I am thrilled to release my latest book, Anatomy of Fake News in the Era of Donald Trump: An expose on unethical journalism. I have been working on it for almost two years and kept worrying that it would not be ready on time! Sadly, it seems that there is no expiry date on Fake News.
The book is in PDF form and is free, on line.
I just read an article by Alan Dershowitz: “Open Letter to The New Yorker Exposes False Allegations.” He admonishes the editor, the writer and the fact checkers for unethical journalism. As did I in my book.
“Most importantly you are apparently refusing to include in your one-sided screed information that undercuts your false narrative that I and others have provided you.”
Chris Selly at Canada’s National Post just published his article “Does journalistic ‘fact-checking’ work?”
He quoted Daniel Dale, a reporter for the Toronto Star who moved on to CNN and has written about fact-checking. Dale said that it is not a reporter’s job to worry what people do with correct information; it’s a reporter’s job to deliver it.
In a 2013 paper,The Epistemology of Fact Checking, one well worth reading, University of Miami political scientists Joseph Uscinski and Ryden Butler outlined various “dubious fact-checking practices” that can undermine the whole endeavour for mainstream news organizations: sample bias (i.e., focusing on certain kinds of politicians or “facts” while ignoring others), trying to fact-check inherently unprovable statements such as predictions and causality claims, and using expert opinion in an attempt to prove facts as opposed to providing context. They wrote “… a group of journalists with grand designs but insufficient knowledge had arrogated to themselves the position of arbiters of ‘truth.’”
“Done carefully and dispassionately fact checking is a chance for journalists and their outlets to showcase an unbiased perspicacity. Done lazily or gratuitously or selectively, it’s a fearsomely efficient way to embarrass themselves and reveal serious institutional flaws…Creating a better-informed population might not lead to better politics on its own, but it’s journalism’s fundamental goal. And it’s hard to imagine better politics happening without a better-informed population.”
I investigated fact-checking, fact-correcting, and plain old let’s just leave out the facts that don’t support the narrative, in my book.
Fake news has been around for decades.
“Editorialists who tell downright lies in order to advance their own agendas do more to discredit the press than all the censors in the world.” Franklin D Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States 1933-45.
Alan Bloom wrote
“The most successful tyranny is not one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes awareness of other possibilities…that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside.”
An unbiased media is absolutely necessary to hold all institutions to account, particularly the government and the individuals in that government. We must be able to trust the media, and that investigative reporters will investigate. We must be able to rely on them to reign in their biases; no easy feat, in order to bring to us ALL the facts. Not some. All of the facts.
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”