The subcommittees of Communications and Technology, and Consumer Protection and Commerce, of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce, called in the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter on Thursday for a hearing called: “Disinformation Nation: Social Media’s Role In Promoting Extremism And Misinformation.”
Well that says it all, doesn’t it? Sounds like someone had it all figured out before the hearing even started!
Some in Congress blame the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol just on social media platforms. It makes me think of Todd Snider’s song “Tension” from 25 years ago: “If you’re the one that’s doing the pointing, nobody’s probably looking at you.”
The public can navigate around extremism and lies on social media but a lot of this comes from news outlets, not least of all when our own Representatives and Senators post articles from extremely biased news sources.
Visit the website: adfontes media.com. Ad Fontes is Latin for “to the source.” Ad Fontes Media analyzes the news content of articles and shows. You’ll even find a fun interactive map of news outlets on their website and you can see where they rate.
Here’s the top 10 they’ve found to be most neutral, or at least reporting with balanced bias.
NPR News Now (National Public Radio) https://www.npr.org/podcasts/500005/ npr-news-now
Associated Press News https://apnews.com/
Global News Podcast (BBC) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nq0gn/episodes/player
Stars And Stripes https://www.stripes.com/
UPI (United Press International) https://www.upi.com/
What’s News (Wall Street Journal) https://www.wsj.com/podcasts/whats-news
Start Here News (ABC) https://abcaudio.com/ podcasts/start-here/
Military Times https://www.militarytimes.com/
Roll Call https://rollcall.com/
Anyone who says things like: ‘That news is slanted the wrong way,’ isn’t looking for objectivity in the first place. So, you can use that interactive map to find dozens of news outlets that slant right or left to varying degrees.
If you’re looking for some of the most extreme right-wing news outlets, these fall in the category of having selective or incomplete stories, and are among those peddling unfair persuasion or propaganda according to Ad Fontes Media:
The American Spectator https://spectator.org/
Life News https://www.lifenews.com/
Big League Politics https://bigleaguepolitics.com/
These are in the section with those described as containing misleading information:
PJ Media https://pjmedia.com/
Gateway Pundit https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/
Info Wars https://www.infowars.com/
The Dan Bongino Show https://bongino.com/ podcasts
The Charlie Kirk Show https://charliekirk.com/ podcasts/
And these are in the realm of outlets that contain inaccurate and/or fabricated information according to Ad Fontes Media:
World Truth TV https://worldtruth.tv/
Before It’s News https://beforeitsnews.com/
Honorable mentions include:
Bannon’s War Room http://listen.warroom.org/
Natural News https:// naturalnews.com/
If you want your news skewed to the left, here are some news outlets tagged as opinion sources, or sources with a “high variation in reliability”:
Crooks And Liars https://crooksandliars.com/
Free Speech TV https://freespeech.org/
Daily KOS https://www.dailykos.com/
These fall in the group described as having left-wing selective or incomplete stories, or stories with unfair persuasion or propaganda:
The New Abnormal (The Daily Beast) https://www.thedailybeast.com/franchise/the-new-abnormal
Occupy Democrats https://occupydemocrats.com/
Bipartisan Report https://bipartisanreport.com/
Palmer Report https://www.palmerreport.com/
Honorable mentions include:
Democracy Now https://www.democracynow.org/
NPR reports that nearly half of rioters charged in federal court over the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol allegedly used social media to post photos, livestreams and other evidence of their involvement. That’s according to a review cited by NPR of charging documents by George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.
They also report that experts say social media companies allowed narratives falsely questioning the election’s legitimacy to fester online for months. During Thursday’s hearing, however, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey rightly noted tech companies are not solely to blame.
And, according to NPR, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “I think the responsibility lies with the people who took the action to break the law and do the insurrection, and secondarily with the people who spread that content, including [President Trump].”
In the meantime, you can bet Congress is getting ready to dump as much legislation as it can on regulating Internet platforms now. But, at least someone thinks real news outlets bear responsibility in this, too, and that they should be held accountable.
On Friday, Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, arguing it falsely claimed – in an effort to boost faltering ratings – that the voting company had rigged the 2020 election.
Those claims helped fuel the Jan. 6 attack, and Dominion’s lawsuit states its efforts to set the record straight with Fox News were ignored.
“The buck stops with Fox on this,” attorney Stephen Shackelford said, according to AP. “Fox chose to put this on all of its many platforms. They rebroadcast, republished it on social media and other places.”
Steve Gillespie is an editor with Paxton Media Group. Email him at email@example.com.