asher63 (asher63) wrote,

Behind the Fake News

I'm not a regular follower of NPR, but here's a piece of great reporting (uh, assuming it's not invented!) about the man behind the fake news. As some of us have suspected, the motivations are a mix of ideological and monetary.

"The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could kind of infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly or fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction," Coler says. ...

When I first got into political blogging in the early 2000s, I became interested in the question of "Why do we believe what we believe, and how do we know it's true?" As it happened, from watching my traffic stats I saw I was getting a lot of hits on my blog from people asking 'how can you determine a source's biases' or very similarly worded questions. I decided to capitalize on my search hits, and wrote a post titled How can you determine a source's biases? in which I examined the mental process I go through, and tried to list some of the things I look at. These factors included

· internal consistency (details of the narrative agree with each other)
· external consistency (details of the narrative agree with information previously verified)
· insider details (information available only to an authentic source)
· dialog and dissent (narrative welcomes questions and challenges; fosters better understanding among divergent opinions)
· awareness of objections (narrative recognizes legitimate counter-arguments and seeks to refute them)
· nuance (recognition that a proposition may hold true in general and still admit of exceptions)
· the human voice (an intangible quality that may include a distinctive personality, awareness of ambivalence, self-analysis and self-criticism)

You can read the whole thing here. It's not a comprehensive or systematic approach, but it's my attempt to analyze some of the things I think about.
Tags: epistemology, media, politics
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