The Faketivism epidemic

Social Media has led to the emergence of even more faketivism.

If you look at the recent examples of such activities, we can look at the hounding of the CEO of Mozilla out of a job, and in New Zealand the recent actions by Giovanni Tiso against Radio Live and also the jihad against Paul Henry when at TVNZ.

Fakectivism is social media activism by small numbers of people that is integrated into the news cycle because it matches the media?s political agenda.

[…]

Fakectivism online multiplies the problems with media coverage of left-wing activism by completely distorting the number of people participating in a protest and their credibility in representing anyone except themselves.

In real life protests, the media routinely reported higher turnout for left-wing protests and lower turnout for conservative protests. Online, Fakectivism dispenses with head counts. If it’s a trending topic, then it’s news. And sometimes it’s news, even if it isn’t.

Fakectivism begins with left-wing agitprop sites selectively collecting tweets in support or against something. Invariably the handful of tweets are described in collective terms as “The Internet” being outraged or supportive of something. The use of the collective “Internet” is a staple of Fakectivism because it conflates a manufactured story with the impulses and opinions of billions of people.

Successful Fakectivism moves up the ladder to higher end left-wing websites searching for teachable controversies. These websites have enough status that they are monitored by producers and editors from the mainstream media looking for stories.

The mainstream media harvests content from sites such as Slate or the Huffington Post and reframes it in biased but credible language while disguising its sources. Twitter Fakectivism is invariably described as a “backlash” or a “firestorm”. Phrases such as “Twitter was lit up by outraged users” give non-technical readers the impression that the complainers represent the consensus of the site instead of a small number of overactive users.

The manufactured Fakectivism becomes a major news story by a successive filtering process that disguises the dubious source and the credibility of the originating event.?

Sound familiar? It should. It happens all the time…how many times have you seen articles that exclaim how many people were “outraged” online about something.

The media outsources much of its research to left-wing sites and often only rewrites their stories. A belated fact check may occasionally shoot down a false story, as with the Washington Post’s Keystone attack on the Koch Brothers, but mostly content from Media Matters, Think Progress, Salon, Gawker and worse streams uninterrupted into the newspapers of record and the wire services with changes in style, not substance.

The media only truly goes into research mode when the facts fit a conservative narrative. If ocean temperatures are rising, then no research is needed. The talking points are rewritten and jammed in. But if ocean temperatures aren’t rising, then suddenly research is needed to explain why the lack of warming is actually proof of Global Warming.?This brand of counter-intuitive apologetics attracts the “brightest” figures in the media because it requires that they make an argument that disproves the facts, instead of rewriting a Media Matters release.

The traditional “prestige” media that we used to know still exists, but it exercises less influence than ever. The real media now mainly reports on trending internet content, whether it’s Twitter protests, pop stars or cat videos. The distinction between CNN and any random website that collects the same viral content is that the viral site is likely to have it first. That’s increasingly the same distinction between NBC News and the Huffington Post.

Fakectivism extends a convenient relationship in which the media acts as a gatekeeper for social media into the political realm. The difference is that while the media is agnostic when it comes to passing along cat videos or reporting on a pop star’s trashy antics, it carefully curates which protests it takes seriously, which causes it advances and which people it gets fired.

The media has come to embody a decentralized relationship between different levels of left-wing content providers from major activist groups to random aspirants for social justice fellowships trying to get a hashtag going on Twitter. What we think of as the media is only the formal tip of the iceberg with its billion dollar brand names and national and international operations.

We have seen this in NZ media, especially when they are pimping the poor, or watching the teacher unions manufacture outrage.

The media has become a closed loop of the left, inventing its own stories and reporting on the stories that it invents. Fakectivism has allowed it to manufacture its own system of non-profit content providers who have become an extension of it. It applies the political relationship between elected officials and non-profits who answer to community activists funded by national foundations rather than their own voters to the news business.

Fakectivism manufactures news. It frees the media from reporting on actual events and allows them to report on non-events manufactured by their political allies with a pre-made narrative. How many people really wanted Eich gone? It doesn’t matter. The media takes refuge in abstractions. It treats the internet as a collective force that drives its reporting, when it’s actually just the echo chamber for its agenda.

Of course there are two ways to counter this. One is to support genuine news outlets that present the stories and facts as they are without the shameless spin. Or…do it back at them…I suppose there is a third way and that is to do both.

Stay tuned in coming months as I outline how the liberal media in New Zealand must and will be challenged.

61%