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Thread: Fighting Fake News Is Not the Solution

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    Cat-tastic Babba's Avatar
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    Fighting Fake News Is Not the Solution

    This is an interesting article about a couple of studies that show that most people do know the difference between real and fake news. For example, most people oppose the Republican tax bill because they know it favors the rich and hurts everyone else. Or, most people oppose the repeal of Obamacare because they know it's better than what we had before and certainly better than anything the Republicans have offered. Anyway, it's very interesting.

    In the popular imagination, the public is divided into two segments of roughly equal size: the “liberal bubble” and the “right-wing bubble.” In fact, there has never been much evidence that this picture was true, and two recent data points contribute to disproving it. One is a large study of the reach and impact of fake news; the other is opinion-poll data on the tax-reform bill that Congress passed and President Trump signed into law in December. Together, they burst the two-bubble theory by showing that most Americans are better informed and less gullible than you might think. That, in turn, suggests that fighting “fake news” is not the solution, or perhaps even a solution, to our current political problems.
    A second important observation in the study by Guess, Nyhan, and Reifler concerns the effectiveness, or, rather, the ineffectiveness, of fact-checking as a genre of article or Web site unto itself, such as the Washington Post’s Fact Checker or PolitiFact. “Not only was consumption of fact-checks concentrated among non-fake news consumers,” the authors wrote, “but we almost never observe respondents reading a fact-check of a specific claim in a fake news article that they read.” The study published in CJR, on the other hand, observed that while audiences of right-wing-bubble media and the rest of the media hardly overlapped, language had a way of migrating from Breitbart into the mainstream media. The authors identified the two topics that dominated false conspiratorial narratives—Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and the threat posed by immigration—and traced the mainstream media’s disproportionate focus on these topics to the fake-news sites’ obsession with them. Together, these observations suggest that those ineffectual fact-checking pieces might have been a primary vehicle of that migration—such as, for example, when the Postfact-checked Trump’s claim, made in an interview with the conspiracy-theory purveyor Sean Hannity, that Clinton’s e-mails caused the death of an Iranian defector.

    Still, the most salient, consistent, and counterintuitive result of these studies is that the image of the American public as divided into two equal partisan bubbles is wrong. Opinion data on Trumpian tax reform is real-life proof that most Americans share a fact-based view of reality. Poll after poll showed that voters opposed the tax bill, and that they did so on the basis of accurate information: they believed that it would benefit the rich. If there were indeed two equal-sized information bubbles in this country, one might reasonably expect half the population to buy Trump’s incessantly repeated line that the bill constituted a tax cut for the middle class. One would also expect roughly half the voters to support repealing the Affordable Care Act. That a majority of Americans support Obamacare and do not support the tax law is proof that accurate reporting still matters—sort of.
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-c...t-the-solution

    So how in the hell have we ended up with Trump as president and a majority Republican Congress? Gerrymandering is one reason. But that doesn't explain it all. Maybe because Democrats do suck in some important ways. An important way is that they're terrible at messaging.

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    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babba View Post
    So how in the hell have we ended up with Trump as president and a majority Republican Congress? Gerrymandering is one reason. But that doesn't explain it all. Maybe because Democrats do suck in some important ways. An important way is that they're terrible at messaging.
    They're also not up to par when it comes to voting -- or at least, voting for Democrats.
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    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babba View Post
    This is an interesting article about a couple of studies that show that most people do know the difference between real and fake news. For example, most people oppose the Republican tax bill because they know it favors the rich and hurts everyone else. Or, most people oppose the repeal of Obamacare because they know it's better than what we had before and certainly better than anything the Republicans have offered. Anyway, it's very interesting.





    https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-c...t-the-solution

    So how in the hell have we ended up with Trump as president and a majority Republican Congress? Gerrymandering is one reason. But that doesn't explain it all. Maybe because Democrats do suck in some important ways. An important way is that they're terrible at messaging.
    I think several issues come to mind. Messaging is a problem. GOP under Bush, Reagan and Trump were able to put a simple message on a bumper sticker and win. Romney and McCain tried a more long winded one and couldnt win. They werent direct and to the point. Obama also had a good one. He won. Most people outside of academia have little time to read websites or study politicians. So it has to be simple and to the point.

    Also I think a bigger issue which we are just beginning to hear more about is a generational shift. We have two large generations butting up against each other with very different motives. Younger people are more idealistic and progressive and want things done yesterday. Older people are more patient and get how the system works. Thats always been the case, but in years past one was fairly loyal to a particular party. Now they arent. Look at Bernie Sanders. I live in New England where he is well known and yet many older democrats absolutely refused to vote for him in the primary because he was an independent. They wanted and demanded loyalty. Younger people didnt care what he called himself. Many of these either didnt bother to vote or voted for Stein. Thats an issue for both parties moving forward, youth dont care about parties or loyalty.

    Lastly I do think identity politics also played a part. Many Americans in lots of states still live fairly isolated lives. They dont interact with minorities or maybe dont know any LGBTQ people. So when they hear talk about that they get annoyed. They may work as a logger or a coal worker and want a better income or think trade agreements sold them down the river. They resent the hell out of those who want more immigrants and migration. Part may be racism to an extent but those of us who have been fortunate to move around or get outside these areas dont realize how solitary they are. They really do tend to think about it as us vs them. I hate to say its racist because for some its also a hatred against urban or college educated. So its gets complex as to who they feel can speak for them. We see this in particular with areas like WVA where they once were very democratic but feel democrats gave up on them for educated college educated people.
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    Cat-tastic Babba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    I think several issues come to mind. Messaging is a problem. GOP under Bush, Reagan and Trump were able to put a simple message on a bumper sticker and win. Romney and McCain tried a more long winded one and couldnt win. They werent direct and to the point. Obama also had a good one. He won. Most people outside of academia have little time to read websites or study politicians. So it has to be simple and to the point.

    Also I think a bigger issue which we are just beginning to hear more about is a generational shift. We have two large generations butting up against each other with very different motives. Younger people are more idealistic and progressive and want things done yesterday. Older people are more patient and get how the system works. Thats always been the case, but in years past one was fairly loyal to a particular party. Now they arent. Look at Bernie Sanders. I live in New England where he is well known and yet many older democrats absolutely refused to vote for him in the primary because he was an independent. They wanted and demanded loyalty. Younger people didnt care what he called himself. Many of these either didnt bother to vote or voted for Stein. Thats an issue for both parties moving forward, youth dont care about parties or loyalty.

    Lastly I do think identity politics also played a part. Many Americans in lots of states still live fairly isolated lives. They dont interact with minorities or maybe dont know any LGBTQ people. So when they hear talk about that they get annoyed. They may work as a logger or a coal worker and want a better income or think trade agreements sold them down the river. They resent the hell out of those who want more immigrants and migration. Part may be racism to an extent but those of us who have been fortunate to move around or get outside these areas dont realize how solitary they are. They really do tend to think about it as us vs them. I hate to say its racist because for some its also a hatred against urban or college educated. So its gets complex as to who they feel can speak for them. We see this in particular with areas like WVA where they once were very democratic but feel democrats gave up on them for educated college educated people.
    I think you're very right about the messaging. My complaint during he election was that what Hillary was trying to explain so often - especially on economics - just didn't fit on a bumper sticker. For example, coal mining and coal miners. That is the single biggest reason she lost WVA. And most people just don't have the time or the inclination to check out the specifics of what a candidate is offering.

    You're right about older people like myself. (God I hate having to say that. Grrrrr.) I am more patient about political change. I've seen the results of abrupt change and in most cases, it ain't pretty. I have an understanding of how politics works and I know it's mostly compromise. That's the art of politics. But young people and folks who have been struggling with finding decent jobs for a generation, they're out of patience. And I don't blame them. I'm not sure the Democrats can appeal to younger people except in the case of someone uber-charismatic like Obama. But the Democrats have got to get a message together that does fit on a bumper sticker. It's that simple.

    But I'm afraid it's going to take something catastrophic for working class people and young people to look to the Democrats. I'm not saying that the Democrats don't suck as far as selling out for campaign money. They have. But at least they tried to diminish the worst effects of the corporate abuses that the legislation, or lack of, that resulted from all those campaign donations. The Republicans don't even acknowledge the detrimental effects of so much of that legislation. Which is the only reason I've stuck with the Democrats.

    And you're 100% right about so many Trump supporters not being exposed to people different from themselves. For example, white people who live in majority white communities tend to more often be racist than their city counterparts. People who live in Bumfuck, Kansas are much more concerned about Muslim terrorism than most people who live in New York city for God's sake!

    Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, the current Republican party is hopeless as evidenced by their support of Trump and their legislative agenda. That tax plan is one of the most ridiculous pieces of legislation ever in history. They really outdid themselves. As far as Sanders and Stein, they are as useless as tits on a bull. As useful as Ralph Nader, which is to say, not useful at all. I have to continue to support the Democrats because the alternatives are unthinkable.
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    Veteran Member bmanmcfly's Avatar
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    Your premise is flawed...

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    Cat-tastic Babba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmanmcfly View Post
    Your premise is flawed...
    @bmanmcfly In what way?

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    Undercovfefe Agents TennesseeRain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightSwimmer View Post
    They're also not up to par when it comes to voting -- or at least, voting for Democrats.
    That’s not true. More votes are cast for democrats than republicans meaning more democrats vote. I’ll provide a link later
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    Quote Originally Posted by TennesseeRain View Post
    That’s not true. More votes are cast for democrats than republicans meaning more democrats vote. I’ll provide a link later
    Enough Democrats voted for Trump, Bernie and Jill Stein to lose the election for Clinton in 2016. I don't need to provide a link because you already know that this is true.
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    Nuisance Factor Yeti 8 Jungle Swing Champion, YetiSports 4 - Albatross Overload Champion, YetiSports7 - Snowboard FreeRide Champion, Alu`s Revenge Champion boontito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babba View Post
    This is an interesting article about a couple of studies that show that most people do know the difference between real and fake news. For example, most people oppose the Republican tax bill because they know it favors the rich and hurts everyone else. Or, most people oppose the repeal of Obamacare because they know it's better than what we had before and certainly better than anything the Republicans have offered. Anyway, it's very interesting.





    https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-c...t-the-solution

    So how in the hell have we ended up with Trump as president and a majority Republican Congress? Gerrymandering is one reason. But that doesn't explain it all. Maybe because Democrats do suck in some important ways. An important way is that they're terrible at messaging.
    Good article and I agree with a lot of what it says.

    In addition to the messaging and generational arguments presented here, there's also an ideological shift going on. There are more and more people who describe themselves as fiscally conservative but socially liberal. When it comes time to evaluate candidates, they look at a Democrat who may appeal to their social concerns but who goes against many things they believe about government spending or entitlements. They can also look at a Republican candidate and have their fiscal concerns validated while reacting everywhere from simple disagreement to outright repulsion to that same candidate's social positions.

    The end result is an unpredictable and very unmotivated voter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by boontito View Post
    Good article and I agree with a lot of what it says.

    In addition to the messaging and generational arguments presented here, there's also an ideological shift going on. There are more and more people who describe themselves as fiscally conservative but socially liberal. When it comes time to evaluate candidates, they look at a Democrat who may appeal to their social concerns but who goes against many things they believe about government spending or entitlements. They can also look at a Republican candidate and have their fiscal concerns validated while reacting everywhere from simple disagreement to outright repulsion to that same candidate's social positions.

    The end result is an unpredictable and very unmotivated voter.
    What is fiscally conservative about a modern day Republican?
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