When news isn’t news – news blogs credibility
I was just sent a blog post regarding three government-critical Twitter accounts that had been shut down in the wake of the new ‘gagging law’ passed yesterday in the UK. The post has been shared and commented on like crazy and the friend who sent it over was furious. I can see it being posted now by a few other friends in my Facebook newsfeed and exactly none of them are concerned with news blogs credibility.
The problem is, when I checked the three twitter accounts (mentioned in the first line of the article), two of them are still active – no suspension in sight! Now I have no idea why the third account is suspended, but I would guess that the blog author doesn’t either.
The modern blogosphere has a thousand positive impacts on the online world, but there are real concerns about the impact blogs are having on news reporting and understanding. News organisation’s content is already diluted by the modern 24 hour news cycle as there is less time for investigative journalism on the background of the story. But a greater danger is that unchecked blogs are becoming the source of our ‘news’ and they (often) have no fact checking at all, and can be motivated purely by likes/comments/shares – an end most easily achieved in news reporting through sensationalism.
Blogs can be used to harness grassroots movements and encourage real change in the world, but our tendency to spray anger over any issue from any blog without a 30 second fact check undermines this potential and further degrades the value of news to all of us.
Have you seen other examples of this? And has anyone got the foggiest idea of what we should do about it?
PS – David pointed out the excellent Snopes.com is on hand for when you need to check your own internet conspiracy and rumours, great tip.