Let’s talk about fake news and the liberal media. In March 2018 multiple news outlets broke a story about Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm, selling data to the Trump campaign to help shape the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election. Since then there has been no shortage of outrage over "fake news" on social media.
The term "fake news", first coined by Norm MacDonald while hosting Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, later became a talking point of the Left to help combat conservative news outlets.
But after Trump adopted the term and made it his own, the "fake news" attacks have now become a damaging label placed on national mainstream news outlets like CNN and NBC for alleged liberal bias in their reporting.
There are dozens of examples of mainstream news outlets spreading false information (sometimes knowingly, sometimes out of ignorance) but one recent example regarding NBC News, Facebook and Ted Cruz has a lot of people scratching their heads.
It all started back in 2015 when Senator Ted Cruz was still running for President. After a GOP primary debate, Cruz came forward with information about the Federal government monitoring phone records.
Cruz’s comment regarded changes in the metadata collection program. He was concerned, and rightfully so, over the government possibly violating our Fourth Amendment Rights by collecting this information.
However, after he made the comment, there was concern over whether or not the information he was sharing was previously classified by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
So, out of concern over national security protocol possibly being put into jeopardy, NBC News wrote a story about the incident. Not to be outdone, Meet the Press (a program produced by NBC News) promoted the article through a sponsored Facebook post (meaning they paid Facebook to spread the article around to people who might not have seen it otherwise). For what it’s worth, NBC News has over 8 million followers on Facebook and it’s believed that about 1.2 million people watch Meet the Press every Sunday.
At this point in time nobody actually knew if Cruz had violated security protocol by talking about the data collection program.
But all that changed on December 16th, 2015 when the story was debunked. It turns out the alleged classified information that Cruz was discussing was previously published in the Wall Street Journal. If the information was already out there, which it was, then Cruz didn't do anything wrong. So this is the end of the story, right?
NBC News' Meet the Press kept promoting the story on social media, and Facebook kept taking money to commit the act.
Even though multiple debates and primary election dates had come and gone, NBC News continued to promote the story as if it was still an issue.
In fact, 5 months had passed and NBC was still paying Facebook to spread lies about Ted Cruz. This happened at the height of the GOP primaries, right around the same time that Trump accused Cruz's father of having some connection to the JFK assassination (which was also fake news - just saying).
And as NBC continued their fake news attack on Ted Cruz, people on social media noticed and complained. Dozens of Facebook users reported the post and documented the dishonesty from both media outlets (and, yes, Facebook is a media company, not a tech company, despite what they may say).
How many people saw it? At least 1,435 people shared the story on social media after it had already been debunked, according to NYC councilman Joe Borelli who first caught wind of the propaganda campaign by NBC News.
This is a huge smear on NBC News' credibility - they sponsored a post on social media that was blatantly untrue. But why? For web traffic? To help promote their site? Surely there were other more outrageous and exciting news stories they could have shared and sponsored to help push traffic to their website.
So while people babble on about Russian hackers influencing the election, just remember: NBC and Facebook are a million times more influential on American voters a Russian troll farm posting poorly produced memes. Just sayin'.
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