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tv   Social Media False Information - Panel 2  CSPAN  July 6, 2018 5:53pm-6:57pm EDT

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we hear about the intentional spread of misinformation in the media and what can be done to prevent that in the future. from the brookings institution, this is two hours. >> thank you all for being here. i'm a professor in the political science department at george washington university. it's okay. my students talk when i talk anyway. [laughter] >> i'm used to it. we're really gratified to have three excellent scholars to talk to us today and to think about the spread of misinformation beginning with the professor at the university of california davis who said to me before we gathered here today i love being in d.c., which made me wonder if perhaps she wasn't well or
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something was wrong? [laughter] >> last time i was in davis, california, it was about 88 degrees and perfectly sunny and here we are. she's a scholar of political communication. also joined by a political scientist at the london school of economics. he has done a great deal of interesting research about social media and in particular this thing called twitter which you may have heard of, and then finally a research director at harvard's center for the internet and society and robert has been involved in a lot of different research projects but one in particular that i've always found very valuable was a lengthy report about the nature of news coverage of the 2016 election and the media ecosystem that was in some sense created in the context of that election, which he may be talking about a little bit today. so i'm going to turn it first to
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amber for her opening thoughts on this subject. >> thanks, john. it is exciting to be here. i would like to start in thinking about the spread of misinformation and disinformation by reiterating a point that both jason and ej made at the beginning which is that this is not a new phenomenon. and it would -- it would be unfortunate and not a little bit ironic if we accidentally misrepresented or mischaracterized the prevalence and the criticality of misinformation, disinformation, always been the case since the beginning of human political communication, that we have sought political information in order to understand the world and we have used political information in order to try to share and promote our own views. that means that it's always been the case because humans are fallible and because we have games of telephone that we have the spread of misinformation and it's always been the case because there's always been
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nefarious political actors among us that we have had the spread of disinformation. also always been the case that misinformation and disinformation spread more easily than true facts because they tend to be more salacious and it's always been the case that it's all too easy for us to believe selectively those pieces of misinformation and disinformation that reinforce our own world views. but there have been a lot of things of course that have changed. and i do think that it's important to take stock of the role of misinformation in our current political reality because i do think that it has a greater threat to democracy than it has in generations past. lots of things have changed. we have of course this increasing spread of fragmentation of the media marketplace around the world, but especially in the united states. we have the strongest media marketplace competition of any
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place in the world. and that means that news outlets of all stripes are increasingly needing to appeal to our preferences and to get us to pay attention to them because they need our viewership. it is also the case that we have an increasing ability as john mentioned earlier to self-select, to cherry pick which pieces of news we want to get. it was the case in the 60s and 70s, that we all got the same news. and it's no -- it's probably no accident that it was during that period that there was the lowest association in recorded history between our partisanship and our votes when we were all effectively getting the same information. it's also the case that we're increasingly polarized at the national level of politics, although importantly there's not overwhelming evidence to suggest that americans at large are
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increasingly polarized. but to this list, i want to add something that i've been thinking about a lot especially in my work with regina lawrence, and that's that we have more than ever before in human history an increasing blurring of the divide between entertainment and reality and therefore between fiction and fact. it used to be the case not so long ago that there was a clear divide, that you turned to walter cronkite for facts and you turned to the lone ranger for fiction. [laughter] >> but it's not so clear anymore. we live in this as much rated media -- saturated media environment, saturated with not just things like "game of thrones" but it is also saturated with shows that are entertainment shows but they look a little bit like reality, so you can think of the colbert report or the various versions of the office, and we also have reality shows, we have
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fact-based shows that are wrapped in entertainment shrouds. you can think of all reality tv, including importantly the apprentice and you can think of last week tonight with john oliver. we have a lot of this. we have this increasing blurring of the lines between entertainment and reality and of course we have also a president who heralds to us from the world of entertainment -- entertainment as previous politicians have done. but unlike previous politicians he hasn't lost the trappings of entertainment he still purports himself in a way that looks as much an entertainer as it does like a politician. how are we in this kind of context to approach our selection and consumption of information? and i think especially for those of us who are academics, we have students in our college classrooms now who were born in the year 2000. they don't know a world before fox news.
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they barely know a world before breitbart. they certainly don't know a world before twitter and snapchat. how are they supposed to navigate this saturated -- saturated entertainment world? surely it is affecting us individually at a psychological level and collectively at a social level. and so that's the bad news. but i will flip it as john did, but now i will talk about the good news, and i think the good news is that when i think about my students in particular, they're remarkably savvy, maybe because they grew up in this digital entertainment world, they are remarkably savvy. i don't know of any research that shows this, but anecdotally it seems like they may be more savvy than the older generations of differentiating between the media they consume. largely all of us we're adaptive. we're an adaptive species and
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society and democracy itself is an adaptive entity. so i think we can think of other parallels from past history and trying to understand how we might navigate this particular type of situations. so i've been thinking about potential parallels and i want to float one here. it is not going to work. it is going to break down in lots of ways but bear with me. i've been thinking about the parallel of processed food. it used to be the case that food was food and we all ate food and we then went through this period where all of a sudden we can't pronounce all of the ingredients in the food that is available to us and the grocery store. at first the general public i think wasn't aware from what i read we weren't really aware of what was happening but then we were aware and we put policies into place to regulate the demarcation of different ingredients in the food that we buy, and we've gone through different waves of public education and awareness about the food that we consume.
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well, if we think as a loose parallel about information, about our information diet, then we can think going forward of potential policies that we could put into place as a government and society to help us regulate our information intake, but also in general a broader education campaign to coax us to be more self-aware of what we're consuming. but like this parallel with processed food, we can imagine that as a society we're going to be differentially able to adapt based in large part on our socioeconomic status, that not unlike the food deserts that a lot of people encounter, some people don't have the money to buy a subscription to the washington post or the new york times. they don't have the time to be self-aware of the kind of media they are consuming and so that's the part that i think is to bring it back around to the sad news, i think that's the part that i'm most concerned about is
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that we're not all going to be equally able to adapt to the shifting information environment. >> i did eat a lot of velveeta cheese as a child. it's still delicious. [laughter] >> let me ask you a quick question by way of follow up. this is something we can also talk about later on conversation. in but one of the potential -- one of the arguments that some scholars have made about the fragmentation of the news environment or the media environment more generally is that the consequences is not so much self-selection effect in terms i only want to consume news that is to my ideology but the bigger consequence is people not interested in politics have many many options. so you can turn on the news, you can turn on the tv at the news hour and there is no longer that you need to watch the news. you can watch let's say, i don't
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know, a hockey game that, you know, maybe some of us were watching last night. so, you know, do we think that one of the consequences of fragmentation is not so much making people become more intensely partisan but also making people become less politically engaged? >> yeah, that's true. that's concerning. the silver lining that i take is the work that several scholars have done on soft news. several scholars have done, even if you choose intentionally not turn on the news at night and you don't read a newspaper but you just watch fox tv and the morning show, you are still getting information. still information that's relevant about the world. would we prefer that people read the new york times and washington post, absolutely, but we still pick up
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information in everything that we watch. the flipside is that it's concerning because were still picking up little information about the world, even when we watch, it influences the way we think about politics. >> great, thank you. >> thank you. >> in my remarks i want to focus specifically on the role of social media in this age of information. we all know websites like facebook and twitter are one of the most important for the exposure of local misinformation. but then the technology that allows decision to literally. [inaudible] it's giving up platform for actors and political agenda either in their own political interests. it is true that attention to this problem during the
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election reach a large number of citizens. the research focus specifically on measuring and understanding the information on social media. that misinformation defines news stories with political facts that are misleading. they try to determine whether the cognitive and psychological factors that ask plane why someone would decide to click or share on a false news story. to answer this question we conducted analysis of news stories being shared on twitter during the 2016 election. what we found, to be honest it was quite shocking. we found stories from on my websites that use misinformation that were shared almost as often as all
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social media outlets combined. that includes new york times cnn and msnbc. stories were shared compatible two news stories by mainstream news outlets. when it comes to twitter there was much information being shared as actual news. however it's also true that not every user shares this information. we found where they were likely to provide misinformation. the two important factors were age and ideology. there were five times more likely to share news stories on twitter than those ages 18 - 25. it's interesting with your earlier point about young people have perhaps been more savvy. conservative users were twice as likely to share news
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stories. this would be a explained partially because there was a higher prevalence of pro- trump or anti- clinton news stories. excellent work. [inaudible] they found that age in alignment between the ideology and the leanings of a specific news story the most important factors explain why people were exposed to this idea. >> in this evidence and other evidence has seemingly provided new fuel to this debate on the internet and social media. the prevailing narrative put
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forth is that online misinformation is being amplified in communities of like menard individuals, in these online spaces, false news goes unchallenged in part to these algorithms that are filtering out. besides this consensus, my view is that the connection between online chambers and the spirit of misinformation is more nuanced than that. they have systematically found that exposure to diverse news is actually higher in social media than other types of online or off-line. political exchanges are done much more frequently than commonly assumed. just to give you an idea of all the political stories at the average person sees on facebook or twitter, something.
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[inaudible] they do not align with their political views. my own research has found that if anything, most people show social media having a depolarizing effect. in other words compared to other news, exposure to political information on social media may be leading to moderate an. [inaudible] to be clear, that is not to say they are fully embedded communities. we also found there are groups of people. [inaudible] the evidence is clearly telling us that it has been vastly overstated.
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the mechanism that has been determined in explaining the misinformation on social media is not the extent of the echo chambers, is actually the opposite precisely because social media is increasing exposure to political opinions. citizens are now being increasingly exposed to conspiracy theories. to make sense of this is important to understand how specific social media features are transforming the way in which we consume news. facebook and twitter, they fill a facilitate maintaining connections to both strong and weak ties. in the classical work by sociologists in the 1970s, they defined strong ties of those of which we have the
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most interaction. our friends and relatives. there crucially important because they expose us to new information, to diverse views. this is where social media represents a very profound shift in news consumption. it is now, think about who's delivering the news. our friends are delivering the news. the stories to which we are exposed in large proportion have been shared by weak social ties which are likely to be more ideologically diverse print to make sense of it consider for a second, when was the last time you saw fox news story on social media. who was the person that was sharing it? would you have seen that story in the age before social media. for most of you that person was this crazy uncle who was always sharing all this political stories. that person would still
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believe but the differences now are seeing it. now it's not only sometimes, we get all the time on a newsfeed. just to conclude, the point i'm trying to make the foregoing to assign blame for this information and provide solution to stop the spread, we should look not only at features of a platform but that psychological factors on how audiences select and process the news. similarly it's important to understand the unintended consequences of certain interventions. if we want to increase exposure to the other side, that may also increase exposure to other conspiracy theories. in contrast because false news stories are engaging and we like them, they attract attention, if we believe in vague news we could decrease
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our exposure. a lot of people only take on a political story because it has this quick baiting thing. it could be that that leads to less vertical interest, less civic engagement. this hypothesis is challenging and maybe they are uncomfortable questions we should be asking herself in the digital age. >> thank you. i want to say back to you what i think you just told us. [laughter] it's not a surprise to me as a social scientist, but i don't think it's fully appreciated. if i don't get it quite right you can adjust the terminology. but here we go. most people do not live in a media eco- chamber and to the extent that they consume news via social media they live in less of an eco- chamber than
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people who don't consume news through social media. >> yes. >> so to be clear, it is a case that most of what the average person sees aligns beliefs, but the data is not as relevant. we need to compare social media and political consumption with online and off-line. if you compare those three stations on social media people concede most diverse news. >> to another words, most of what we think is true echo chambers reflects an echo chamber of false news about echo chambers. can i just get you to say one other quick statistic which i think is just a useful benchmark for us, particularly living as we do in this wonderful city in washington d.c. what percentage of americans are actively twitter users? >> something like 15, 20%.
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>> okay so 85% of americans are not twitter users. >> 85% of americans. god [. thank you so much. it's great to be here. i really appreciate the opportunity to share some of my work and ideas on this important topic. i've spent the past two years studying digital media and u.s. politics along with colleagues at the center at mit. we've built a platform specifically for this purpose called media cloud and what it does is it collects news stories and allows us to analyze and map those. we've done that for the u.s. election and the year after the election and a few things jump out from us. one of them won't surprise anybody, we have different segments of the ecosystem. they mentioned fragmentation
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before, we've seen that and that's clear in our media ecosystems. we've known that from surveys in the past, conservatives trust one set of media, liberals trust another set of media and our trans- partisan sources of authority are endangered species right now. that's deeply troubling for everybody. the next thing that jumped out in the research that didn't surprise us that the media ecosystems are asymmetric and profound symmetric. what i mean by that is on one side you have media sources that are in the center, centerleft and even the left that provided integrated whole for the gender interlinked, they cite each other's work, their part of one immediate ecosystem. at the other side, conservative media has moved off to the corner. as more partisan and the
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connective tissue which would be the center right is stunted in u.s. media communication. that surprised us. so we spent the rest of our time trying to figure out what that means. let me just pause and say this observation is partisan. it sounds partisan and is a little bit awkward, but that's not just cambridge massachusetts speaking, the data are actually very clear on that matter. what comes from this is that we have different ecosystems that are structurally and functionally different. i want to explain how. so ej started out by mentioning an objective journalism, that's one universe and objective journalists have a different relationship with politicians. one which is often adversarial
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, sometimes friendly but often adversarial. partisan media has a different relationship with politicians in that it's mostly friendly impact is almost always friendly and where partisanship and objectivity are tied, partisan media almost by definition, they end up with an adversarial relationship with objectivity. it's obvious i think, but it's overlooked very often. what we have are actually and structurally different systems that operate by different roles. no. i think that explains a lot of what we see in different information right now.
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also anytime we think about media and disinformation, if we ignore that fact we're going to get a lot of things wrong. if you forget everything that i say, media ecosystems are partisan, polarized and deeply asymmetric. what this also means, i think we like to demonize people on other side of the aisle but i think the things in the mind on this is that the behavior and practices and outcome of media have very strong structural and functional places to them. we may not like sean hannity but sean hannity is almost inevitable as a part of the media universe. the things that lead to success, with the standards of success in the motivations that drive people are different on both sides. were it not sean hannity it will be someone else.
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the roots of these things are structural but it's not personal, not a matter of integrity, honesty or any of those things that it's just the deep ecosystems which have been decades in the making producing the outcomes and that's what we have to grapple with the. >> i want to throw one more thing by this lens which is thinking about the sources of this information and media. there's a lot of culprits out there. there's facebook algorithms, there's crazy uncles, but close to home when you say bob, but i'm around some okay with it. media manipulators, click the factories, people with a mix of commercial and political motivations that people partisan bs for they are out there, but what we see is that they are interacting through these existing media ecosystems and for me it's less trouble some, is less
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consequential the source of this information than the ability of that disinformation to gain traction within media ecosystems. what we've seen is that it's more vulnerable. that's kind of what were looking up there. it means that we could be worried about russians but the more important part is the larger media sources and what they're doing with this information and whether they're seeking to tamp this down or amplify what they do.
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those are particular functional and structural aspects of conservative media. we see the bubbling up on social media of craziness on both sides and for me the more important question is how far does it get in. maybe some of the fine scholars will have an idea of the spirit it seems fundamentally different if you hear a rumor on facebook and wonder if it's true or not. it becomes a different matter if you read it on facebook and comes through e-mail and you hear on the radio and it comes to tv. that's a very different world than on facebook in the new york time telling you is not
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true. final point leave you with we would like to blame a lot of the current problems on technology. they said in the beginning technology is neutral. technology feeds through social and political processes. if technology were the problem we would see these problems resulting in more or less equal measure on both sides and we do not. but that point all fingers that technology. we need to be wary and there are things we can do to try to improve the way social media is intermediating media but our problems run much deeper than that. >> thank you. it may be useful, without
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going too deep into the arcane details, to talk a little bit about how you are mapping these ecosystems, if you move and read the work that others have done, the ones that are more central to the network are kind of close to the middle and the one that our further out, there's a line that connect the circles and that measures the extent of what they interact. when he thought about centerleft or left, that's because there's not a lot of ties that connect to different networks. how are you measuring, what data are you gathering to map that. >> two different measures which complement each other so there's no one single view of a media ecosystem that tells the whole picture. it's a little bit like the
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blind people in the elephant when you're feeling around and describing a different piece. one way we look at it is by looking at the linking patterns between media sources so when the new york times chooses to link to the washington post or sites within the right wing media ecosystem link to each other and left to others, it creates a map and what that reflects is the media ecosystem. we have another map that reflects the behavior of twitter users so when you leverage the proclivity of twitter users to share. we have two very different views of the media ecosystem, one based on fox news and the
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other based upon the twitter users which is a broader subset and they offer similar but slightly different views of media. >> can you also just say a little bit can you talked about the stunting of the center-righ center-right, can you tell me a little more detail about what that looks like in your network map. has anything changed from 2016 and 2017 and the way that these different media within the political right function? >> sure. the center-right are people that get most of their attention from the right but also get some attention from the left. that's what defines the center right. the folks that are in that camp are the national review or the weekly standard federalist. a lot of them were trump
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skeptics and never jumpers. they were sidelined in the 2016 election as the partisan lines were drawn either with trauma or with not and the trump skeptics weren't getting much attention from the left or the right. that hasn't changed that much in the past year. i think the partisan lines are drawn as cleanly and strongly as before. >> even with the decline of breitbart. >> based on traffic statistics and other kinds of things, do you think it's essential in node as it was in 2016. >> it took the place of what you would normally ascribed, a place you would normally ascribed, the national review after all. you think that's changed. >> i want to harken back to amber's point about intense competition within media so we
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see a much stronger demand for response and media. one of the factors that certainly lead to breitbart success during the election was that they carved out a very strong early pro trump position that fox news was not able or willing to make it. what we see in this changing prominence is that breitbart was sucking a lot of attention that fox news other would've gotten. since election fox news is not conflicted about where their loyalties lie or do not worried about rubio or cruise any longer and i think they have regained their audience in part because of that and i think that might also explain why breitbart has fallen in prominence. >> thank you. i would ask a question of all of you. i want to harken back to the
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comments, and amber, none of this is new. many of these things are features of american politics. i would often go so far as to say is actually better now than it used to be, better than the era of yellow journalism. we have a journalism that is not yellow journalism, that didn't exist to the extent that it does now. we have been striving for objectivity that didn't exist in a world where. [inaudible] it was an explicit partisan subsidy you don't have to agree with that statement by any stretch but the question i would like to ask is what's the right way to put the environment today in context.
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comparing it to walter cronkite, i think that's an important question. adjacent to this conversation about # misinformation is democracy and decline. there's a lot of emotion in that debate that feels a little ahistorical. what happened 20 minutes go is the most important thing that's ever his happened in the history of american politics. maybe i'm just being contrarian. i should wake up every morning and be more alarmed. is that bad today? what are we supposed to
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compare today to in order to get an intelligent answer to that question. >> i'll start. that's the magic question. it's all relative. it's always been in flux. we've always had to challenge something. it also has an academic, i'm less concerned of the role of misinformation than i am the role of mistrust and those are aligned but i think they're different. the steepest, sharpest danger we face is that were increasingly not trusting our government. were not trusting the media and were not trusting each other, specifically uncle rob
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from across the aisle. science shows were not in fact becoming more polarized as citizens and yet were distrusting each other more. i think that's dangerous. it certainly reason for concern but as you say, there's lots of things to like about our current form of democracy and our current form of the media landscape that we didn't have before, only one of which is that individual citizens really do have more agency now than they used too. that is a good thing about the. >> would we be having this crisis, let's take one step
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back and put things into perspective. >> there be so many fear of working panels right now. it would be amazing. it would be a ghost town. just kidding. there's always going to be a brookings panel. the matter what's happening. i think there's a crisis of method, the media or government, this crisis, not like the output. se but the way, the basic principles that journalists would understand. there are news outlets that are being very serious journalism but in a way that doesn't follow the same method. like the science, there's also a crisis not following. [inaudible] that's what we should be focusing on trying to make sure we follow the rules and
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we don't get taken away by the moment it was for living. >> i agree with the panel that the thing we should be concerned about is the erosion of institutions that speak to everyone across the populace. it's an underlying problem and is just different now. for better or worse and the internet, media communications has changed our world in important ways that i don't think we fully understand yet. i guess i would reiterate that it's a weird transitional outcome that things look so different on one side than the other. i don't think that's permanent, but i'm not really
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sure what to make of it. we can't go back to walter concrete that wasn't perfect either. there were catastrophic media failures at that time too. we have new and different catastrophic media failures ahead of us as well. >> can i add something? rob's work showed nicely the behavior of media systems is structural is not finality. if you were to think of the simulation were all we do is put in senses forgiven news outlet than all we would get is qui quick bait and that's the natural inclusion for new systems on the left and on the right and in the center. so, i think i take great
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comfort in the fact that we have so much investigative journalism still today. that's not a product, that's a product of professionalism and institutions but is not a product of the marketplace and that tells me there are still people, many, many journalists who care about getting things right and getting things right not in a quick manner but in investigative manner and there's also consumers were continuing to ignore the quick bait answer and pay attention to those deeper, truer stories. >> i'd be remiss if i didn't mention the local decline of local journalism. >> that should be the next panel. [laughter] >> let me ask you one more question. that will take some questions from the audience. amber gave us the wonderful metaphor of processed food. >> you're welcome. >> thank you.
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a minuscule that for years to come. we all know well be that is not as good at scale so i will eat more detail, i'm not trying to argue with you but they raise the interesting idea that there's lots of unintended consequences were trying to put parameters on what gets published or what people pay attention to because for most of us the more we consume, the more we consume. the more we get of the bad, the more we get of the good is there a way to get us from david at the kale that doesn't and up that doesn't end up
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with the perverse consequence? we wouldn't get as much information. , we become more less politically engaged and informed because were trying to avoid being misinformed. is there a way to thread the needle. >> i think we should be cautious about policy because of something that's much easier to implement than it is to take away. i don't want someone to tell me that we have to eat kale. i want everyone to have equal access to kale if they wanted.
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in my mind it's more about information and awareness that all return to this point about especially on this decline of news it's not just the challenge of information in this information. i don't know what kind of policy we could put into place. hard to imagine as is done by the government that is something that would appeal to us in the normative way. i don't have a good answer. >> my answer is we don't know but i will explain why we don't know. i think this is a really hard question. we want to implement a policy that will make big news for bitten. we will tell the platform, first of all what is fake news, this is a question we haven't really discussed but it's really hard to identify what is fake news because there's always a nugget of
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truth. those stories that might be true but misleading and there's a whole gaze in the middle. it's hard to define pretty unit if we make this for bitten, it's not like there's. [inaudible] platforms. were getting news from our watch now. it's also a problem for measurement but we don't know exactly what these are very basic questions like how much of what proportion of political news do we see that misleading or false stories. coming out with potential policy proposals, there's all these challenges. >> all agree, i can't imagine a policy. [inaudible] i think anything that would
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try to limit the production and distribution. i think we have a lot of things that we can and should try to shore up and that the roots of solutions are not law or technology but in politics and that's where we need to go. >> let's take some questions. >> yes, ma'am. you were quick on the draw. >> my names meredith, i'm here on behalf of the nyu center for business and human rights. he mentioned we should be concerned about russia and were here to talk about american misinformation but how much of it comes and how much is the responsibility of businesses.
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you said maybe the solution is in politics. >> you got this. >> is financial incentives. they're making a lot of money out of it, but also russian propaganda which in many cases is very difficult to identify and is politically motivated. i think it's very challenging to come up with ways, but i agree. in other countries, i said in the u.s. were worried about democracy but in other countries were worried about
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genocide. things like miramar and sri lanka where there is political violence and is something we should pay attention too. >> so it's easy to imagine trying to prevent using all means necessary to prevent foreign intervention in u.s. elections. i think it bumps up against first amendment protections and not to be pursued, there are limits to it, there's a few things we could do, the honest act which would require online ads to disclose who is actually finance those ads come i think that's a good, sensible idea. there are nuances and complications with any such things, how do we know who's where and what links do we go to document that is a hard question, a more difficult question is what's political and what's not and where one draws the line around that, but i think that makes sense and there are things that can
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and should be done. i think social pressure on social media companies is appropriate as well and again, it's a political, social solution to a political and social put problem which is asked them to do better in certain circumstances and is not government policy or for everyone but we just have to muddle through. there's no easy answers to make others add that in thinking about russian interference, it's really a difference of resources. it's not that we have to look outside our country for people with political aims who are trying to gain the system to influence people, it's just that in these documented cases there was an excess of resources. that doesn't make it a small thing, but it's an exaggeration of an existing problem.
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>> i tried to be quick on the draw. this is david barker. my question is for everybody's new favorite uncle but others can chime into. i've been allowing was the people in this room to pat themselves on the back in terms of their center and centerleft that tries to adhere to journalistic standards and the right wing system, but i'm wondering if your analyses are recent enough or if you're seeing any changes in the last year half on that. anecdotally it just feels like , i watch late-night tv and we see that steven colbert got a lot more popular when he went against trump every night. jimmy fallon lost a lot of
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popularity when he refused to do that for time and now has jumped on board and you might be attention to twitter and when i look at the headlines in my washington post feed in my inbox every morning, it feels to me like the traditional center and centerleft is becoming a little bit more flexible. i could talk about podcasts, the popularity of podcasts and it starts to seem a lot like talk radio. i'm wondering if there's any evidence again that fox is becoming more foxy in the traditional center and centerleft are also becoming more foxy. >> thank you for the question. it's a good one. we've kept tabs on the past year about and colbert and
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jimmy fallon do not appear in our analyses. they are not getting the same traction within the immediate ecosphere that mainstream media is. wall street journal, new york times, washington post political hill are as they've had been, they certainly have a clearer focus than they have in the past, but there are still people in the room and running these organizations were saying eat your kale and insisting the reporter served kale. i don't think that has changed much. >> you're welcome. >> the left is certainly were energized when they were before. there was an enthusiasm gap prior to the election where the partisan right was much more engaged with things, and we have seen evidence that that has shifted since
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election. i think that is partially reflected in colbert and fallon. i don't even know where to place them. they fall in that entertainment political model that is hard to describe. it's not an election. any longer and the difference is that there now on the defense and the offenses they were before. you do see a surprising amount of offense going after the clintons well after the electio election. >> i think it's really interesting that part of the asymmetry is not only the
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degree of network closeness, but also the nature of the media so the first thing they talk about is how talk radio, or at least how it almost exclusively on the right and late-night comedic new space shows are almost exclusively on the left and that may be indeed exclusively for institutional reasons, but i wonder, i think it's an interesting question. the university of delaware is writing a book right now on the psychological links between conservatives and liberals and comedy and i can't wait to read that book. >> if i may, some of our research that we've done with colleagues, some documentaries between the left and the right and looking at change after the election, the big thing big movement has been cnn.
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i think it's important how the range of view to which they expose you to like cnn is famous for giving mostly both sides of an issue where fox news is relatively more extreme. >> i'm a retired intelligence analysis. if we really want truth as opposed to fake news, we can do with the posted last week which had a one page, it makes me somewhat suspicious.
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i suppose i know who pays for anger. that's true, but we don't have to take this. do you want to find out what the truth is? you could go to a library. [inaudible] librarians are trained to show you what is true and what is not. most people. [inaudible] can you address yourself less.
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should our focus beyond let them do their thing but how do we help the kale growers. can we help the right prepublication that's now owned by a very wealthy man? turned out and it's a pretty good way to get money. no conflict of interest here. that's one way to do it. the strength and ecosystems.
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the counterbalance to sort of partisanship or anything else that we think might not be the information they need to be good citizens. >> this is your last word. >> money goes a long way and i think money to fund more libraries and better infrastructure in libraries and money to fund all various news let's that are producing kale could go a long way, especially if that money again could go toward funding subscriptions for people to get through the pay wall for people can't afford it. there are a number of newspapers that offer student discounts but there's lots of people beyond students who just can't afford it. the harder task is time. it's a very different thing to ask someone to consume a newspaper article even online
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than it is to ask them to glance at twitter in the morning. it's just a very different task. increasingly, as our economic workplace is shifting, it's harder and harder for a lower socioeconomic of people to ask them to take that time. >> we want to highlight a lot of civic education. i think a lot of them that we are seeing are due to the fact that a lot of people don't understand that when they see something on social media or the internet, sometimes it's going to be false. there people actively trying to mislead you so i think developing that conscience of think twice in every reading something, learning how to do that, that something not only to do. [inaudible] the role of education is something we should think
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about. >> so that's the right question and it has no easy answer. my sense is that it's the everyday work of building democracy that we have to reengage with and that's everywhere from libraries and paying teachers better salaries and buying subscriptions to newspapers and donating money to philanthropic local organizations are all things we need to do. we need to try to fend off polarization and partisanship where we can. i think one of the big concerns is the encroachment of political life on all aspects of the collective endeavor and that the more that gets politicized, the less likely we are to come to reasonable. [inaudible]
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>> we will take a ten minute break and reconvene at 1145. please join me in thanking our panel. [applause] [inaudible conversations] welcome back, i hope you had a lovely break. my name is meredith brassard. i'm a data analyst in person. i'll avenue bookout to understand how they understand the world. i'll be leading that next segment.


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