The corrupt news business has changed a lot of things for the worse. It has ramped up the perceived necessity of 24/7 news coverage, resulting in less critical thinking for the audience. Advertisers have been lured in by the false promises of “data-driven” results using digital information gathering technology. That propped up a lot of major social media companies and the search engines. After years of this, it’s resulted in a weird little game that people play to hack the attention of people on the internet.
Algorithm Hacking Is A Game For The Corrupt News Business Especially
They sold their souls out to try to compete in Google’s algorithm contest instead of working hard to produce great journalism. The corrupt news business is infected with a lot of bad ideas that they push on the public who think they have no other options.
People who are profiting from this system are going to have a financial reckoning at some point, though. There is fraud and anticompetitive behavior going on that the courts just haven’t caught up with. That’s one of the least offensive things the industry is doing now too.
I think one of the most offensive (and by that I mean aggressive; like an attack) is the inability for consumers to protect themselves from fake news.
When I say fake news, I specifically mean items of news stories that are completely fabricated. Or, stories which are based on true things but crafted in such a deceitful way that the audience actually doesn’t get told what really happened.
This is a bastardization of the first amendment, but a lot of things could be considered satire in the news. But the genre isn’t as important as the business model they (the corrupt news business) are in which complicates how far they can really go before they are unconstitutionally lying.
They are in the advertising business, remember; like Zuckerberg.
TV News & Facebook Compete For The Same Advertising Revenue, And Audiences’ Attention Span
News organizations like FOX gets money from adverting revenue. At the end of the day, without advertisers, there is virtually no news business.
Some local news outlets get funding from non-profits, but to my knowledge none of the major news companies are non-profits. That means the claims that these media companies make which are false, are going to influence consumers (potential advertisers). They (potential advertisers) are being lied to when these news networks market to them. News networks market themselves with the content they produce.
Therefore, a news network producing fake news is lying to its customers not just its audience. The audience is necessary in order for the news outlet’s advertisers to want to do business with them. However, the audience isn’t the customer in this case.
How The Fake President-Elect Story Happened & Why That Matters
When I first started learning about the news business I became fascinated with how information spreads. Many people just watch their local news in the evening and read a newspaper once a day or once a week. They don’t have social media and don’t really follow politics unless it’s directly involving their lives.
Other people are on social media constantly, picking up news stories from all over the world trying to understand the world. Of course there are all different types of news consumers across the board. But most people don’t really know how the news business operates.
They may have a loose concept of it, but unless you work in it or study it, the complexities can actually be hard to discern.
As of this writing, the election is not over. Democrats successfully ruined a simple process by complicating it with a phony hysteria about needing mail-in ballots. That has overloaded many states which means they are still counting – like in Pennsylvania.
However, it seems like the entirety of the news business has decided Joe Biden won the election. When people who oppose this lie talk about “the media” they may not really know specifically who they mean or what happened.
Newswires Sell Fake News Now, Too
In this case, the Associated Press “called” the election. They are not the same kind of news outlet as a place like CNN. Associated Press is considered a news wire. In other words, that’s where the news business gets its news from. Bloomberg and many other companies provide this kind of service. If you work at a local news station or even mainstream news networks, you probably subscribe to these newswires and always did.
The advent of the internet means that consumers now can follow news wires too. Once AP or another news wire publishes a story, it’s like an unwritten certification to the news business that the story is true. Or verified. In other words, it’s safe for others to report on it to their audiences now. Therefore if you had the ability to influence AP, as well as a few other critical newswires you can effectively control the mainstream media.
Google Traffic Is Massive, But Limited, And The Corrupt News Business Knows It
So newswires are like the tip of the information pyramid in the news business. That’s how major stories break within the news business. Then major news outlets begin reporting on it. Smaller outlets report on that reporting, etc. Think of that like water flowing down a hill.
Google Is The Mountain
People consume news from all over the place, but one of the single largest sources of news consumption is Google News. Google News also heavily influences how the Google results will present information to future searchers. Google News is an aggregator of news sites as well, so they present consumers with multiple sources (of their selected sources) to simplify their consumption process.
Given the traffic Google generates, the news business is dependent on them.
6,000,000,000 To 1
He claims that Google News sends 6,000,000,000 clicks per month to publishers all over the world. Let’s say there are (100) of the top news publishers who are looking for that traffic, and in this fantasy scenario let’s say they split it evenly. That means each of those (100) publishers is generating about 60,000,000 visits to their site per month.
If you spread that over the course of a normal 30 day month, it’s:
2,000,000 per day (per outlet).
What Virality Means Now
In order for a story to go viral in this context, that means that you need more than one outlet to cover it. If those outlets are all competing for attention with different stories there would be many more variables to calculate in terms of which outlet gets ranked or top position on a story.
Also, if the people behind a story want to get more than 2,000,000 views on something, they will need to find a way to get multiple outlets to cover that story. Even though these numbers are rough, you should get the idea.
The point here is that the news business becomes more incentivized to limit variables, as does the search algorithm. This is also good for the advertisers who want to make sure that they get their money’s worth with predictable results. So, all of these players want to publish fewer stories on more publishers to reach as many people as possible.
That limits variability, or requires it.
This is why you see the news business quickly move together to cover the same stories; even if they’re doing so from (seemingly) different angles.
Hunter’s Laptop Was A Smoking Crack Pipe, Not A Smoking Gun, Metaphorically Speaking
Texas State’s philosophy department defines it as, “This fallacy consists in diverting attention from the real issue by focusing instead on an issue having only a surface relevance to the first.”
It is also a literary device used in stories to distract an audience while the plot develops further. Usually found in mystery novels especially.
There was a significant amount of time for several weeks devoted to the issue of Hunter Biden’s laptop. Rumors of child pornography ran rampant as pictures of Hunter appearing to be using crack with prostitutes flooded social media and alt-right blogs. Details about an investigation with the FBI and a computer repair guy added intrigue but no arrest (yet) so we’ll see…
Even When They Disagree, They’re Talking About The Same Things
Media pundits, politicians, and social media users on the left all said things like *there’s no way to verify it* or they claimed it was *discredited* too.
Meanwhile, media pundits, politicians, and social media users on the right all got upset that the mainstream media wouldn’t cover it.
Then they talked endlessly about “big tech” censorship. This even resulted in Jack Dorsey from Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook testifying to congress. People acted like it was some kind of grand cover up to protect Joe Biden. Even the worst of the allegations (financial impropriety related to selling influence) were going to be hard to prove.
But both sides got to talk about it a lot.
Remember Remember, Jeffrey Toobin’s Member
Jeffrey Toobin’s penis got exposed on a Zoom call. He got fired. Remember that almost every single news outlet covered this story in one way or another.
Mocking the situation. Defending Zoom-call masturbators. All kinds of stuff. Ridiculous stories like this cluttered up a lot of media time.
The Truth Is The Antidote
The corrupt news business has a lot of problems.
They have a business model issue, for one thing.
It is driving anticompetitive behavior which has become dangerous to the public. Social media companies have confused people about a lot of things as well. That has made it hard for consumers to know where to buy the truth. When I say buy the truth, I don’t even mean necessarily that you are paying money for it. As is the case with the major news outlets, they are still an advertising company at the core.
If the truth is rare, then we know it’s valuable.
But we need to stop pretending that the choices aren’t available.
Stop Watching, Stop Sharing, Stop Commenting, Then Watch Them Disappear
You don’t have to keep consuming or engaging with fake news. In fact, at this point for your own sanity you should really consider combatting it and opposing it more actively. Because there is a gigantic financial machine that has now corrupted our news business from the origin of stories, through the newswires, and out in every mainstream channel.
Local news is complicit in the same game. That makes it almost impossible to get real news stories and the truth out. However, the digital systems that are currently distributing lies, misinformation, propaganda, and nonsense, can also deliver real information. It’s up to each individual to take it upon themselves, though, to make these choices.
Stop paying attention to fake news companies.
Watch them crumble, and let the truth prevail.