As social media outlets have become more proactive in eliminating fake news, including tweets by President Donald Trump, many have criticized these measures. This isn’t a reflection of any technical design error by the social media companies — it’s because there is a latent demand for fake news that many critics fail to understand. Like any commodity, two basic factors drive fake news: demand and supply. Starting with the demand side, one may ask why anyone would consciously seek false information.

There are two reasons.

The first is purely strategic. If people know that a piece of information is false, but if it supports their interests, and if there’s a chance that someone who doesn’t support those interests reads the false information and is convinced, then it serves a useful purpose in their eyes. In wars, for example, adversaries can benefit from circulating false narratives about each other to garner support.

The second reflects a cognitive flaw in humans, known as confirmation bias: We seek information that supports our prior personal beliefs. Even if people know that a piece of news is false, they are sometimes willing to overlook the falsehood because of the psychological comfort we get from believing it. Think of terminally ill patients hoping for a miracle cure and refusing to acknowledge objective scientific evidence.

This is why there’s significant resistance to the elimination of fake news.

The error made by many intellectuals is that they presume that everyone wants to know the truth, and that a technical solution can get rid of the false news. In fact, many people want fake news, both for themselves and for others.

Moreover, even if people were to agree that a world with no fake news is better than one with both beneficial (from their perspective) and adverse fake news, they don’t likely trust governments and/or those who control the media to resolve the issue.

In many Western countries, even some heads of state have been accused of maliciously peddling fake news, and a large percentage of the population rejects any effort by those leaders to eliminate fake news.

Omar al-Ubaydli is a senior affiliated scholar with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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(19) comments

tomgarven

Well to me the REAL question based on this article titled “Omar al-Ubaydli: President Trump and the media are at war” should be; WHY are they at war?

You don't have to go very far to learn the answer to that question if you happen to be a little older than many Americans and have lived through a time period when some people say REAL NEWS existed.

I frequently reference a video [see below] of the opening episode of the TV series “The Newsroom” which aired on HBO a few years ago. In that series opener, Will the actor who plays the lead role in the series, attempts to tell a college student why we are no longer the “greatest country in the world”. And he goes on to tell us what real news used to be. If you are a little older you know the type of news I am talking about – the type of news brought to us by people like Dan Rather, Tim Brokaw and others. It was news you didn't have to fact check before you could send it to a friend or quote it in some type of article or homework assignment you might be writing.

But here we are today just 30 short years later with an entirely different belief structure. This article is now trying to convince us that we NEED fake news. We need it so that some people can feel validated. Wow, how society has changed in just 30 short years.

“The Newsroom” video clip

www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMqcLUqYqrs

The good stuff starts at about three minutes and 20 seconds [3:20] and “Great Men” are talked about at 4:20.

SO HOW DID WE GET HERE – I mean this need of some people to have FAKE NEWS to validate their belief structure? Well here are two video clips from college professors who attempt to answer that question. Enjoy the videos and don't forget to cancel the commercials before each video.

Professor John Ellis

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6166221789001#sp=show-clips

Professor Tim Groseclose

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6166222907001?playlist_id=5736530682001#sp=show-clips

If you made it through this rather lengthy posting and all three [3] video clips you now probably know why we have FAKE NEWS. Does it make you feel any better knowing the reason WHY? Or do you still long for the days when we could trust what we see on the evening news from our media outlets?

Have a great day everyone.

JVW

Thank you Mr Garven. Great post!!

tomgarven

Thank you very much for the compliment. Sometimes words are really important

Have a wonderful day.

HavasuGuy

That's a very interesting amount of information, thanks.

How does it explain actual video and interviews that tRUMP has participated in that are easily shown to not be true? Some instances he denies what we can easily see to be true? In other cases he denies something that he previously said or did.

tomgarven

The question from HavasuGuy was "How does it explain actual video and interviews that tRUMP has participated in that are easily shown to not be true?". My response is: I don't think it does and that was not my intention.

The whole purpose of my posting was to document some reasons WHY our country is no longer the greatest country on the planet and SOME of the factors which are causing this to occur. I find what is happening on our college campuses far more significant and dangerous to our country than most of Trump's half truths, Tweets, lies or some of his perceived actions which I have written about many times. But what is happening on our college campuses and how it is affecting our country should be of concern to every American. When only ONE ideology exists in a country [either Left or Right] then the back and forth discussions our founding fathers believed would make our country great can fail.

But as I like to say, Government is the PROBLEM when we have TOO much of it in our lives. You only have to look to our history to see why America was once the greatest country on this planet like the HBO video clip talks about. That to me is no longer true of our nation and while Trump may have had some SMALL part in the changes taking place, he is but one individual and his powers are very limited. He can either approve or disapprove legislation that Congress puts on his desk. Oh sure he can create some Executive Orders which are for the most part temporary actions until the next election but generally speaking, his power are quite limited. He can't create legislation or laws since according to our Constitution those actions are reserved for Congress. And yes I am talking about the same Congress which currently has an approval rating of about 23%.

And as a president he can ASK Congress to create a tax bill but he has very little control over its CONTENTS. He can also speak to the American people from the Rose Garden but can't force anyone in America to do his bidding. We are still a country made up of people who can believe what we want to believe and act when we believe actions are needed. Freedom still exists.

In summary, there was never any attempt on my part to answer any question about why Trumps does what he does. But even with all of his faults he does seem to take some actions from time to time which might be viewed as an attempt to maintain some type of balance in government. That to me is a good thing. However, HOW he goes about mainlining that balance is not really very helpful at times. I have often written about what I believe are some of his shortcomings. When or if enough others begin to believe the same thing, his time in office will end. That is how our system works. But teaching every college student to obstruct the free speech of every other person who holds a different or opposing point of view is NOT in my opinion helpful to our country.

Lets try as hard as we can to kill the Corona virus but not free speech. After all, one can kill us while the other can help make our country stronger. At this moment in time we get to chose don't we?

JVW

Mr Garven. [thumbup][thumbup]

Azul@Havasu

[thumbup][thumbup]

BigBob

Prior to our having a fake, impeached president, there was no "fake news."

“Your”welcome

Explain “CNN”?

tomgarven

[smile]

Too old for this

There were the stories claiming that Hillary Clinton had an insurmountable lead in the 2016 election, and they turned out to be fake.

tomgarven

Excellent point. I had forgotten what happened almost 4 years ago. I wonder if we will have the same thing happen this time around. I keep hearing the Democratic party leadership and media saying that Biden is going to win by a large margin against Trump. Is this fake news?

deaton

Hey rovR**, you “sore loser” who was and still IS President, in spite of Marxist fake news, unfounded constant investigations based on phony evidence, purchased from a British traitor by the campaign of the most corrupt and compromised candidate in the history of this Nation? Get over it wimp! [thumbdown][tongue] Deaton

BigBob

Always funny to see C/F's denying the fact that Mrs Clinton won the votes of the American people over the man-child, con-man who would soon become a pathetic, lying, impeached loser hell-bent on destroying our nation.

Vince Gors

If you are at the point of losing it now, I can't wait until he WINS again. You will NEVER SURVIVE President J. Trumps Second term. YEA!!

HavasuGuy

You still have that $1,000 ready to bet on that?

HavasuGuy

Vinny - Like you said, talk is cheap and I'm still waiting...

Mr Lemons

Wasn't Dan Rather peddling forged documents that supported the notion that George W Bush didn't really serve in the 147th Fighter-Interceptor Group of the Texas Air National Guard? Isn't that why he was fired from CBS? Hardly, an example of "real news."

tomgarven

You are probably right Mr. Lemons. I just grabbed a couple of individual names I though most people might remember as an example. You won't get any argument from me, ha ha.

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