The Misinformation Campaign

An increasingly popular tactic challenges conventional wisdom on the spread of electoral disinformation: the creation of partisan outlets masquerading as local news organizations. An investigation by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School has discovered at least 450 websites in a network of local and business news organizations, each distributing thousands of algorithmically generated articles and a smaller number of reported stories. Of the 450 sites we discovered, at least 189 were set up as local news networks across ten states within the last twelve months by an organization called Metric Media.

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Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how people vote a certain way or just come up with the ideas they do. It’s time we all spend more time understanding that many people are just living in a faux reality, and that reality is much bigger than many can fathom.

Always Read Margaret Sullivan

That argument can be dismantled in a nanosecond. Should the denialist views of, say, Alex Jones of Infowars on the Sandy Hook massacre be given a prestigious platform, too? But Cotton is a prominent political figure, you say? By that logic, the lies of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway should be welcomed on news-discussion shows daily because she’s close to the president.

Perhaps a more useful way to think about many of these tough issues is to consider the role of journalism in democratic society: to dig out and present the information that helps citizens hold their elected officials accountable.

What if we framed coverage with this question at the forefront: What journalism best serves the real interests of American citizens?

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So many in the press have become nothing more than stenographers for those in power, and as this piece points out that has to change.