Politics

How to Detect Fake News in Mainstream Media

It’s simply mind-boggling how fake news in “respectable” mainstream media outlets get pushed out every day, but Americans fail to detect them. Whether it’s because of the short attention span of Americans or people can’t think logically, such fake news never get challenged.

Headlines become the truth; statements are treated as facts; anonymous sources are accepted without questions; and allegations turn into incontrovertible evidence.

Take, for example, today’s New York Times article titled, “In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred.” This article trended on Twitter and all the influential liberals are retweeting it.

No questions asked. The thought of questioning this article isn’t even a choice. Why would someone question The New York Times? Moreover, it’s all clearly laid out in the article — exactly what happened in that private dinner!

This is the problem with a nation of consumers. People just consume news, without thinking.

Let’s start with the basic question: how did the NY Times get this information? Seems crazy to ask this? Not really. This is something every reader must ask.

Let’s read the article to find out. The first half of the article just narrates an event, leaving no doubt in the reader’s mind as to what transpired. It’s as if the New York Times journalists were sitting at a table right next to Trump and Comey! Then, half way through the article, the truth comes out:

Comey

Aha! Anonymous sources! No names, no description, not even a clue. How many people told the NY Times this story? Two people, three people, ten people? Are they still in the government/FBI? Democrats, Republicans? Could it be Hillary Clinton and John Podesta?

And think of the chain of revisions. Trump (allegedly) asked Comey something; Comey then (allegedly) repeated his interpretation to some people; and those people (allegedly) told a writer at The NY Times. It’s exactly as if someone told you, “I heard from X who heard it from Y that Z said this.”

This is called hearsay evidence. It’s actually hearsay evidence twice removed!

Not to mention that Comey and his buddies have all the motives now to bad-mouth Trump. And The NY Times, which hates Trump and wants a sensational story, has all the motives to embellish the story.

Now, it’s possible that the story is 100% true. It’s also possible that The NY Times is lying; it’s possible that the sources are lying; it’s possible that Comey is lying; and it’s possible that Comey misinterpreted what Trump said.

See what happens when we think logically?

Another example is a BBC article from May 4, 2017, with a title that screams: Assad is still producing chemical weapons.

BBC 1

This article is long and has lots of recycled pictures and is very convincing for a casual reader. Unless, of course, you read carefully! Then you find out that it’s based on anonymous sources that won’t give any evidence or proof for the allegations. Just take our word for it! The whole article is pure propaganda and utter rubbish.

BBC 2

These stories are not an isolated incidents. For the last year or so, stories based purely on anonymous sources, stories with absolutely no evidence or proof are wantonly printed/published every day. From respectable sources such as The NY Times or Washington Post to marginally respectable ones such as The Huffington Post or BuzzFeed to lunatics like Louise Mensch … everyone is indulging in #FakeNews.

This is why people are shocked if you point out that there is actually no evidence that Russia hacked Podesta’s emails or the DNC. This is why people believe the “Pee-pee dossier.”

Fake News is great business but really bad for democracy and freedom.

Related Blog Posts

Why Americans are Irrational/Illogical

Trump-Russia Conspiracy Debunked in Two Minutes