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from the Atlantic:


The Grim Conclusions of the Largest-Ever Study of Fake News


Falsehoods almost always beat out the truth on Twitter, penetrating further, faster, and deeper into the social network than accurate information.




“Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it,” Jonathan Swift once wrote.

It was hyperbole three centuries ago. But it is a factual description of social media, according to an ambitious and first-of-its-kind study published Thursday in Science.

The massive new study analyzes every major contested news story in English across the span of Twitter’s existence—some 126,000 stories, tweeted by 3 million users, over more than 10 years—and finds that the truth simply cannot compete with hoax and rumor. By every common metric, falsehood consistently dominates the truth on Twitter, the study finds: Fake news and false rumors reach more people, penetrate deeper into the social network, and spread much faster than accurate stories.

“It seems to be pretty clear [from our study] that false information outperforms true information,” said Soroush Vosoughi, a data scientist at MIT who has studied fake news since 2013 and who led this study. “And that is not just because of bots. It might have something to do with human nature.”

The study has already prompted alarm from social scientists. “We must redesign our information ecosystem in the 21st century,” write a group of 16 political scientists and legal scholars in an essay also published Thursday in Science. They call for a new drive of interdisciplinary research “to reduce the spread of fake news and to address the underlying pathologies it has revealed.”

“How can we create a news ecosystem ... that values and promotes truth?” they ask.

The new study suggests that it will not be easy. Though Vosoughi and his colleagues only focus on Twitter—the study was conducted using exclusive data that the company made available to MIT—their work has implications for Facebook, YouTube, and every major social network. Any platform that regularly amplifies engaging or provocative content runs the risk of amplifying fake news along with it.

Though the study is written in the clinical language of statistics, it offers a methodical indictment of the accuracy of information that spreads on these platforms. A false story is much more likely to go viral than a real story, the authors find. A false story reaches 1,500 people six times quicker, on average, than a true story does. And while false stories outperform the truth on every subject—including business, terrorism and war, science and technology, and entertainment—fake news about politics regularly does best.

More here at The Atlantic.
In case you are wondering about Stinking Liar Broadcasting... its anchors have been compelled to read a statement on 'fake news' (meaning anything that disparages our Great and Infallible Leader -- irony intended).

https://theconcourse.deadspin.com/how-am...1824233490
More on "Stinking Liar" Broadcasting:

When fact gets a lot more bizarre than fiction, even the most conservative predictions cease to be reliable. For something right up pbrower's ally, Amy Siskind has compiled an ongoing list of changes, subtle and not so subtle, since Trump made his ascendancy. It's been published as "The List", and is not finished by any means. She's given numerous interviews on the content and her conclusions: that we are running a real risk of Fascism or something similar in this country. Not coincidentally, Madeline Albright has been seeing similar tendencies.

As a predictor, the list is a total unknown. As a horror story, not so much.
(04-04-2018, 10:28 AM)David Horn Wrote: [ -> ]When fact gets a lot more bizarre than fiction, even the most conservative predictions cease to be reliable.  For something right up pbrower's ally, Amy Siskind has compiled an ongoing list of changes, subtle and not so subtle, since Trump made his ascendancy.  It's been published as "The List", and is not finished by any means. She's given numerous interviews on the content and her conclusions: that we are running a real risk of Fascism or something similar in this country.  Not coincidentally, Madeline Albright has been seeing similar tendencies.

As a predictor, the list is a total unknown.  As a horror story, not so much.

Things are strange. Anyone who says "Well, at least Trump is a conservative" misses that he is simply a right-wing demagogue.
A website offers an analysis of news sources, some prominent and some obscure, for bias and reliability of news. This is far more than I could offer as analysis, in part because I could never analyze every daily newspaper from every city of 50K or so. Sure, I might be able to analyze the Elkhart (Indiana) Truth, but unless you have lived within 100 miles of Elkhart, Indiana (which includes Chicago and Indianapolis), you have probably never heard of it. Elkhart is the city about half-way between Chicago and the Ohio state line on the Indiana Toll Road. Then there are papers which have limited audiences within urban areas such as papers associated with LGBT communities. If you have much familiarity with Indianapolis, you know which one it is. If you don't spend much time in Indianapolis, then you probably don't. Then there are academic journals , easy-to-find mass-market publications ranging from the good (National Geographic)  to those that one reads, if at all, in secrecy (like the National Enquirer) Then there are foreign sources, including those with a heavy presence as foreign media on cable or in  magazines (like Der Spiegel) that one might find in a good bookstore.  There are official communications of organizations, from the benign to outright hate sites. Add to this there are solid advocacy groups and crank sites.  

I doubted that anyone could do this, but Media Bias/Fact Check has done this.. One man's mainstream, to be sure, is another's extremism, as with the Southern Poverty Law Center or Concerned Women of America.



Bias is fairly easy to identify through story selection and choice of words in headlines -- and of course editorial positions.

Bias can be easy to identify when blatant. From the source:

Left Bias:


Quote:These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward liberal causes through story selection and/or political affiliation.  They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage liberal causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy.


It's hardly surprising that Black Lives Matter, Crooks and Liars, Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, Mother Jones, World Socialist Web Site, and The Militant are here. So is, not surprisingly, the Huffington Post.  CNN qualifies. But so do GQ, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, People, and New Yorker.

Left-Center Bias:

Quote:These media sources have a slight to moderate liberal bias.  They often publish factual information that utilizes loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes) to favor liberal causes.  These sources are generally trustworthy for information, but may require further investigation.


The BBC is here -- barely (just short of being in the group with "least bias". So are France24 (which sounds like a French version of CNN), Deutsche Welle, the formerly (Jewish Daily) Forward, Thompson-Reuters, Bloomberg, CBC, CTV, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, NPR, PBS' News Hour... and seemingly the vast majority of high-profile big-city daily newspapers in America. This includes USA Today as well as 'the usual suspects'. The concentration of American broadcast media and daily newspapers may give the suggestion that the news media are mostly biased.

Official communications of the NAACP, the ACLU, and the Southern Poverty Law Center are here. Bias here may in part reflect constituencies (such as homosexuals and organized labor) -- and it can also reflect the concentration of talented writing.

Worth noting is CCTV -- Chinese Central Television, the official news medium that the People's Republic of China offers to English speakers outside China. Because of the nature of the government of the PRC I would not fully trust its reporting on events in China... but on everything else it is highly factual.  

Least Biased


Quote:These sources have minimal bias and use very few loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes).  The reporting is factual and usually sourced.  These are the most credible media sources. 

Among them are the AP wire service (news at its rawest, and probably least subject to manipulation -- my absolute favorite source for news, by the way, for that reason), the United Press International, C-SPAN, Wikipedia (practically self-correcting), Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, Harvard Gazette, Harvard Political Review, Humanist Magazine, NHK World (Japan), Stars and Stripes (fortunately so -- as it is the newspaper for the American armed forces), Amnesty International, and ZDF (a German television network).

Right-Center Bias:

Quote:These media sources are slightly to moderately conservative in bias. They often publish factual information that utilizes loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes) to favor conservative causes. These sources are generally trustworthy for information, but may require further investigation.

There are some big-city dailies here (Dallas Morning News, Arizona Republic, Detroit News, San Diego Union-Tribune, Toledo Blade) -- but comparatively few. Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Investors Business Daily are here. So are communications of the Mises Institute, the Mackinac Institute, the Hoover Institution, Real Clear Politics, and Rasmussen Reports.

I am tempted to believe that the center-right has been gutted in American life as the hard Right has pulled much of it... or that people who might be in the center-right  in any other society due to their economic position (Asian-Americans, educated gays and lesbians, and the Black Bourgeoisie) are unwelcome in the Right due to its antii-intellectualism and bigotry. Conservative economics and cultural values might not be enough to make one a conservative in America anymore.

Right Bias:

Quote:These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward conservative causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy.

The best-known is FoX News, much of the power behind the election of Donald Trump:

Quote:According to a Pew Research Center survey “Fox News was the main source for 40% of Trump voters” during the 2016 election. Further, another Pew Survey indicates “When it comes to choosing a media source for political news, conservatives orient strongly around Fox News. Nearly half of consistent conservatives (47%) name it as their main source for government and political news.” 

Fox News typically looks at the issues from a conservative perspective and also has a number of on air personalities that are strong supporters of Trump, such as Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Bret Baier, Laura Ingraham, Eric Bolling, Tomi Lahren, and Shepard Smith (critical of Trump from time to time). Fox News typically skews conservative as there is less criticism of Trump, therefore the majority of stories are pro-Trump.

In review, Fox News publishes stories with emotionally loaded headlines such as “’They Wanted It to Blow Up’: Limbaugh Says Success of Trump-Kim Summit Caught Media Off Guard” and “Tucker: 2016 Russia Collusion ‘Witch Hunt’ Now Extends to Jill Stein.” When it comes to sourcing they typically utilize pro-Trump pundits such as Rush Limbaugh who has a very poor record with fact checkers, as well as credible sources such as the Wall Street Journal. Fox News is also known to publish right wing conspiracy theories, although after being sued they retracted the story. Fox News has also been deemed the least accurate cable news source according to Politifact.
Overall, we rate Fox News strongly Right-Biased due to word and story selection that favors the right and Mixed factually based on poor sourcing and spreading conspiracy theories that later must be retracted. (7/19/2016) Updated (M. Huitsing 6/15/2018)



Note that FoX News gets mixed results for accuracy in reporting. Such is usual for propaganad outlets.

This is the power in mass-media access for the Right. There are of course Breitbart, NewsMax, the Drudge Report, One America News Group, and World Net Daily. The National Review is still here, but it now has Townhall as company. Sinclair (or as I am tempted to call it "Stinking Liar") Broadcasting is here for its infusion of  right-wing propaganda into local news. Communications of such special-interest groups as the National Rifle Association and Energy Citizens (a front for the American Petroleum Institute). Such coordinators of right-wing politics in American state and federal legislation as FreedomWorks, Citizens United, Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, and American Enterprise Institute. OK, so I am clearly on the Left and I find offenses by right-wing groups particularly unwelcome.

At the least I insist upon adherence to journalistic quality, which itself shows good sourcing, fact-checking, and overall reliability. Such usually prevents fake news from reaching us.

Can it get worse? Regrettably so.

Questionable sources:


Quote:A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, overt propaganda, poor or no sourcing to credible information and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for the purpose of profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact checked on a per article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake news unless specifically written in the notes section for that source.

These need not be right-wing; they can be on the extreme Left, such as Americans Against the Tea Party. probably the least credible government in the world is that of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- which is not at all democratic, badly abuses the Korean people, and is for all practical purposes an absolute, hereditary monarchy. The outlet for news from a regime that melds two of the worst traditions in political history -- absolute monarchy and Marxism-Leninism -- is the Korean Central News Agency. It is about as sure to tell the truth as my dog is sure to avoid grabbing a piece of meat within range of its paws or mouth.

Some are fakes that spoof reputable media. Some are simply fecal news sources (such as the National Enquirer). Some simply play fast and loose with the truth, like Concerned Women for America. Add to this -- overt hate sites like V Dare, American Vanguard, the Daily Stormer, Metapedia (a Nazi version of Wikipedia), Jew (sic!) watch... and let us not forget the anti-gay and anti-Islamic groups. MartinLutherKing.org exists not to laud -- but degrade the memory of one of America's greatest political and moral heroes; it is linked with, of all things, the neo-Nazi Stormfront.
Note that the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger has fallen through, Tribune breaking the possibility of a merger.
(08-13-2018, 09:55 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: [ -> ]Note that the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger has fallen through, Tribune breaking the possibility of a merger.
Good!
(08-13-2018, 01:45 PM)David Horn Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-13-2018, 09:55 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: [ -> ]Note that the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger has fallen through, Tribune breaking the possibility of a merger.
Good!

(In Tony the Tiger voice) -- that's G-R-R-R-R-R-EAT!
A chart, complete with logos of news sources, says much about some of the most prominent media. As an example:


[Image: main-qimg-12f43747967c9c690a3f29e6bb5ecd29]
"News" ranges from original reporting (AP, Reuters) that is done in such a rush that no reporter could ever manipulate the content. This is the definitive news source -- and the AP and Reuters are explicitly intolerant of any re-writing of its material. Can either get a news story wrong? Sure, but not often. So what is lacking in AP or Reuters wires? Depth. One gets no interpretation or analysis of the news. Others can do that. Close behind are Agence-France Presse and Bloomberg. There's not much potential for bias when one simply reports what one sees.

A little more depth comes with the three main commercial networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS, supposedly arrayed from left to right). Even so you may find the stories reported on superficial. The thirty-minute broadcasts of the evening news allot little time to any story. To get more information you must read a newspaper, and depending on the editorial bias you will see little difference in news reporting between a relatively liberal big-city newspaper (like the San Francisco Chronicle) and a relatively conservative newspaper (like the Arizona Republic) or rely on NPR or PBS.  In general, as news sources, entities in the upper half of the gray circle are highly reliable. This includes such entities as the Wall Street Journal (whose investor audience implies a bias of the clientele)

Just below is more complex analysis, which such newspapers as the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and Washington Post start to do. To the extent that a news entity does complex analysis (or the plainer analysis) liberal and conservative bias often become more overt. OK, Time, Foreign Policy, and The Economist don't seem to have much bias, but Slate and the Weekly Standard are decidedly Left and Right, bordering on clear partisanship.

There are entities that I never thought of until recently as news sources, such as New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Rolling Stone -- until everything became political, including cultural expressions. Perhaps the better writers are on the Left today, which may explain much of the  attraction of the Left to educated people. I remember when the National Review was eminently worth reading -- it lost that quality as the late William F. Buckley faded before dying. Could it be that literary merit has a liberal bias?

Complex analysis, plain analysis, and then persuasion follow -- and in each the polarization intensifies to Left and Right with the disappearance of any apparent middle. as one gets to plain analysis and persuasion. CNN is in a remarkable position -- not wildly-biased, but not very good. I am not sure that CNN has any clear mission in news except to fill time.

Below fair attempts at persuasion (like MSNBC on the Left and the American Conservative) one gets news sources or opinion sources that show bias through exclusion of any semblance of the Other Side. The Huffington Post and Daily Kos should be seen only in the understanding that one gets less than the whole story -- and may get some strident editorializing -- as with One America News and the Drudge Report. We are approaching the awful, and at this point the Left-Right divide is severe. At that level there is no discernible middle.

(I have cited the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos because those are not behind paywalls, and because they are easy to use on a specific issue).

The red rectangle involves even at its top such bilge as the Daily Mail and FoX News Channel on the Right and a media source that I have never heard of on the Left. The Red rectangle is the septic tank of news, material that one is wise not to admit reading.  A sort of 'center' appears, but this includes the highly-untrustworthy National Enquirer which offers mostly non-news such as stories of celebrities misbehaving.

You will notice that as one goes down in the reliability of news, political bias becomes much more severe except for the anti-vaccination stuff and celebrity news. Thus Occupy Democrats... the Palmer Report... Breitbart... Newsmax... Infowars... FLUSH!