A Detailed Explanation of How Fake News Happens


The modern main stream media is awash in rumors and fake news. I've heard quite a few old media news people refer to blogs and bloggers as 'parasitic'. The argument goes something like 'we create the news and they borrow it and rehash it and take traffic away from us'. However, this video from Epipheo explains that it is, just as frequently, the other way around. Much of the time the news that bloggers are borrowing and 'rehashing' came from blogs (or social media) in the first place, before it was picked up by news outlets and published with or without a source or fact checking.

The video ends with the conclusion that 'if you're not paying for it, you're not the customer, you're the product'. This is, mostly, correct. Commercial media makes money buy selling the eyes and ears of their audience to advertisers. That is a big part of the reason that non-commercial (emphasis on the non-commercial) public broadcasters tend to be more reliable than commercial broadcasters.

The conclusion, above, is only partially right. Even if you are paying for content, you're only the 'customer' if you are paying more than the advertisers. Newspapers that have gone behind paywalls, for example, still get the vast majority of money from their advertisers. The paywall is only intended as a secondary income so you are still the product, not the customer.

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