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Inside the ‘Misinformation’ Wars

The New York Times: “…While some academics use the term carefully, “misinformation” in the case of the lost laptop was more or less synonymous with “material passed along by Trump aides.” And in that context, the phrase “media manipulation” refers to any attempt to shape news coverage by people whose politics you dislike. (Emily Dreyfuss, a fellow at the Technology and Social Change Project at the Shorenstein Center, told me that “media manipulation,” despite its sinister ring, is “not necessarily nefarious.”) The focus on who’s saying something, and how they’re spreading their claims, can pretty quickly lead Silicon Valley engineers to slap the “misinformation” label on something that is, in plainer English, true…But politics isn’t a science. We don’t need to mystify the old-fashioned practice of news judgment with a new terminology. There’s a danger in adopting jargony new frameworks we haven’t really thought through. The job of reporters isn’t, ultimately, to put neat labels on the news. It’s to report out what’s actually happening, as messy and unsatisfying as that can be…”

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