In The Wake Of Fake: New Life For Mainstream Media

Windows open and windows close. Here’s one that seems to be open: "Establishment" news.

Probably for a decade, using the term "mainstream news" has been a slur. 

But in the weeks since the election, it's become clear that that Americans have been fed, and swallowed, a plate of fake news that distorted facts, history, quotes and campaign positions. It was dished out by phony, parasitic news sites that gained popularity as the angry Tea Party types gathered momentum.

Fake news, said an interesting analysis by BuzzFeed, “outperformed” the real thing on Facebook during the election campaign.

A few days before the election, when the betting money was that Donald Trump would be the loser, speculation abounded that Trump had cleverly laid the groundwork for his own post-election news operation, featuring the very kind of Breitbartian news now under attack.

Some version of that might still happen, of course, but it seems this is a golden moment for news organizations, like (parts of) BuzzFeed and Vice, but also old print-based brands to get off the dime and start selling. . . journalistic competence and integrity.
It is a perfect moment for online news and video services that are relentlessly devoted to accurately analyze version of what in the world is going on.



In short, these may not be the best of times for Fox News or Breitbart, if the news establishment cared to press the case. And why the hell not?

Better news organizations ought to be doubling down on marketing and public relations efforts to remind the public that established news organizations got be established because they brought something to the laptop or smartphone: a version of news and facts that is reasonably free of out and out fabrication.

They ought to do it by getting better themselves. The news biz has gotten pretty sloppy trying to compete with provocateurs. 

Indeed, that attitude change might be happening. Claire Atkinson at The New York Post reports ABC News is now contemplating launching (or more accurately, re-launching) a digital news channel. That would seem like odd timing--after the election, and presumably, after the swell of big news audiences and ample advertising have gone.

But maybe it is precisely the time for an old brand like that to jump in feet first.The concept had been that that American public--and American conservatives, particularly--have been lied to all along by the big, monied journalism interests. Now, in a flash, the fake news trickbag is being exposed, left and right. . . and center. The latest evidence: this anatomy of a fake news story, from The New York Times.

And the latest evidence The Times itself is being helped by fake news backlash is that its digital subscriptions increased by 41,000 in the week after the election--after Donald Trump whiplashed the paper for its “very poor and highly inaccurate coverage” of his campaign’s success.
What do you know.

2 comments about "In The Wake Of Fake: New Life For Mainstream Media".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, November 21, 2016 at 2:49 p.m.

    Having recently reported Hillary had a 98 percent chance of winning, you'd think the unfake media would be a little less sanctimonious. The good news is that New York Times only reported she had an 85 percent chance of winning.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 21, 2016 at 3:27 p.m.

    Check out Bob Garfield's column today. It will round out some edges.

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