While Social Media Was Quick To Highlight And Limit The Spread Of False Claims Of Election Victory, Traditional Media Just Let It Flow

from the guys,-seriously? dept

For four years, all we've been hearing about is how social media was this terrible source of disinformation that had to be regulated because they were destroying democracy and all that. And so what happened last night/early this morning when Donald Trump falsely tried to claim he had won prior to all the votes being counted? Twitter and Facebook both reacted pretty quickly to flag the information, and highlight that it was misleading or false (and Twitter limited the ability to share it).


Meanwhile, nearly every major TV station allowed Trump to give his speech directly, in which he falsely claimed that he had already won states where there were still many votes to be counted, insisted that the counting of votes must be stopped (and claiming he was going to ask the Supreme Court to stop the count), and suggesting that there was fraud going on in a few states that still had significant mail-in ballots to count (most of which they hadn't been able to count prior to yesterday because of Republican legislatures blocking that ability). There was no attempt to delay what he was saying, to contextualize it or to point out it was wrong until well after it had broadcast.

And then you had journalistic malpractice via the Associated Press. Two of its White House reporters, Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire, decided to do a "straight" tweet repeating what Trump had said, without any context, without any caveats or context, as if it were factual reporting.


It's flabbergasting that the AP would take this view from nowhere approach to reporting on something so critical. And, even worse, since so many local newspapers just rerun AP newswire, that's the take that many people are going to see.

Other sources got it correct. Buzzfeed -- a site that old school journalists used to love to mock -- did a hell of a lot more journalism than the AP:

The Guardian, a UK paper, got the story correct as well:

We've been noting in the past year how studies have shown that TV news is the key source for disinformation and how it doesn't tend to go viral on social media until after it appears on TV.

So can someone explain to me why it is everyone wants to rush out and blame social media for disinformation?

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Filed Under: content moderation, disinformation, donald trump, elections, fact checking, jonathan lemire, media, social media, zeke miller
Companies: ap, associated press, buzzfeed, facebook, guardian, twitter


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  1. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Nov 2020 @ 2:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Many of them are uninformed and are not aware of these atrocities, either from a lack of interest or a lack of reporting - for whatever reason."

    It's not rocket science. The US had a brief golden era where it walked the talk. The myth of the US being the most liberal nation on earth and the greatest place to live has been perpetuated for generations.
    The idea that this self-image had been replaced with smoke and mirrors as far back as the 60's was so frightening that no few people who ought to have known better now don the MAGA hat and vote for whoever is sufficiently different from the "more of the same" which brought the nation to the current point. A "strong plain-speaking man".

    And although the skittish fringe rooted in fear and anger is bad enough the real harm is caused by the majority of all those bloody moderates saying "We don't want to hear that shit!" and forgetting about it as if at some point one of the talking heads sent to the white house will make a clear difference.

    Which it doesn't, and the downward slide continues. The US has been falling apart from the inside for a long time and though the dumbass fringe in red hats may be ignorant and easily led they aren't blind about the lower classes - usually them - getting a raw deal.
    That they blame the wrong people for it and rail about "leftist liberalism" (which would actually be the only cure for those ills given what caused the harm in the first place) is just like a wounded animal biting at the hands which would help it.

    This is exactly how it went down in Germany 1933. A steady decline and a political caste either inept, self-serving or afraid to rock the boat further giving way to a populist scapegoat movement driven by emotions like fear and hatred, eager to blame all the bad things on - in this case - liberals, leftists, sexual "deviants", the academics and brown people. Mixed with the Usual Suspects who we sometimes see on these boards eager to wedge "ze jewish conspiracy" into that mess, as usual.

    Right now the issue is that, accounting for half of the voters still being trumpist and ~60% of the US citizenry voting, just about 30% of all americans are just fine with leadership catering to white supremacists and which has so far cost the US 200,000 needlessly dead americans.

    This is fucking frightening.


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