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article imageSurvey: Fake news sowing confusion in two-thirds of Americans

By Karen Graham     Dec 18, 2016 in Internet
Close to two-thirds of American adults believe fake news stories have caused a great deal of confusion with regards to the basic facts in current events, according to a report from the Pew Research Center.
Now that the presidential election is over, concerns over fake news have become a much-discussed topic on every media platform, from newspapers and the mainstream media to the Internet.
"Everyone, from President Obama to Pope Francis has raised concerns about fake news and the potential impact on both political life and innocent individuals,” reports the Pew Research Center.
In a survey conducted on 1002 American adults on December 14, 2016, 23 percent of those people polled said they have shared a made-up news story and 14 percent shared a news story knowing it was fake, while 16 percent admitted to sharing a news story they realized later was fake, reports WTVR.com Richmond.
Fully 64 percent of the respondents agreed that the fake news has left them confused about the basic facts of any current events, and this feeling of confusion crossed party lines. This perception was consistent across education, race, gender and age, though there is some difference by income.
Interestingly, only 59 percent of people making less than $30,000 a year were confused by fake news, whereas the percentage was higher in those making $30,000 to $75,000 (65 percent) and those who make $75,000 or more (73 percent).
So who is to blame for all the confusion over fake or bogus news stories? Respondents in the PEW poll blame the politicians, the public, and social media, about equally, actually. The one demographic that stood out in regards to the question of responsibility was age. Americans ages 50 and older put 53 percent of the blame for fake news on the government, while those 18 to 49-years-of-age placed governmental responsibility at 38 percent.
What to do bout fake news stories?
First of all, fake news is profitable, regardless of who believes it or is hurt by the stories. and committing political slander through the use of the news media isn't new, either. CBS News reminds us that in 1796, a newspaper editorial accused Thomas Jefferson of being a coward for running away from British troops,
Who was the author of this slanderous statement? None other than Alexander Hamilton. But it's not the nastiness of the slander, it's the delivery system today. Take radio talk show host Alex Jones who purportedly spread the "pizzagate" story all over the Internet.
While Jones spread the story, he is not responsible for its origins, the originator of the story remains unknown, but think about it — Hillary Clinton and John Podesta running a child pornography ring? Now honestly, that story is about as believable as the fake news story that claimed Oprah Winfrey told Fox News all white people had to die. That story reportedly came from a group of Macedonian teenagers.
PolitiFact describes fake news as fabricated content designed to fool readers, hoping the stories go viral through the Internet to crowds that increase its dissemination.
And that is the big problem social media is trying to come to grips with: personal responsibility for the blatantly fake news stories seen on sites like Facebook. As a matter of fact, fake news headlines hooked more Facebook users than any of the real headlines. Pope Francis has compared media’s obsession with scandal and ugly things to the sickness of coprophilia. (look it up).
If you are wondering if a web page announcing some outlandish story is real or not, there is a site that has a list of known fake news sites. These sites intentionally publish hoaxes and disinformation to drive web traffic rather than for a humorous purpose, as in news satire, which is a horse of a different color.
More about fake news, Internet, Pew research center, twothirds of americans, Disinformation
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