Fighting lies in age of Trump increasingly difficult

British global politics professor Brian Klaas, The Washington Post, December 18, 2019, writes that it is difficult to counter lies told by Trump partisans. TV hosts need to correct lies immediately but if they don’t invite commentators who lie, they risk being labeled anti-Trump. “Despite having been debunked over and over,” writes Klaas, “the lie [that Biden worked to dismiss a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Biden’s son] has taken root. It’s here to stay. And unless media outlets stop amplifying disinformation artists, the Trump playbook will ensure that, next November, millions of people will vote for Trump because of something they believe to be true, rather than something that is.”

At the same time, partisan outlets pretending to be local news organizations are proliferating on the internet with a conservative bias. The outlets do not appear to be within the same network or company but clues are there linking them. Many of the networks can be traced to a conservative businessman Brian Timpone who initiated so-called local news outlets as early as 2012. “These networks of sites can be used in a variety of ways: as ‘stage setting’ for events, focusing attention on issues such as voter fraud and energy pricing, providing the appearance of neutrality for partisan issues, or to gather data from users that can then be used for political targeting,” writes Priyanjana Bengani in the Columbia Journalism Review, December 18, 2019.

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