Once again, our free and fearless press has decided to instruct its readership to “look over there” at all those so-called “Web Giants”, but not because the latter are better at scoring advertising revenue, oh no. This time, the excuse for trying to hobble the competition is that there is a danger from Fake News - plus they don’t take down all those vile video nasties when they are flagged up. Social media, we are told, can’t be trusted.
And in the vanguard of this latest assault on the likes of Facebook is the Murdoch press, in another example of how, on Rupe’s watch, the Times has been taken from paper of record to yet another propaganda sheet. There can be no other credible explanation to the inconvenient fact that the campaign has also featured in today’s Sun editorial.
So what is the evidence being ponied up in support of this campaign? Well, after telling readers “Trust in social media has fallen to a record low as Britons lose faith in companies such as Facebook and Twitter, according to research”, we learn that the research is “The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer”, which you can see HERE.
This tells us that when the Times tells “Sixty-four per cent want social media companies to face tighter regulation”, not only is the question of the press’ own extreme reluctance to be subjected to properly effective regulation being ignored, but also that the Murdoch goons are being highly selective in the way they interpret the Edelman Trust findings.
Take the claim “Trust in traditional media such as newspapers and television has jumped 13 percentage points in a year, a six-year high, as consumers look for reliable news coverage”, and then consider two mildly inconvenient points. One, there is no separation of newspapers and television, and we know which is trusted in the UK and which is not. And two, the Edelman study shows that the media is the UK’s least trusted institution.
And when it comes to Fake News, the study concludes that on journalism, large majorities of those responding agreed that news organisations “are more concerned with attracting a big audience than reporting … sacrifice accuracy to be the first to break a story … support an ideology vs. informing the public … The average person does not know how to tell good journalism from rumour or falsehoods … It is becoming harder to tell if a piece of news was produced by a respected media organisation”. There’s trust for you.
Moreover, more than 65% of respondents in the UK “worry about false information or Fake News being used as a weapon”. And away from the Edelman study, we already know that the net trust index in written press was at an all time low in the UK for both 2015 and 2016. To that can be added a previous study that showed trust in the Murdoch Sun at the same level as posts on Twitter. Doesn’t look much to cheer about now, does it?
It takes some skill - and not necessarily of the most noble kind - to call Fake News on others, but by so doing, produce a piece of, er, rank Fake News. That is the latest achievement of the Murdoch goons. You really couldn’t make this up.
Meanwhile, the UK, home to our free and fearless press, ranks a lowly 40th on the World Press Freedom Index. And there’s no spinning your way out of that one, press people.