Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Problem with Fake News

This week, I spent roughly 60 minutes pouring over a research project done on fake news.  The piece? From Stanford University....Hunt Allcott and Mathew Gentzkow.

What they did was prepare a survey and test people.

They came to conclude that roughly 14-percent of people use social media for their news point. That's it.  The other 86-percent?  Well....they use the traditional form...print media, radio, and TV.  Yeah.....big shocker.

I linked the report and would strongly suggest that you sit down and read through the first 22 pages, and then sit and think.

The chief problem which they start to point out and barely scratch the surface that people watch or read news....going in.....and almost immediately that news memory is lost. We aren't talking about just fake news....but real news as well.  It's a momentary memory, at best.

You can ask yourself questions to prove this issue.  Can you name the Super Bowl champs of the past ten years (all ten teams).  Odds?  Less than 10-percent of you will probably be able to do that.

Can you name Jimmy Carter's VP?  Can you look over the images of 40 German political figures and name a majority of them (for German readers)?  The general public just doesn't retain knowledge and information.  News people may think there is some vast depth of knowledge there....but no, there really isn't that memory existing.

If you added up all the bits of news items you got for 2016....there's probably over 3,000 items that went into your memory, and I would imagine that at best, you retained only 300 of those items in some detail.  The rest are quietly and conveniently forgotten.

What does this say about fake news?  It's an agenda item. The authorities are mostly worried over something that will be forgotten rather quickly.

So how did Hillary lose if fake news didn't accomplish this?  Yes, that might be a very curious question to now ask.

How long will it take the German state-TV/public-TV crowd to read the study?  I doubt if they really want to touch it because they pumped up the fake news topic to a great degree back in December, and it'd be awful hard for them to now admit that fake news is fake.  There are actually German government agendas and programs underway protect the public from fake news.  Some political folks from both the CDU and SPD have dug deep into the pit of fake talk about it.

Where to now?  I would suggest more studies like this.  With more and more people viewing news, we might come to discover that it's just wasted time....we won't remember enough of make the viewing time worth anything.  We might as well be gardening, painting the basement walls, or reading some Steinbeck novel.

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