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When Fake News is the Real News

November 30th 2016

Newspapers

There’s a call to crack-down on fake news. Whatever that is.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

It started with a claim that fake news got more attention on Facebook than real news. Facebook’s reputation has already taken a hit for censoring conservative-leaning users. But what exactly is fake news?

How about New York Times Moscow Bureau Chief Walter Duranty’s false reports that covered-up the genocide of millions of Ukrainians by the Soviet Union in the 1930s. The Times’ Jayson Blair wrote one bogus story after another. There was The New Republic’s Stephen Glass. A Hollywood movie detailed his months of untrue news stories. There was the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story about an 8-year old heroin addict. The story was a colossal hoax.

60 Minutes II was shut-down after Dan Rather was caught with fabricated documents in a segment attacking George W. Bush. Some have argued Jon Stewart’s Daily Show – which called itself fake news — contributed to public debate. Ditto for Stephen Colbert. And John Oliver. The blog BuzzFeed has backed-up its criticism of fake news with a study. But that study — as pointed out by the Washington Examiner — is fake.

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