Tuesday, 28 February 2017

...and a portion of fake news please

Fake news has been with us forever. Exaggeration, omission, bias, trivia, and even outright lies as long as they are easily digested and show media stakeholders in a good light or outsiders in a bad one. Celebrity gossip is another notorious example of fake news, but the interesting question is who generates the demand for it?

To my mind fake news is in part a chicken and egg situation, it emerges from the limitations of the reader and consequent limitations of the media which have to supply what people are prepared to read or click. The media have to satisfy other pressures but ultimately they have to keep readers on board because without them they are nothing. As the Guardian is discovering. Even bloggers need readers. A few at any rate.

There seems to be a common assumption that the media manipulate their punters but punters also manipulate the media. We get fake news because we are satisfied with fake news and the internet is becoming particularly attuned to those satisfactions. Most punters do not want the intellectual grind of investigation, research, fact-checking or analysis. In general they are happy with fake news.


James Higham said...

Question is if they can even discern if it's fake or real. And in whose terms?

Demetrius said...

The trouble with "news" is that it is the now or very recent for the most part. That is what we know, or think we know, or assume. How it turns out later may well vary. Then what gets into the "history" is another matter. There is many a goal or try I have seen reported as a wonderful effort, which having been at the game, I know started as an error or misjudgement that was little or not noticed. As for politics.....

Sackerson said...

"Most punters [...] are happy with fake news." Is that a fact, or another example?

A K Haart said...

James - I think people often could but don't.

Demetrius - and what people are told is history varies too.

Sackers - I originally thought of adding a line to the effect that the post is another example but left it out as too facetious. I think it is an observed fact - the least energy principle doing its stuff.