Fake News: It’s Mostly a Right-Wing Phenomenon

The Berkman Klein Center at Harvard has just released a new report of the role of online media in the 2016 election. Some of it is stuff we’ve seen before: for example, coverage of Hillary Clinton was massively weighted toward her emails and other “scandals,” while coverage of Trump was weighted toward the issues.

Generally speaking, however, the big thread that runs through the whole report is the asymmetry of social media. Liberals tend to share items about equally from centrist sites and far-left sites. Conservatives, however, almost literally have no interest in centrist sites. They only share items from extremely partisan sites:

Here’s what the report has to say:

Prominent media on the left are well distributed across the center, center-left, and left. On the right, prominent media are highly partisan. From all of these perspectives, conservative media is more partisan and more insular than the left….Breitbart emerges as the nexus of conservative media….Seven sources, all from the partisan right or partisan left, receive substantially more attention on social media than links from other media outlets….In this group, Gateway Pundit is in a class of its own, known for “publishing falsehoods and spreading hoaxes.”

The report also includes a detailed analysis of how the media got played on the story of the Clinton Foundation. I may have more on that later.

THE BIG PICTURE

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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