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University of Michigan study disputes role of fake news in 2016 election

A University of Michigan researcher says fears of fake news influencing the 2016 presidential election were overblown. Professor Brendan Nyhan and his colleagues found that only a small number of people read fake news relating to the election and that fake news sites were just two percent or less of an average person’s online news consumption. Public policy researcher Kathleen Hall Jamieson published a book last year concluding that Russian fake news likely influenced the outcome of the 2016 election. She argued that it was not necessary to reach large numbers given the role of swing voters in key states. The main stream media helped by writing untold numbers of articles about the Clinton e-mails. (Columbia Journalism Review, February 7, 2019, by Mathew Ingram)

Nyhan and colleagues acknowledged that fake news can disrupt politics as misinformation circulates on the social media. He says blaming fake news for political woes should not detract from a far greater problem, politicians with huge power lying for partisan gain. President Donald Trump made over 8,000 false claims in his first two years in office. (Brendan Nyhan, February 5, 2019, [click on From my new column])

For recent FAC coverage on fake news, click here, here and here.

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