4 thoughts on “News Credibility in an Age of Disinformation

  1. I don’t understand this Mark. Are you saying that, because mass media are losing credibility, we should work with partisan outlets that are biased on principle and only fortify perceptions which are already shared in the communities they serve? How does that help?

  2. Thanks for asking, Evelyn. The short answer is no. The fact is that leading NGOs like Amnesty, HRW and Greenpeace are already practicing fact-based activism and reporting, including facts they don’t necessarily like (this was recently documented in detail by scholar Matthew Powers in a piece called “the new boots on the ground”, dynamite work). The best stakeholder groups realise that you can’t do a good job of reforming reality if your solutions are illusionary. These are the kinds of people we need to ally with. Put another way, we can aim at credibility with people who know what’s going on and have a good bit of their own, first.

    The longer answer is that there will always be a danger of halfwitted “investigators” doing exactly what you’re worried about. Not to mention the misuse of media by various oligarchs, gangsters and wannabe Berlusconis to promote their own causes by “revealing” various degrees of trash and half-truths.

    We do have to set another standard. But we will not be recognised as doing that all on our lonesomes. And we cannot count ONLY on the MSM to do it for us. Do you agree?

  3. PS: What I’m talking about has already happened. The Guardian partnered with Greenpeace to get the Trafigura story out. The BBC went it alone and was shut down. The issue there was UK libel law, not credibility, but the same issue of partnership was involved. So was tacit recognition of the legitimacy of Greenpeace as an information agent.

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