Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fake News on the Loose

By Bob Ferris

I am sure that most are amazed at the amount of false or fake news flying around the internet at this point.  Having looked at it, I am also amazed at the amount of denial regarding this huge problem.  Obviously those sites that find themselves on a list or two are denying that they deserve to be there.  There are also those who are faithful to those sites who are up in arms as well.  The end result of this backlash is criticism of these lists in general. Some of which that is valid but certainly not all.  And we cannot afford to ignore this issue because some find it objectionable or even tricky.

The problem with succinctly defining all this is that it is wholly a matter defined by degrees.  There are sites that are biased.  There are also sites that are really, really fake but not visited often enough to make all lists because their impact is minor or they offended fewer.  These are imperfect analyses, but we must start somewhere and then continue to refine and improve these lists.

My approach below was to look at the eight attempts at listing problem sites and then look for agreement between those lists. What are the sites that more than a few find problematic (yellow), half find fault with (orange) and those sites that are on most lists (red)?    There are more than three hundred sites listed below garnered from this initial set of lists, but this is likely only the tip of the iceberg.

Column Codes
A = ProporNot
B = The Daily Dot
C = Wikipedia
D = Fake News Watch
E = Patheos Blog
F = Assistant Professor of Journalism at Merrimack
G = Snopes
H = US News

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