Obama Joins The War Against “Fake News”

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In his last days as President of the United States, Barack Obama has decided to join the chorus of mainstream voices taking a stand against “fake news.”

In recent weeks a growing number of pundits within the deadstream (formerly known as the mainstream) media have begun to discuss “fake news” and satire websites and what effect they have on the American public. Some of these pundits are worried that bad information on the Internet paved the way for President-Elect Trump. In fact, a study published Wednesday shows that fake stories related to the election generated more traffic on Facebook than leading stories from “more than a dozen major news sites.”

Now, President Obama has decided to throw his hat into the ring by sharing his thoughts on how illegitimate news could affect the political process. The Hill reports that during a press conference in Germany on Thursday, Obama said that if Americans can not “discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems.”

Obama went on to argue that because websites containing misinformation are often packaged “very well” it may inappropriately affect voter attitudes towards political candidates.

“If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect,” Obama said. “We won’t know what to fight for.”

“Part of what’s changed in politics is social media and how people are receiving information,” he said. “It’s easier to make negative attacks and simplistic slogans than it is to communicate complex policies. But we’ll figure it out.”

President Obama and political pundits are not the only ones warning about fake news. Recently, Google has also announced that it will be prohibiting “fake” and “misrepresentative” sites from using its AdSense program. “Moving forward, we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose of the web property,” the company told Reuters . This policy will include websites labeled as “fake news.”That last line should have lovers of free speech and independent media very concerned. President Obama and incoming President Trump are prepared to “figure it out” so independent, non-corporate media can be dragged into the same category as actual fake news and satire websites. Eventually, the independent and alternative media sites that have worked tirelessly to expose the lies of the corporate media will be outright banned and blocked, or the average American will be so heavily propagandized that they will not bother checking sources that have been blacklisted.

On November 14, U.S. News & World Report released a piece titled, “Avoid These Fake News Sites at All Costs”, which listed several websites divided into categories of hoax or fake sites, satire, or simply propaganda. The website ranking was put together by a website called Fake News Watch. In what I would consider a badge of honor, Activist Post was labeled “propaganda” by this deadstream outlet. The irony is that U.S. News & World Report is guilty of pushing false narratives and propaganda. As Brandon Turbeville notes:

Remember, it was U.S. News and World Report that published “The Liberal Case For Intervention In Syria,” which was a pathetic attempt to justify yet another American war of aggression against a country that did nothing to the U.S. nor posed any threat to it.

There was also no mention of CNN for its infamous “Syria Danny” fiasco where the corporation was caught red-handed staging a propaganda video against the Syrian government, ultimately to draw Americans in to having pro-war sentiment despite the weariness of foreign adventures enabled by “real” news organizations like the New York Times and CNN.

Only days later a Google Doc began circulating claiming to be another list of “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources.” This list was reportedly put together by Melissa Zimdars, associate professor of communications at Merrimack College. In an interview with USA Today, Zimdars says that the public should take responsibility for checking sources, but that perhaps social media sites like Facebook could provide verification tools. But should we really trust Mark Zuckerberg and Google to tell us what is truth and what is lies?

Regarding the fact that several websites listed on Zimdars document actually report factual news, she says, “I read several of the publications listed, so I’m not trying to pass a value judgment on them. They’re on the list possibly because they rely on clickbait headlines sometimes, and so it’s important to understand if they’re coming from a particular perspective or trying to emphasize a particular point, that people need to read widely in order to create a fuller picture of whatever events they’re reading about.”

She goes on to explain that “on this document I created, there’s four different kinds of sources,” and “because that list identifies some fake news sites, some that may be misleading or unreliable that do report sometimes on actual events to various degrees to truthiness.” On this point I cannot disagree. Unfortunately, I have seen some of my favorite sites and friends opt for clickbait-y headlines that don’t necessarily tell the full story and could possibly mislead someone who does not read past the headline.

This means that both writers, journalists, and readers have a responsibility. If we do not work to report accurately and if readers do not take the time to dissect complex issues, then we are doing a disservice to ourselves. Also, this provides the perfect excuse for the State to step in and once again attempt to play parent figure. All of this ultimately leads to more control and more censorship.

If you want to help save the independent media stop sharing fake stories and check your sources. Journalists, it’s time to care about more than just clicks and shares. Focus on writing the honest, credible stories that helped propel us to the position we are today. The deadstream is rendering itself irrelevant and with their last dying breath they are attempting to subvert the power of the free media.

Don’t allow them to win.

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1 and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2

Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact [email protected]

Courtesy of Activist Post

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11 Comments

  1. The “pot is indeed calling the kettle black”.
    Media lies and fabrications have been going on ever since there were “journalists” (I use that term loosely).
    From “Remember the Maine” in the Spanish-American war (actually a powder magazine explosion–not an attack) to walter duranty’s extolling the “virtues” of communism while one of the greatest “artificially-engineered (by communists)” famines in the Ukraine” was taking place, in order to force the “collectivization” of privately-held farms, to walter cronkite outright lying about American military’s effectiveness during the 1968 Vietnam “Tet offensive” (in which much enemy life was lost) journalism has always been a “nasty craft”. In cronkite’s case, the North Vietnamese were ready to settle (and capitulate) until cronkite’s lies about the supposed American “defeat” were publicized. Cronkite’s lies gave the North Vietnamese new resolve, as they realized that they had the American “news media” on their side (as they later admitted). There has always been a certain sympathy for communism and totalitarianism in the so-called “mainstream media”. All one has to do is to look at the journalists fawning over Cuba’s Fidel Castro and how wonderful life is in that communist “paradise”.
    Look at NBC’s rigging of GMC truck gas tanks to explode and the “doctoring” of George Zimmerman’s 911 dispatcher conversation to make him appear “racist”. Showing “young trayvon’s” picture as a 12-year-old rather than his current facebook “thug” picture is journalistic malpractice of the highest order.
    Journalists HATE the internet because it exposes their “profession” for what it really is…with the internet, anyone can be a true journalist. This is why the same “mainstream media” is calling for the “licensing” of journalists–something that would have been unheard of (and treasonous) in previous decades…
    Hence, the push to demonize TRUTH purveyed by “non-traditional” news sources…

  2. Do not believe anything that this worthless Black turd has to impart. Normally, his
    villianous desires, never benefits the United States, but rather, his worthless desert
    turds in the Middle East. Thank our Creator, that Donald Trump will hopefully return
    the U.S., as it place in international and domestic politics and the military force that we
    enjoyed by other Presidents. If this worthless Black turd is worried about his legacy, it
    has already been written, that he is the worthless POTUS in the History of the U.S., and that scholars will rate him the same, accordingly. Our Creator has given the U.S.
    another chance to become great again, in the same fashion that our Creator has givenIsrael the same chance to become great again, in the presence of Benjamin Natanyahu. This Black turd will join the list of the most worthless dictators this planet has ever produced, bringing the ire of the entire planet to fall upon the countenance of the Black Community. What has this worthless Black turd accomplished for the Black community? Absolutely nothing, primarily, because he hates the Blacks, and has left the fate of the Blacks, in the hands of Al, Jesse, and Louis. What has Hillary Rotten Clinton accomplished for the United States? Absolutely nothing. She will go down in History as a demented female turd whom has failed in every attempt that she has approached, especially, her two attempts to become POTUS, in which the American people have indicated to her, they do not require her kind of politics to bring to the office of the Presidency. The American people were fooled twice, by this Black turd from Kenya, and hopefully, they have learned their lesson that Communism, Islam and females, do not maintain a place in the position of the POTUS or in American politics, what with the caliber of females that are currently part of our governorship or part of the 535 Congressional turds that currently hold sway over the American people, which is about to change, with the inauguration of our 45th POTUS, Donald J. Trump. Notice too, how many female politicians have become the ultimate
    leaders of their country: Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, Catharine the Great, Golda Meir and
    Elizabeth Thatcher. During the HRC campaign, Elizabeth Warren, the crazy
    Pocohantas, attempted to show what she was made of, if you follow. Just remember,
    my fellow Americans, neither this Black turd and Hillary Clinton, maintain any positive
    interest for the United States, and History will eventually award them their just dues,
    as being both Communists and catering to Islam, instead of the United States.

  3. Ha – barack insane obama actually took time out from golfing to make a statement about this distraction, but he is still mute on the violent rioting that is burning our cities, destroying property and our economy, and harming and killing people throughout the country. Of course, FAKE news is HIS baby!

  4. Ha – barack insane obama actually took time out from golfing to make a statement about this distraction, but he is still mute on the violent rioting that is burning our cities, destroying property and our economy, and harming and killing people throughout the country. Of course, FAKE news is HIS baby!

  5. From now on whenever I tweet anything from the deadstream media I am going to notate the words “Fake News” before each tweet. Only mine would be true. They sure know how to project do they not.

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