Questionable News Sources

Posted on: 2022-03-20

Trump made "fake news" a mainstream concept. Fake news could perhaps initially be argued to mean something substantive. Rapidly its real meaning became obvious - it's any news/report/fact that contradicted Trump and the administrations current position. The position was fluid as most of the time it was just about staying in front of todays scandal. Tomorrow it can be something else. Supporters can just flow with that and chant along. No need for reflection or thought.

One quote lays bare the idea perhaps a little too obviously - "What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening". Sounds a lot like don't believe your own eyes and just trust dear leader. It's very Orwellian.

In this post I wanted to enumerate some sources that are particularly bad. I'll probably update and improve as I run across more...

Straight Right Wing-nuttary

This group are going to say and do practically(?) anything to support dear leader/the party. It's shameless. It's often mindlessly stupid. It's all about the attack. "Owning libs" - whatever that means. To be blunt there probably isn't any point reading or watching any of this material. It's brain rot. It's toxic. It's hard to find an element of truth. If there is any truth it's a part truth to hold up a bigger lie.

It's not news.

Fox News

Fox is up there. It has a huge audience. It is clearly craven to Trump and the GOP or certainly in its "opinion" pieces. It has some "cover" in that the actual news reporting whilst biased, isn't typically as out and out toxic clickbait as some of the earlier sources.

Foxes dark heart is the "opinion" shows - probably best represented by perpetually confused white supremacy advocate, whataboutism specialist Tucker Carlson. Another red flag for this is the use of the "just asking questions" reporting style. A style which allows you to spew complete lies and potentially get away with it. Even his own lawyers claim "You Literally Can't Believe The Facts Tucker Carlson Tells You."

In the end there's nothing of value here. It's not worth looking at to see "what other people think" - because there's nothing intellectually honest about it. It's king of commercial propaganda.

Far Right Religious Propaganda

The Epoch Times is a far-right international multi-language newspaper and media company affiliated with the Falun Gong religious movement.

Laughably bad. Do your brain a favor - throw away.

Far Right Wing/Highly Motivated Reasoning

This category is around sources that are certainly right wing biased but try to keep a veneer of journalism. That veneer is pretty thin. The vast majority of articles seem to exhibit highly motivated reasoning, fact picking, whataboutism and other fallacies.

They may be worth very occasionally looking at to understand "other points of view" - but I wouldn't reflexively believe much in them without verifying elsewhere.

Wall Street Journal I think is a little bit of an odd fish in that I'm assuming (I don't know) it's financial reporting is reasonable, if pro business. Its political reporting seems too often be much like Fox opinion pieces if perhaps not so obviously dumb.

Foreign Propaganda

There are others I'm sure, but these seem to be most common in the west, as they are free from lots of sources.

I'd describe these sources as "clever" propaganda. In that a large part of their material is news. Some of it is news you don't often see reported elsewhere. It may downplay Russia and it's allies issues, but it isn't obvious propaganda. The trick is to mix 10% of actual straight up propaganda with what is "reasonable" news. Doing so makes it very hard to determine what is the propaganda and what isn't. It provides cover as you can casually watch it and think this is news.

It seems Sputnik isn't so "clever" and is more obvious propaganda.