Here's NBC's Chuck Todd on Meet the Press talking about 'alternative facts' and pointing out an 'ecosystem' problem that contains mostly right wing publications pushing disinformation, except there's quite a few problems with this.
Todd's segment was titled "Alternative Facts: Inside the Weaponization of Disinformation" and his ecosystem flow chart included some well known publications and even Facebook where the information finally arrives. It starts at 4chan, travels to Reddit, makes its way onto multiple websites, and finally touches down on social media.
The problem is this - not everything seen on the websites listed is found on 4chan and vice versa. A lot of the same information, especially fact-based reporting, is seen on websites of both Republican and Democrat nature. There's this thing called "people who report the facts" and they are found on both sides of politics. The problem is that the flow chart only targets the right wing publications, with the exception of Drudge who many conservatives believe has turned anti-Trump and liberal.
We can look at any fact-based liberal and conservative websites any day of the week, see the same exact stories, and there's no difference in the story. In fact, Fox News and CNN often run the same story and they simply present the facts. The opinion based stories start coming when you get to the smaller publications. These websites like to add commentary, which is just fine, but it should be recognized by the readers as such. For example, we often add commentary in our articles, but this website is ran by regular folks like me, not a major company and we're not technically a news source, but more like a news blog.
Here's the flow chart Chuck Todd posted... and is Drudge still conservative? Many readers say no.
News Busters Tim Graham provided a partial transcript:
TODD: Matthew, he's getting at what I wanted you to tease out here, which is almost -- it's the cultural connection that the right has decided it doesn't have with mainstream media. So it doesn't matter what we report. "Well, you don't understand my life. So why should I care?"
CONTINETTI: Right. And that cultural disconnect is decades old.
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CONTINETTI: What gives us this perfect storm of alt-truth is a few things. One is you have the technological change, which Kara mentioned. Another is you have the institutional breakdown, which I think you showed earlier in the program. Confidence in these big institutions has just totally failed.
TODD: Thank God for Congress, or we'd be the bottom.
CONTINETTI: And then what makes it -- then you have President Trump, right, who kind of plugs into -- benefits from both of those changes but also uses it to amplify his message. And so what you end up with is this place where no one can really agree on the very basic material governing our democracy.
Maybe Trump should force the mainstream media to fall into a category - either you're neutral reporting and stick to the facts only, or you're a left or right wing source that includes commentary. It would be like trying to tame a long lost dinosaur to use the toilet, so it's probably impossible, which is why we have so many independent fact checkers. But then again, even our fact checkers get called out for being left or right.
So what do we do now?