tv Social Media False Information - Panel 2 CSPAN May 31, 2018 5:39pm-6:46pm EDT
resented this, but he was a good boy and put up with it. ofn you read every mention his father, they are worshipful. you never had an unkind word about his father, a presbyterian minister. >> sunday night on c-span's human day. -- q&a. >> a discussion about the spread of misinformation on social media. part of a symposium hosted by the brookings institution and washington, d.c. [crowd talking] >> thank you all for being here. i'm a professor in the political science department at george washington university. students talk when i talk
anyway. i am used to it. i'm gratified to have three excellent scholars to talk to us today and think about the spread of misinformation. , beginner with amber a professor at university of california davis who said to me before we gather here today, i love being in d.c. which made me wonder if you were well or something was wrong. the last time i was in davis, california, it was about 88 degrees and perfectly sunny, and here we are. he is a scholar of political communications. we're joined by pop low, that ablo, who is in a great deal of interesting research about social media and in particular this thing called twitter, which you may have heard of. and finally robert farris, the research director at harvard's client center -- kline center
for the internet and society. robert has been involved in a lot of different research projects, but when i found valuable was a lengthy report about the nature of news coverage in the 2016 election and the media echo system that was in some system created in the context of that election which he may be talking about a little bit today. i will first turned amber for her thoughts. >> it is exciting to be here. i would like to start in thinking about the spread of misinformation and disinformation by reiterating a point of jason and ej made at the beginning. this is not a new phenomenon. it would be unfortunate and not a little bit ironic if we accidentally misrepresented or mischaracterized the prevalence and criticality of misinformation and disinformation. it has always been the case
since the beginning of human political communication that we have sought political information to understand the world, and used medical information in order to try to share and promote our own views. that means it is always the case because humans are fallible and we have games of telephone to spread the misinformation. it is always the case because there have been areas of political actors that without the spread of disinformation. it is always the case misinformation and disinformation spread more easily than true facts because they tend to be more salacious. it has always been the case it i too easy for us to believe selectively those pieces of misinformation and disinformation that reinforce our own worldviews. there have been things that have changed. i do think it's important to take stock of the role of
misinformation in our current political reality because i do think that it has a greater threat to democracy than it has in generations past. lots of things have changed. we have this increasing spread of fragmentation of the media marketplace around the world, but especially in the united states. we have a strong is media marketplace competition of any place in the world. that means news outlets of all stripes are increasingly needing to appeal to our preferences and through things like click bait to get us to pay attention because they need our viewership. it is also the case we have an increasing ability to self select, to cherry pick which pieces of news we want to get. it was the case in the 19 exceed in 19 70's we all got the same news.
1970's we all got the same news. it was no accident there was the lowest association in recorded history between our partisanship and our vote when we were all effectively getting the same information. ares also the case we increasingly polarized at the national level of politics, although there is not overwhelming evidence to suggest americans writ large are increasingly polarized. i want to add something that i have been thinking about a lot, especially in my work with regina lawrence. we have more than ever before in human history an increasing blurring of the divide between entertainment and reality. therefore between fiction and fact. it used to be the case there was a clear divide. he turned to walter cronkite fairfax and turned -- for facts and to the lone ranger for fiction. it is not so clear anymore.
we live in this saturated media environment. it is saturated not just with things like game of thrones and the handmaid's tale, but it is saturated with shows that our entertainment shows, but they look a little bit like reality so you can think of the colbert report or the various versions of the office. we also have reality shows, fact-based shows wrapped in entertainment shroud. you can think of all reality tv, and "last week tonight" with john oliver. we have this increasing blurring of the lines between entertainment and reality. of course we have also a president who heralds to us from the world of entertainment, as previous politicians have done. he has not lost the trappings of entertainment.
he is still reporting himself in a way that looks as much like an entertainer as it does like a politician. how are we in this kind of context to approach our selection and consumption of information? especially for those of us academicsh we have students who were born in the year 2000. they don't know the world before fox news. they barely know the world before breitbart. i don't know what role before twitter and snapchat. how are they supposed to navigate the saturated and entertainment world? surely this kind of bleeding between fact and fiction in this entertainment-saturated environment is affecting us individually, at a psychological level and collectively at a social level. that is the bad news. but now i will talk about the good news. the good news is that when i think about my students, they are remarkably savvy.
maybe because they grew up in this digital entertainment world, they are remarkably savvy. i don't have any research that shows this, but anecdotally they may be more savvy than his older generations at differentiating between the media they consume. largely we are adaptive. we are an adaptive species and society, and democracy is an adaptive entity. i think we can think of other parallels from past history in trying to understand how we might navigate this particular type of situation. i have been thinking about potential parallels. i want to float one year. it will not work. it will break down and lots of ways but bear with me. i have been thinking about the parallel of process foods. it used to be the case food was food. we then went through this period will be can't pronounce all the
ingredients in the food available to us in the grocery store. at first the general public wasn't aware of what was happening, but then we were aware and we put policies into place to regulate the demarcation of different ingredients in the food we buy. we have gone through different ways of public education and awareness about the food we consume. if we think as a loose parallel about information, our information diet, we can think of potential policies we can put into place as a government and society to help us regulate our information intake, but also in general broader education campaign to coax us to be more self-aware of what we are consuming. like this parallel with process foods, weprocessed will be differentially able to
adapt based on our socioeconomic status. not unlike the food desert a lot of people encounter, some people don't have the money to buy a subscription to the washington post or new york times. they don't have the time to be self-aware of the kind of media they are consuming. that is the part i think is, to bring it back around to the sad news, i think that's the part i am most concerned about. we are not going to be equally able to adapt to the shifting information environment. >> i did eat a lot of mel b to cheese -- velveta cheese, and it is still delicious. let me ask you a quick follow-up. we can talktheme about later in conversation. one of the potential arguments scholars are made about the fragmentation of the news environment or the media environment more generally is
that there are consequences in terms of i only with the consume news convenient to my partisanship or ideology. the bigger consequence is people are not interested in politics now have many options. you can turn on the news, turn on the tv at the news hour and there is no longer any need to watch the news. thatan watch a hockey game maybe some of us are watching last night. do we think one of the consequences of fragmentation is not so much making people intensely partisan, of people are becoming less politically engaged? >> that is true and that is concerning. that severalning scholars have done on soft news, the fact even if you choose intentionally not to turn on the news at night and don't read a newspaper, but you just watch
daytime talk tv and watch the morning show, you are still getting information. it is information relevant about the world.would we prefer people read the new york times and the washington post? absolutely, but we still pick up information in everything we watch. the flipside is that is concerning because we are picking up political information about the world, even when we watch "game of thrones." it influences the way we think about politics. >> thank you. >> thank you. i want to focus specifically on the role of social media in the spread of misinformation. we all those social media websites like facebook and twitter are one of the most important sectors for the x order -- exporter of political information. the same technology that allowed opposition forces in the arab spring to start a revolution are now giving a platform to actors
that are wishing to minute like a political agenda, either in their own political or financial interest. it is true attention to this , in the election were "fake news" was widely shared to a large number of citizens was put in part at least by some foreign actors. u.s. adults having reported seeing made of new stories online. some of my ongoing research has focused specifically on measuring and understanding the prevalence of misinformation on social media. this information defined as news stories that appear to present political facts that are false or misleading. our goal has been to determine what are the cognitive and psychological factors in explaining why someone would click or share on false news
stories. to answer this question we conducted an analysis of news stories on twitter during the 2016 election. what we found is quite shocking. stories from online websites that reduce mostly misinformation were shared almost as often as all 16 most popular media outlets combined. that includes new york times, fox news, cnn, msnbc. false stories were shared at rates comparable to actual news stories by mainstream outlets. at least when it comes to twitter and the 2016 election there was misinformation shared. as actual news however it is true that every user shares this information at similar rates. we found significant -- to the extent to which they were likely to share misinformation.
the two most important factors for age and ideology. 16 and more were five times were likely to share false news stories on twitter then those ages 18 to 25. interesting to your point about young people being more savvy. conservative uses were twice as likely to share false news stories as moderates and liberals. this could be explained partially because there was a higher prevalence of pro-trial or anti-clinton new stories -- pro-trump or anti-clinton new stories. there is excellent work. they measured the news consumption in general online during this period and found age and alignment between ideology
and the leanings of a specific news story for the most important factors explaining wiper -- why people were exposed to an idea. it has provided new fuel to the debate on dangers of social media in political echo chambers. the prevailing narrative on the isject put forth by authors that online misinformation is currently being amplified in partisan communities of like-minded individuals. , false news spaces go unchallenged, all these ranking algorithms are filtering out. despite this, my view is the connection between online echo chambers, organization and the spread of misinformation is quite more than that. studies of news consumption
dramatically found exposure to diverse news is actually higher in social media than other types of online or off-line news consumption. political exchanges are much more frequent than commonly assumed, and to give you an idea of the political stories the average person sees on facebook aligntter, 33% do not with political beliefs. my own research as a found if anything from us people social media is having a deep polarizing effect. -- depolarizing effect. exposure to political information may be leading to psychological moderation for most people. it's increasing the range of news to which we are exposed. to be clear, that is not to say there might be some individuals that are fully embedded and completely home an -- homogenous individuals.
we found people in online spaces were agreement is basically the norm. we still expect to see them between social media and providers of misinformation, but the empirical evidence clearly is telling us the prevalence of ideological echo chambers on social media has been vastly overstated. that leads me to my main point in my initial remarks. the mechanism that has been determined it in explaining misinformation is not the existence of political echo chambers. it is the opposite. social media is increasing unfiltered exposure to political opinions. citizens are now being increasingly exposed to all types of ideas, and that will lead to conspiracy theories, hyper partisan stories and political opinions. to make sense of this paradox is important understand how the
specific social media features are transforming the way in which we can see news. social media sites like facebook or twitter, they facilitate maintaining connections to both strong and weak. in -- strong ties of those with which we have the most interaction. it will be like, relatives, etc. weak will be acquaintances. it's important because they expose us to new information. today verse views. this is where social media represents a shift in news consumption. is now -- our friends are delivering the news. the stories to which we are exposed are in large proportion being shared by weak social ties which are likely to be more ideologically diverse.
to make sense of this consider when was the last time you saw i false news story on social media? it was the person sharing that story? would you have seen that story in the eighth before social media? for most of you that person was the crazy uncle who is always sharing this political stories about -- that border on conspiracy theory. the difference is now we're seeing it. not only get things giving dinners. now we get it all the time on a news. the point i'm trying to make is we will assign blame for spreading misinformation, and solutions to stop the spread, which a look at the platforms in a broader news echo system. -- ecosystem. similarly, and i will end with this, is important to understand
the unintended consequences. if you want to increase exposure to the other side, that could increase exposure to conspiracy theories. in if we stop them, false news, what could happen is exposure to political information may decrease. a lot of people only click on a political story because it is quick break. bait.ick testing the hypothesis is challenging and in my opinion they are hard questions we should be asking ourselves. in the digital age. i want to say back to you what i think you just told us. [laughter]
caller: i don't think it is fully appreciated. right, you get this can adjust the terminology. most people do not live in a media coach amber and to the extent that they consume news through social media, they live in less of a neck of chamber than people -- and g most of the things people see on social media it aligns with their prior beliefs. we need to compare social media political consumption with online in other places. if you compare them on social media, where people see most diverse information. john: most of what we think is chamberst echo reflects and echo chamber
upholds news. -- of false news. what percentage of americans are actively twitter users? pablo: 15%, 20%. john: 85% of americans are not twitter users. 85% of americans. god bless america. robert farris. robert: it is great to be here and i appreciate the opportunity to share my work and ideas on this topic. i have spent the past two years studying digital media and u.s. politics. along with my colleagues at m.i.t..
we built a platform specifically for this purpose. it collects new stories and allows us to analyze and map those. we have done that for the u.s. election and the year after the election. a few things jump out. one of them will not surprise anybody. we have different parts of the echoes system. trust oneives set of media and liberals trust another set of media. authority areisan endangered species right now. that is deeply troubling. the next thing that jumped out from the research that did surprise us is that the immediate ecosystems are asymmetric. and profoundly asymmetric.
what i mean by that is that, on one side of the media ecosystem, you have media sources in the center, center-left, even the left that provide an integrated old, they cite each other's work. they are part of one media ecosystem. on the other side, conservative media has moved off to the corner. it is more insular and partisan. the connective tissue, the center-right, is stunted in u.s. media communications. that surprised us. we spent the rest of our time trying to figure out what that means. let me say that this observation is partisan. it sounds partisan. it is awkward in that. that is not just cambridge, massachusetts speaking, the data are very clear on that matter. what comes from this is that we
have different ecosystems that are structurally and functionally different. i want to explain how. mentioned litman and objective journalism, that is one universal. objective journalists have a different relationship with politicians. one which is often adversarial and sometimes friendly but often adversarial. partisan media have a different relationship with politicians that is mostly friendly. it is almost always friendly. and where partisanship and with thety are at odds media almost by definition leans towards the partisanship. it ends up with adversarial relationships with objectivity and the truth. obvious, i think, but i think overlooked very often that
the dysfunctional he and structurally different, and what we have in political communication in the united states right now are functionally and structurally different bd ecosystems that operate by different rules. that explains a lot of what we see in misinformation right now. i also think it means that anytime we think about media and disinformation, if we ignore that fact, we will get a lot of things wrong. if you forget everything else i say, media ecosystems are partisan, polarized, and deeply asymmetric. what this also means -- i think we like to demonize people on the other side of the aisle frequently. the thing to keep in mind is that the behavior and the practices and outcome of media have very strong structural and functional basis to them.
we may not like sean hannity but sean hannity is almost inevitable as a part of this media universe. the things that lead to success, the standards of success, and the motivations that drive people are different on both sides. if it were not sean hannity, it would be someone else. the roots of these things are structural, not personal or a matter of integrity, honesty, these deep ecosystems which have been decades in the making are producing these outcomes. that is we -- that is what we have to grapple with. one more thing, thinking about the sources of this information. -- misinformation in media. a lot of culprits. facebook algorithms, crazy uncles. pay close to home when you said bob but i am rob.
[laughter] russians, those kinds of things. they are interacting through these existing media ecosystems. for me, it is less troublesome or less consequential, the source of this information -- dis information that for it to gain traction in bd ecosystems. , because of media the structural elements, is more disinformation been fact-based journalism rooted. that is kind of what we are looking at. we can be worried
about russians that the more important part is the larger media sources and what they are andg with disinformation seeking to camp it out or amplify it. that is what we saw in the process election and in the past year. when you see uranium one becoming a big story on foxnews or seth rich conspiracies, or repeated coverage of the deep state going after donald trump. those are particular functional and structural aspects of conservative media. we have seen the bubbling up of social media of craziness on both sides. the more important question is -- how far does it get? i do not know the evidence and maybe some of the wine scholars will have an idea. it seems fundamentally different to me if you hear a rumor on
facebook and wonder, is this true? we all know, treat things on facebook with a good degree of skepticism. it becomes a different matter if you read it on facebook and it comes through email, you hear it on the radio and see it on tv. a very different world than hearing it on facebook and the "new york times" telling you it is not true. a lot oflike to blame the current problems on technology. technology is neutral. technology fees through social and political processes. problem,logy were the we would see these problems resulting in more or less equal measure on both sides, and we do not your -- do not. let's not point all fingers at
technology, we need to be wary of it and improve social media intermediate in media. our problems run much deeper than that. john: thank you uncle rob. [laughter] useful, to goe deep in the arcane details but to talk about how you are mapping these ecosystems. if you read the work thatrob -- rob and others have done, you will see a circle, the ones more central to the network are closer to the middle comedy once further out or more peripheral. lines that can next the circles and that measures how they interact with each other in different ways. talking about centerleft or left in one sphere, and write in another.
sometimes there is not a lot of ties that connect the networks. -- whatyou measuring data are you gathering to map the network? robert: two measures which complement each other. no one single view of the media ecosystem that tells us the whole picture. it is like the line people in the elephant when you go around and described a different beast by the way you look at it. one way is by looking at the interlocking patterns between media sources. when the new york times chooses to link to the washington post and not to foxnews or sites within the right wing media ecosystem linked to each other. it creates a map. a media centric view of the media ecosystem,
according to the authors and editors of the needy ecosystem. reflects the behaviors of twitter users. the proclivity of twitter users that share similar media sources. different views of the needy ecosystem, one based upon riders from foxnews and the new york times, the other based on the 15% of twitter users, a broader subset. they offer similar but slightly different views of media. john: can you say a little bit -- you talked about the stenting of the center-right. can you give more detail about what that looks like in your network map? from 2016ng changed and 2017 in the way these different media within the
political right function? robert: sure. the center-right are people who get most of their attention from the right, but also attention from the left as well. that what -- that define center-right. those are the national review, weekly standard, federalist. a lot of them were trump skeptics and never-trappers -- never-trumpers. you were either with trump or not. trump skeptics were not getting much attention from the left or right as a result. that has not changed much in the past year. the partisan lines are drawn as cleanly as strongly as before. john: even with the decline of breitbart? based on traffic statistics and
other things, do you think it is a central node as it was in 2016? it took place as what you normally ascribed to the center-right publication, the national review, do you think that has changed in the wake of the election? robert: intense competition within media, we see a stronger demand for spots in media. one of the factors that led to breitbart's success during the election was that they carved out a very strongly early pro-donald trump position that foxnews was not able or willing to make up that point. what we see in the changing prominence was that breitbart was sucking a lot of attention that foxnews otherwise would have gotten. isce the election, foxnews
not conflicted about where their loyalties lie. they are not worried about marco rubio or ted cruz any longer. they have regained their audience. in part because of that. : i want to ask a question of all of you. to theto harken back -- none of this is new. many of these things are features of american politics. i would go so far to say it is better now than it used to be. better than the era of yellow journalism. a journalism that is not yellow and was in. -- yellow journalism.
it did not exist in a world or newspapers have partisan earlier,ons and, even explicit partisan subsidies, cash given to them by political factors -- actors. you do not have to agree with that. the question i would like to ask is -- what is the right way to put the environment today in context? should we be comparing it to the 1800s? then maybe we feel better. should we compare it to walter kwok right that walter cronkite -- walter cronkite? adjacent to the conversation information, is a conversation about democracy and decline in the united states and elsewhere. emotion inlot of
that debate. it feels a historical. ago isppened 20 minutes the most important thing in the history of american politics. but maybe i am just being contrarian. maybe i should wake up every morning and the more alarmed every day. how do we grapple with this question of -- is it bad today? what are we what -- what are we supposed to compare today to? amber: i will start. yes. that is the magic question. it is all relative. , justot think i would say because i do not want to say, democracy is in decline, i was a democracy is in flux. it has always been in flux. we have always had to challenge something. i personally, and as an academic, and less -- and less
concerned about the role of misinformation as the will of mistrust. those are aligned but different conceptually and practically. sharpestdeepest and danger i think we face is that we are increasingly not trusting our government, not trusting the media, and not trusting each other, specifically not just but friendsuncles across the aisle. science shows that we are not becoming more polarized as citizens, and yet we are depressing each other more. that is dangerous. it is reason for concern. there are lots of things to like about our current form of democracy and our current form of the media landscape that we did not have before. only one of which is that individual citizens do have more
agents now than they used to. that is a good thing and bad thing, potentially. it is also a good thing. , had athe irony is that few thousand votes got in the other direction, would we be here talking about misinformation? the role as scholars is to take one step back and to put things in perspective. robert: there would be so many fewer's -- john: there would be so many fewer brookings panel's. [laughter] pablo: misinformation is not new. troubling is the mistrust in the media. there is a crisis of method. media, orhe not the output per se but the basic principles.
news outlets pretend to be serious. they produced serious journalists -- there is now fake science. is a crisis. ont is what we should focus and make sure we follow the rules. not taken away by the moment. robert: i will agree with the panel. what we should be concerned about is the erosion of institutions that speak to everyone across the populism. misinformation, disinformation is not unrelated but an underlying problem we need to worry about. we will have a hard time comparing this to other things. it is new and different now.
,ocial media and the internet digital communication, has changed our world in important ways we fully understand yet. i would just reiterate that it is a weird kind of feels like a transitional outcome now that things look so different on one side than the other. i do not think that is prominent but i am not sure what to make of it. we cannot go back to walter cronkite. that was not perfect. there were catastrophic media failures at that time as well. we have new and different catastrophic media failures ahead of us. rob, his work shows that the behavior of media systems are structural, rooted not in personality or in personal
aspects, but in incentives and institutions. if we were to think of a simulation, where all we do is put in incentives for a given news outlet, all we would get is click bait. that is the natural conclusions of the incentives for new systems on the left and right. and center. comfort and we have so much investigative journalism still today. that is a product of professionalism and institutions, but not the marketplace. that tells me that there are still people, many journalists who care about getting things right and getting things right not in a quick manner but in an investigative manner. also consumers continuing to ignore the clickbait and pay attention to the deeper and truer stories. toert: we would be remiss
not mention the decline of local journalism. amber: yes, that should be the next panel. [laughter] question and then we will take questions from the audience. gave us the wonderful metaphor of processed food. amber: you are welcome. [laughter] john: i will steal that for years to come. they'll be thet -- velveeta is not as good as kale. [laughter] john: i will eat more kale. an interesting idea, lots of unintended consequences, trying to put parameters on what gets published or what people pay attention to because, for most
of us, the more we consume, the more we consume. the more we get of bad the more we get of the good. is there a way to get us from velveeta to kale that does not end up with a perverse on sequence -- consequence? get asays we would not much information and the less politically engaged and informed. to avoid being misinformed. is there a way to thread the needle? amber: we should be cautious about policy but that is much easier to implement than take away an error all kinds of unintended consequences. i do not want someone to tell me i have to eat kale for lots of
reasons. i want to make my own food choices. but i also want everyone to have equal access to kale if they want it. i want people to be equally available, equally able to be informed about the relative health benefits of kale and velveeta. it is about information and i think because of the decline of local news, we are facing, not just a challenge of misinformation and disinformation, but a disproportionate challenge of those things for people of lower socioeconomic status. i do not know what kind of policy we could put in place. a systemd to imagine by the government that would appeal to us.
i do not know. pablo: we do not know. i understand why. this is a hard question. let's assume we want a policy that would make take news forbidden. -- fake news forbidden. what is fake news? it is hard to identify. newsve seen a lot of fake articles with some truth. it is hard to define. even if we make fake news forbidden, a multiplicity of platforms. how do we come up with a comprehensive way? a problem for measurement. we do not know -- very basic -- whats like how much proportion of the political news we see are misleading or false.
we do not know. coming up with policy proposals to fight date news -- fake news. difficult methodology. robert: i will agree. i cannot imagine a policy prescription that would be palatable in the u.s. context at this point. anything that would try to limit the production and distribution of political speech is the third rail, and rightly so. we have a lot of things we can and should try in the meantime to shore up things. the roots of solutions are not in law or technology, but in -- --t is where we should go to that is where we should go. john: we will take questions.
you were quick on the draw. [laughter] >> my name is meredith mackenzie and i am here on behalf of the nyu center for human rights. you mentioned we should be concerned about russia feared -- russia. about thattle talked panel talked about american misinformation, how much comes from russia and what is the responsibility of businesses to look at their model and what they are profiting off of misinformation? you said maybe the solution is in politics but maybe is there a solution for tech companies and media? you got this. [laughter] pablo: it is tough. why do we see fake news? financial incentive. sidoniamay russian propaganda is hard to
identify. it is challenging to come up with ways to fight this. all of the discussion, it has focused on fake news in the u.s.. in the u.s. we are worried about democracy but another countries we are worried about inaccurate -- genocide. that is something that we need to pay attention to. imagine tryingo all thingsusing necessary to prevent foreign intervention on a u.s. election. bumpdoes not pump the -- --against first dimension
amendment protection. there is nuances and complications with any such thing. who is where and what lengths to we go to document that? a more difficult question is, what is political and what is not? i think that makes sense and there are things that can and should be done. social pressure on social media companies is appropriate as well. again, it is a political social solution to a political and social program -- problem. ask them to do better in certain circumstances. it is not government policy on everyone. you're going to have to muddle through. there is no easy answers to any of that. in thinking about potential
russian interference, it is a difference of resources. it is not that we have to look outside our country for people with political aims who are trying to game the system to influence up people. documented cases, there was an excess of resources. that does not make it a small thing. it is nick exaggeration of an existing problem. -- it is an exaggeration of an existing problem. i tried to be quick on the draw. i am from au. my question is for everybody's favorite uncle. others can chime in if they want to.
i'm wondering if your analyses are recent enough, or if you are seeing any changes in the last year and a half? anecdotally, it feels like, i watch late-night tv, we see that stephen colbert got a lot more popular when he decided to go full throated against trump every night. jimmy fallon lost a lot of popularity when he refused to do that for a time but now he has jumped on board. when i pay attention to twitter and look at the headlines in my washington post feed, it feels to me like the traditional center in -- centerleft is becoming more foxy. i could talk about podcasts too. popularity, it seems like a
lot like political talk radio. is there any evidence that both on the right, that fox is becoming more foxy in the traditional centerleft are becoming more foxy? >> thank you for the question. it is a good one. we have, we have kept tabs on the past year. fallon do notmmy appear in our analyses. they are not getting the same traction within twitter in the media ecosphere. wall street journal, new york times, washington post, political hell, they are as they have been. they have a clearer focus than they had in the past. there are still people in the room and people running these organizations saying, eat your
theirinsisting that reporter serve kale. i don't think that has changed that much. the left is certainly more energized than they were before. there was an enthusiasm gap prior to the election where the partisan right was much more engaged with things, and we have seen evidence that that has shifted since the election. i think that that is partly reflected in colbert and fallon. i don't even know where to place them in the media ecosystem. they fall in that entertainment, political kind of model that is hard to describe. we wish it didn't exist. things, they are as they were. right wing media is more unified than it was before, as it is not
an election. any longer. the difference being that they are more on the defenses -- defensive. you do see a surprising amount of offense, going after the clintons was left of the election is a sign of that. it is a successful way to do business. is not of this industry only the degree of network closeness but also the nature of the media. is almostadio exclusively on the right and late-night comedic news space shows almost exclusively on the left. exclusively for institutional reasons. i wonder. i think it is an interesting question. a professor is writing a book on the psychological length -- link between conservatives, liberals,
and comedy. i can't wait to read that book. --some research i have done looking at trends after the election, the big movement has been cnn. from a relatively central position to the left. it is important to take into one thing might be ideology,e perceived but the range of views to which to, give, they expose you cnn is famous for giving views to both sides of an issue. that is also important. >> ma'am, right here. retired intelligence alice --
and the list. back, if we fight really want truth as opposed to fake news, we could do what the post did last week. it had a one page, do remember that blue page? unattributed, which makes me somewhat suspicious. i suppose i know who pay for it. we don't have to take this. do you want to find out what this news is? you could go to a library. [laughter] [applause] libraries are great. trained to show not,hat is true, what is what can be a source of information.
this is something you don't need to all money to describe of these newspapers and journals. most people do have that access to libraries. >> this is something i wanted to ask. when we talk about policy, how are we going to fix this? we can't do very much because of the first amendment. or it is harder to categorize fake news. my way of framing this question , should our a way focus beyond -- how do we help the kale growers? that is a different way of approaching this issue. the economics of the news business and the personal choices that people may or may not make us consumers. are there ways that we might --
i is to help to write for a publication that is now owned by a very wealthy man. it turns out that is a great way to make money. , no conflicty me of interest here. that is one way to do it. to there other ways strengthen ecosystems that are true providers in ways that enable them to be a counterbalance to misinformation,, to russian information -- misinformation, to rank partisanship. this is your last word on this panel. >> money goes a long way. andy to fund more libraries better infrastructure in libraries and library -- money to fund all of the various news outlets that are producing kale. that would go a long way.
especially if that money could go towards funding subscriptions for people to get through the pay wall for people who cannot afford it. there are a number of newspapers that offer student discounts, that is great. there are a lot of people be on students who cannot afford it. the harder task is time. a very different thing to ask someone to consume a newspaper article, even online, that it is to ask them to glance at twitter in the morning. task.a very different as our economic work pace -- workplace is shifting, it is harder for lower socio-economic people to take that time. >> i want to highlight the role of civic education here. a lot of the balance that we are seeing is due to the fact that a lot of people do not understand that when they see something on social media or the internet,
sometimes it is going to be false. there are people actively trying to mislead you for financial or political reasons. of,loping the conscience think twice when you are reading something. look for the repeated outlet. learning how to do that. that is something to be taught in schools and pfizer in life. -- later in life. the role of education is something we should think about. questions the right and it has no easy answer. it is thes that everyday work of building democracies that we have to reengage with. that is everywhere from funding libraries and paying teachers better salaries and buying subscriptions to newspapers and donating money to fill in traffic -- philanthropic organizations. we need to try to fend off
polarization and partisanship where we can. concerns is the encroachment of political life on all aspects of the collective endeavor. the more that it gets politicized, the less likely we are to come to reasonable collective decisions on things. we are going to take a 10 minute break and reconvene at 11:45. please join me in thanking our panelists. [applause] [muted conversations] >> this weekend, c-span cities tour takes you to fort worth, texas. we will explore ft. worth is
literally -- fort worth's literary scene. we will explore the history of the democratic party in texas. above all, the story i tell is, how activists from different , african-americans, mexican-americans, whites, fully came together and built a coalition for civil rights and labor rights and political power. >> we will visit texas christian university's special collection to see items from their in their shoes exhibit. on sunday at 2:00 eastern on american history tv. we will look back to jfk's visit where heorth's square gave an impromptu speech to thousands of spectators the morning he was assassinated. >> the other half of that day
was in fort worth, where everything seemed possible. that half of the day is important to remember. >> and then a visit to fort , the locationards of the largest livestock industry in texas. onch c-span's cities tour saturday at noon eastern. working with our cable affiliates as we explore america. join us live sunday at noon for our year-long special, in-depth fiction addiction. featuring best-selling fiction writers. say that, have to many writers and someone, people have a lot of things to say are
completely undaunted by being told what is expected. that there is a , they must learn to do this if you are going to go want to be a writer, it is necessary but not sufficient. this is not going to make you a great writer. withhen you sit down everybody and discover that they can all do it. there is nothing about learning to do those things that impedes creativity. >> watch our special series "in-depth: fiction addiction -- edition" on book tv on c-span2. fo s