Last week we reported here about the coming war on “fake” news. Google has come out against such “fake” sites, and stated they’ll no longer be able to use AdSense to profit from advertisements once they receive the “fake” designation.
You need to put “fake” in quotations, because if you look at the list of “fake” sites, a number of legitimate sites are lumped in with fakes.
The Blaze, Red State, Breitbart, IJR, Twitchy, and Project Veritas are objectively not “fake news” sites. And while sites like MSNBC, Being Liberal, and Liberal America may produce garbage content, they’re biased and misleading, not fake. Also noteworthy is that satirical sites were included on the list (Borowitz Report, ChristWire, ClickHole, The Onion, Reductress), which make it pretty obvious they’re mocking the news.
So who’s behind it all? As Zero Hedge (ironically one of the sites listed as “fake” in the complete list) reported: WND has found a leftist, Trump-bashing assistant professor in Massachusetts who specialized in “fat studies” is behind the effort to target and discredit legitimate news organizations.
Meet Merrimack College Assistant Professor Melissa Zimdars, a 30-something self-identified feminist and activist who has expressed great dislike for President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
She’s only actually held her teaching position at the private college in North Andover, Mass., for 15 months.
Zimdars published and circulated a list of “fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media.” She said she began writing the list because she didn’t approve of the sources her students were citing.
Mainstream media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times circulated Zimdars’ growing list. The Times headlined its story, “Want to keep fake news out of your newsfeed? College professor creates list of sites to avoid.” The Times offered no details concerning Zimdars’ qualifications or background. News organizations such as CNN, the Washington Post, Boston Globe, New York Magazine, USA Today, Business Insider, the Austin American-Statesman, the Dallas Morning News and others spread the list like gospel and cited it in their reports.
But nearly none of them considered Zimdars’ political leanings or questioned her criteria or qualifications for determining which news sources should be included on her list.
Here are some of her Tweets:
It’s no wonder the majority of sites included on her list have a right-of-center slant. She may have tried to conceal her motives by stuffing in some liberal sites too, but it’s quite clear her goal is to punish conservatives who pose a challenge to her worldview.
Sean Hannity’s website warned that Zimdars’ list includes “mainstream conservative sources” and “is giving us insight into just what kind of websites the left plans on targeting for censorship.”
But hey, at least we didn’t make the list (for now).
Since her list went viral, she has removed it from Google docs saying it was a “safety measure in response to threats and harassment she, her students and colleagues had received. You can see her current
backpedalling statement here.
[Note: This post was written by The Analytical Economist]