Curated Resource ( ? )

A new study shows how Trump and the RNC duped traditional media into covering mail-in voter fraud » Nieman Journalism Lab

A new study shows how Trump and the RNC duped traditional media into covering mail-in voter fraud » Nieman Journalism Lab

my notes ( ? )

Berkman Klein Center analyzed 55,000 news stories, five million tweets, and 75,000 public Facebook posts to discover that it's "Trump, the Republican National Committee, and Fox News — not Facebook spammers and Russian trolls — who are the primary drivers of misinformation around mail-in voting fraud", taking advantage of three standard journalistic practices:

  • if the President says it, it’s news
  • if it bleeds, it leads
  • balance

Democracy relies on journalism, but journalism relies on politicians respecting democracy. When politicians don't, these journalistic practices propagate harm. What's new about this analysis is GP's planning:

"Throughout the first six months of the disinformation campaign, the Republican National Committee (RNC) and staff from the Trump campaign appear repeatedly and consistently on message at the same moments... supported by the right-wing media ecosystem, primarily Fox News and talk radio functioning ... as a party press ".

Paper also analyses “three competing conceptions of how public opinion is shaped”:

  • social media dominates - eg BLM
  • social media leads: mass media still matters, but amplifies falsehoods originating on social
  • mass media leads, setting agenda with elites, with social recirculating - this is the model for delegitimisation disinfo, as it's elite-led: every peak in media attention on voter fraud was triggered by them

Only around 30% of Americans — "people who rely on local TV for news, who aren’t die-hard Fox News viewers or New York Times subscribers" — are persuadable one way or another. Traditional media has a huge responsibility here - with "the mass media model ... the primary driver of information disorder, it will not be cured by more fact checking on Facebook".

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See also: Content Strategy , Social Media Strategy , Disinformation in the US 2020 elections , Psychology , Social Web , Media , Politics

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