The Rush to ‘Fix’ Facebook’s ‘Fake News

Nobody likes personal responsibility.

Now that Donald Trump is president, the blame game has begun as to why he won and most mainstream media outlets are pointing the finger at Facebook for swaying voters’ minds through “fake news” posts they weren’t able to discern as such on their own.

The Washington Post is a major player in the finger-pointing with several recent articles on the subject. In one, four college students with a plan to fix Facebook’s “real problem” are featured. The team created an open-source plug-in to follow “an algorithm that authenticates what is real and what is fake on Facebook” and added it as an extension in Google Chrome. It takes note of “factors such as the source’s credibility and cross-check[s] the content with other news stories.” The post would then be labeled “verified” or “not verified.” Any post that isn’t verified according to the algorithm would be supplemented with “a summary of more credible information."

For instance, The Post provided an example of how the plug-in worked after scanning a post criticizing climate change:

Perhaps the source for this article is bogus, but as many of us know, most people don't bother to read the articles. Adding "not verified" to a post that calls global warming a hoax is a reflection of the poster, not necessarily what's posted.

In another article, The Post’s syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker named the media as “2016’s biggest loser.” She writes:

We’ve reached this critical juncture thanks largely to the digital revolution. Until relatively recently, most people relied on a limited number of trusted news sources, which provided a basis for what we referred to as “common knowledge.” The country more or less also shared a set of common values.

Today, of course, we have thousands of news sources — millions if you count social media. Everyone can pick his or her own outlet for consumption as well as a venue for invention…

…Advocacy journalism, in this opinion writer’s view, belongs on the editorial and op-ed pages, though many news organizations subscribe to the notion that advancing a social cause or, perhaps, derailing an unfit candidate justifies aggressive, Page 1 coverage, objectivity be damned.

Do you think she means someone like her colleague Dana Milbank? With a staff like this, can The Post claim to be a "trusted" or unbiased news source?

Then, The Post’s media columnist Margaret Sullivan posed this radical idea: “Facebook… you need an executive editor:”

Facebook should hire a top-flight executive editor and give that person the resources, power and staff to make sound editorial decisions…

...Facebook needs someone who can distinguish a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph from child pornography and who can tell a baseless lie from a thoroughly vetted investigative story.

That sounds familiar. Check out this hypocrisy: In 2013, The Washington Post rid itself of “its decades-long practice of employing an independent ombudsman to critique the newspaper’s journalism and field readers’ questions.” So, unlike the last 43 years in which an experienced journalist “ensured editorial independence,” The Post now relies on a “reader representative, a staff member who will answer questions and respond to complaints” instead.

Well, the 2016 election was the complaint heard ‘round the world. The mainstream media was extremely out of touch with America and were caught red-handed dishing out plenty of its own fake news, propaganda, and electoral influence. But better to go ahead and blame social media because the MSM doesn't like the idea of personal responsibility.

Exit thought cartoon by the great Branco: