Major Study About Fake News Means (and Doesn’t Mean) for Fact-Checkers

  • January 10, 2018 at 10:15 am

    What is fake news? Media pundits and some politicians advance conflicting definitions.

    Publishing industry advocates represent fake news to be factually incorrect publications, knowingly distributed with deceptive intent. For them, fake news is misinformation.

    Some politicians represent fake news to be opinion and partisan analysis distributed under the banner of news. For them, fake news is propaganda labeled as news.

    Syndicated cable programs often display “breaking news” graphics to generate interest in partisan discourse. Many of same syndicates commingle actual breaking coverage of disasters, high-profile crimes or international incidents in program formats that are otherwise singularly directed at partisan analysis.

    Hosts of these syndicated programs would appear to believe that they are delivering actual news coverage when they empanel a slate of partisans to spin breaking. The anchors nod affirmations at allies. They cast aspersions at foes who were apparently invited primarily as foils to the anchor’s protagonists.

    Publications that analyze misinformation without addressing political propaganda marketed as breaking news contribute to an environment that erodes trust in information providers.


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