ABC’s Nightline, a program that has covered such non-stories as “bootleg butt injections” and “cat poo coffee,” actually complained about “fake news” websites. Co-anchor Juju Chang on Monday huffed that “established media outlets are built on accuracy” as she wondered if scam websites resulted in Hillary Clinton losing.
After reading headlines from fake sites, the show then featured a graphic including CNN, the New York Times and ABC News. The journalist bragged, “While established media outlets are brands built on accuracy, rogue websites, some masquerading as legitimate, are reporting misinformation and it's spreading like wild fire online.”
Later, she talked to Buzzfeed editor Craig Silverman and wondered, “Is it overstating it to say all this fake news and the echo chamber that supported it had an impact on the election?”
Nightline journalists are in no position to judge ridiculous stories. This is a program that in 2014 actually did a story on “bootleg butt injections.” In 2015, the show’s reporters covered “cat poo coffee.” The show also looked into “polyamory” and the “trailblazing triad” of threesome fans. Is this news?
On Monday night, Chang complained, “Separating fact from fiction is not easy when mistrust of mainstream media is at an all-time high.” Perhaps one reason for that is because Nightline is promoting ridiculous click bait stories.
A partial transcript is below:
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11/29/16 (11/28/16 on west coast)
JUJU CHANG: In one of the most contentious elections in modern history, sensationalized, and at times flat-out fake news, amplifying partisan rancor across the country.
[Clip of Republican convention crowd chanting “Lock her up.”]
CHANG: “Pope Francis shocks world, endorses Donald Trump for president.” Fake. There’s this: “FBI agent suspected in Hillary e-mail leaks found dead from apparent murder/suicide.” From the Denver Guardian. The problem is there is no such thing as the Denver Guardian. While established media outlets are brands built on accuracy, rogue websites, some masquerading as legitimate, are reporting misinformation and it’s spreading like wild fire online.
CHANG: Is it overstating it to say all this fake news and the echo chamber that supported it had an impact on the election?
CRAIG SILVERMAN (Editor, Buzfeed Canada): I think it's impossible to know what the impact is of this stuff. But there's no question that when, for example, we looked at the top 20 fake news stories about the election and compared them to the top 20 election stories from 19 major media outlets, the fake news ones got more engagement on Facebook.
CHANG: Separating fact from fiction is not easy when mistrust of mainstream media is at an all-time high.
SILBERMAN: When the president-elect will say the only reason Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote is because of millions voting illegally, which is completely not true, I think that gives license to folks to be loose with the truth and for people to make things up
CHANG: And when our social media feed, designed to mirror our own opinions, only confirming our biases. So when you give a customer what they want?
SILVERMAN: They end up drowning in exactly what they want. To the exclusion of anything else.