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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fake News Meisters Say, ‘It’s the Other Guys Who are Giving You Fake News!’

By Nicholas Stix

I wrote this four months ago, but mislaid the manuscript on a day’s worth of blog items.

I originally referred to Ryan Newton as “AP ‘reporter’ Ryan Newton.”

I just googled Newton, and learned that he is a reporter for KSNW-TV, aka KSN.com, aka KSN-TV.

I identified Newton as an “AP ‘reporter’” because the article below is an AP article, yet it landed in my inbox with Newton’s byline.

I’m on KSN.com’s mailing list. However, while KSN.com used to put their own reporters’ names on the stuff they sent out, it was in fact mostly by AP reporters.

That’s called plagiarism.

I’m not talking about something that was originally written by an AP reporter, and then embellished on, er, supplemented by local reporters. I talking about the same article, word for word, being cited as having been written by two or more completely different authors, depending on where you read it.

In January 2009, while researching a story about MSM race hoaxes, following the presidential election, I interviewed the AP’s race man, Jesse Washington. When I told Washington of reading an article of his in a British newspaper that was re-printed word for word, but with a British journalist’s byline, instead of his, he responded,
“That happens all the time.”

JW: You’re calling from New York?

NS: Yeah.

JW: The New York Post and the Daily News do it every single day.

NS: Oh, my God!

JW: Every single day.

NS: And they don’t say, “Compiled with AP reports,” or ..?

JW: Not at all.

NS: Oh, my God.

JW: (Laughing) But, you know, that’s what they pay us for. So, so be it.
Four months ago, I posted the essay below as a comment at KSN.com’s comments section—the thread Nazis deleted it. (The article no longer has a comments section, and KSN.com has completely eliminated commenting.) A couple of months ago, KSN.com started sending out most of its articles without any byline, just the generic “mgshare.”
 

KSNW-TV “reporter” Ryan Newton claims that three items at the top of his entry (below) are fake news:
“The Pope has endorsed Donald Trump for president;

A Washington, DC, pizzeria is a front for a child sex abuse ring; and

“George Soros will ‘bring down’ the U.S. by funding ‘black hate groups.’”
I’m willing to play along on the first story, but I don’t know whether “Pizzagate” is true, and I sure as shootin’ know that George Soros HAS been financing black hate groups like the cop-killer group, “Black Lives Matter.” [Postscript, Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 1:05 a.m.: I concluded a few months ago that “Pizzagate” was a hoax, which is why I ignored it.]

Where does that leave us? Newton’s smug guidance is no better than flipping a coin. Then again, his company, the AP, has been in the fake news biz for many years.

In 2004, AP operative Tom Hays engineered the Boosgate Hoax, in order to try and swing the election for John Kerry. For Hays’ yeoman efforts, I bestowed on him the Duranty-Blair Award for Journalistic Infamy.

The fake news problem is not a matter of phony Web sites with respectable-looking graphics, but of big-name outfits like the New York Times, ABC News, the Washington Post, CBS News, the AP, CNN, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, etc.
 

 

How to spot lies, ‘fake news’ and propaganda
By Associated Press
[Sent under Ryan Newton's fake byline.]
Published: December 19, 2016, 11:38 a.m.
AP/KSN.com

NEW YORK (AP) — The Pope has endorsed Donald Trump for president.

A Washington, DC, pizzeria is a front for a child sex abuse ring.

George Soros will “bring down” the U.S. by funding “black hate groups.”

These are just some examples of viral stories circulated on social media recently that are completely untrue. Facebook on Thursday
announced some steps it’s taking to stop the spread of such “fake news” on its huge social network.

This includes working with outside fact-checking organizations and drying up financial incentives to what it calls the “worst of the worst” spammers that traffic in made-up stories. But there are basic things news readers can do themselves to spot fake news. And if you want, you can report them to Facebook, which can flag stories for fact-checkers to evaluate.

— CHECK THE SOURCE

Some hoax sites, designed to draw you in for advertising revenue, feature designs that resemble legitimate, well-known websites. Such “spoofing” can be quite effective — but there are often telltale signs to indicate their true nature.

For example, you should be vary of articles on sites whose addresses, or URLs, that end in “com.co,” writes Melissa Zimdars, a communications professor at Merrimack College whose own list of “fake news” sites went viral. (She has since taken it down and published a more general guide .) You can also check the website’s “about” page, its list of contacts, and other stories and photos on it. Poke around a little; if things look less-than-official, you’re probably on a spoof site.

— GRAMMAR AND EMOTIONS

Random use of ALL CAPS? Lots of exclamation points? Does it make sense when you read it out loud? Can you imagine a TV newscaster reading it out loud? Is there something just off about it? Does it sound very angry, inflammatory, emotional? None of these are good signs.

— POKE AROUND FOR OTHER COVERAGE

If a story is real and really big, you will likely (though not always) see some version of it from multiple sources. Is it on sites like ABC News, The Associated Press, the New York Times, or other places you have heard of? Is it featured in your local newspaper, the one printed on actual paper?

Let’s put it this way: If the pope actually endorsed Trump, you’d see it everywhere.

— SOURCES, SOURCES, SOURCES

Anonymous sources can appear in legit as well as made-up news stories. But Googling the people who are named in a story is a good way to check whether the story itself is real. They might have a LinkedIn profile, or appear in other news stories, for example. Someone says they are a university professor? Google the name of the university. Is it a health study on a new cure for cancer? Look it up.

— ON FACEBOOK

Facebook users often share articles without reading them. Don’t be that person.

Instead, click on the link and read the story before hitting the “share” button. If you believe a story someone shared is fake, you can post a comment, or report it to Facebook for outside fact-checking by clicking on the gray arrow on the upper right corner and selecting “report this post.” You’ll get an option for “It’s a fake news story.”

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