Journalists Do More Than Report: The Covid Determination

October 17, 2020

One of the DarkCyber research team alerted me to “Facebook Greatest Source of Covid-19 Disinformation, Journalists Say.” That’s the factoid, according to the “real” journalists at a British newspaper.

The main point of the write up may be an interesting way to send this message, “Hey, we are not to blame for erroneous Rona info.” I hear the message.

The write up states:

The majority of journalists covering the pandemic say Facebook is the biggest spreader of disinformation, outstripping elected officials who are also a top source, according to an international survey of journalism and Covid-19.

The survey prompted another Guardian article in August 2020.

Let’s assume Facebook and the other social media high pressure data hoses are responsible for bad, weaponized, or just incorrect Rona info. Furthermore, let’s accept these assertions:

Journalism is one of the worst affected industries during the pandemic as hundreds of jobs have been lost and outlets closed in Australia alone. Ninety per cent of journalists surveyed said their media company had implemented austerity measures including job losses, salary cuts and outlet closures.

The impression the write up creates in the malleable Play-doh of my mind is that journalists are no longer reporting the news. “Real” journalists are making the news, and it is about time!

The sample probably reflects the respondents reaction to the questions on the survey, which remain unknown to me. The survey itself may have been structured as a dark pattern. What better way to explain that bad things are happening to “real” journalists.

What’s interesting is that “real” journalists know that Facebook and other social media systems are bad.

One question, “How long has it taken “real” journalists to figure out the harsh realities of digital streams of users unfettered by internal or external constraints.

Maybe the news is: “It is too late.” Maybe the working hypothesis is that “better late than never”?

Stephen E Arnold, October 17, 2020

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