The Bipolar News: January 8, 2017

It’s easy to laugh at the Economically Anxious for being so easily duped by the obvious disinformation spread by news sources like Fox News, Brietbart, and the newly emerging cottage industry of what is now called “Fake News.”

“Of course they voted for Trump, they’re idiots!”

However, liberals and progressives are duped by fake news all of the time, but criticisms of the so-called liberal media that come from the left largely remain off the radar in an environment that can only accept binary poles of opposition. Those who make such criticisms will be accused of being a conservative, a nihilist, or an “idealist,” which is a funny thing to call someone when they’re speaking of what’s real.

Glenn Greenwald provides this case study in (neo)liberal fake news. The mechanism is the same as it is with the Deplorables. The difference being is that the narrative being created serves the interests of a left-of-centre party, and the publication involved has cultivated a reputation for respectability.

IN THE PAST six weeks, the Washington Post published two blockbuster stories about the Russian threat that went viral: one on how Russia is behind a massive explosion of “fake news,” the other on how it invaded the U.S. electric grid. Both articles were fundamentally false.

 

But while these debacles are embarrassing for the paper, they are also richly rewarding. That’s because journalists — including those at the Post — aggressively hype and promote the original, sensationalistic false stories, ensuring that they go viral, generating massive traffic for the Post.

 

Whatever the motives, the effects of these false stories are exactly the same as those of whatever one regards as Fake News. The false claims travel all over the internet, deceiving huge numbers into believing them. The propagators of the falsehoods receive ample profit from their false, viral “news.” And there is no accountability of the kind that would disincentivize a repeat of the behavior. (That the Post ultimately corrects its false story does not distinguish it from classic Fake News sites, which also sometimes do the same.)

This effect is real, and measurable.  Switching over to Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone:

As noted in The Intercept and other outlets, an Economist/YouGov poll conducted this month shows that 50 percent of all Clinton voters believe the Russians hacked vote tallies.

This number is nearly as disturbing as the 62 percent of Trump voters who believe the preposterous, un-sourced Trump/Alex Jones contention that “millions” of undocumented immigrants voted in the election.

 

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