I had heard of BuzzFeed before. They were always known for their clickbait headlines – something their editor-in-chief Ben Smith roundly denies – and cute kitten videos. You know, stuff like “21 Photos of Cats Sneezing That Will Make You Laugh.” They have a knack for making the most useless information go viral. But whatever. It’s their business.
In recent times, they’ve shifted the way they do things. They still have their useless content – you’ve got to have something for everyone – but now they have a more “serious” journalistic section.
In their BuzzFeed News portion, they had a lengthy article talking about how “hyperpartisan” Facebook pages are releasing misleading and false information at an “alarming rate.” And guess which site was part of their investigative analysis? Eagle Rising:
Our analysis of three hyperpartisan right-wing Facebook pages found that 38% of all posts were either a mixture of true and false or mostly false, compared to 19% of posts from three hyperpartisan left-wing pages that were either a mixture of true and false or mostly false. The right-wing pages are among the forces — perhaps as potent as the cable news shows that have gotten far more attention — that helped fuel the rise of Donald Trump.
These pages, with names such as Eagle Rising on the right and Occupy Democrats on the left, represent a new and powerful force in American politics and society. Many have quickly grown to be as large as — and often much larger than — mainstream political news pages. A recent feature in the New York Times Magazine reported on the growth and influence of these pages, saying they “have begun to create and refine a new approach to political news: cherry-picking and reconstituting the most effective tactics and tropes from activism, advocacy and journalism into a potent new mixture.”
They go on to say that their analysis brought them to a “troubling” conclusion: That the only way for political sites – like Eagle Rising – to gain an audience on Facebook is for them to publish false or misleading articles and headlines.
They contrasted the “hyperpartisan” left-wing and right-wing sites with mainstream media networks such as Politico, CNN, and ABC News. They found that the mainstream news network sites very rarely (basically never) published anything that was either misleading or false, and yet, their posts don’t get the same engagement from their audience (shares and reactions and such) as hyperpartisan sites do, a large portion of which is false. And they claim these hyperpartisan sites use clickbait headlines to reel readers in. (Speaking of clickbait, take a look at BuzzFeed News’ Twitter page.)
So, while the mainstream sources are publishing the truth and not gaining much ground on social media, the ones that are peddling trash and false or misleading headlines are the ones who are doing well.
What they didn’t cover in their never-ending article was how they did their “fact-checking.” How did they decide which stories were accurate, and which were false? By comparing hyperpartisan content to CNN?
What makes mainstream news networks so misleading is how much information they leave out. They lie by omission. They define the narrative, and if they don’t mention something, then it doesn’t exist. If they don’t talk about Hillary’s scandals, then she doesn’t have any.
But they also engage in twisting words, taking quotes out of context, blowing things out of proportion, and they do it for ratings.
All that makes people mad. It creates a vacuum and a demand for what BuzzFeed calls hyperpartisan blogs and websites. They cover the stories that the big national media won’t cover.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com