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Ted Talk : truth in news media


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"Astroturfers (fake grass-root groups who are set up to lend credence to an organization's message) seek to controversalize those who disagree with them. They attack news organizations that publish stories they don't like, whistleblowers who tel the truth, politicians who dare to ask the tough questions and journalists who have the audacity to report all of it." 

 

Some bullets:

  • Astroturfers fill the media with good, bad and plain crazy information to overwhelm truth seekers.
  • "Wikipedia, Astroturf's dream come true" - Anonyms editors that work for astroturf act as gatekeepers, they control what is and is not edited, skewing the information to their view. "within seconds and poof, your edit is reversed" "Famed author Phillip Roth tried to correct a major error about the inspiration of behind one of his book characters... Wikipedia's editors wouldn't allow it... reverting the edits back to the false information... [Wikipedia] told him he simply was not considered a credible source on himself"
  • Wikipedia has been caught being paid to skew information.
  • Wikipedia contradicted medical research 90% of the time

"What chance do I have separating fact from fiction? … A few strategies … to help you recognize signs of propaganda and astroturf. Once you start to know what to look for you'll begin to recognize it everywhere"

  1. Use of inflammatory language such as:
    • "Crank"
    • "Quack"
    • "Nutty"
    • "Lies"
    • "Paranoid"
    • "Psudo-"
    • "Conspiracy"
  2. Astroturfers often claim to "debunk" myths that are not myths.
  3. Beware when interests attack an issue by controversializing the people, personalities or organization surrounding it, rather than the facts.
  4. Most of all, Astroturfers tend to reserve all of their public skepticism for those exposing wrongdoing, rather than the wrongdoers. In other words, instead of questioning authority, they question those who question authority.

Pretty good video, thanks :)

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I found it odd that she used the example of "red skins" to support her argument. Perhaps she could be right that most Americans don't wish to change that name, however that doesn't change the fact that it's considered very offencive to indigenous Americans.

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