If you’re older or a Republican, you’re more likely to share fake news on Facebook:

Across all age categories, sharing fake news was a relatively rare category. Only 8.5 percent of users in the study shared at least one link from a fake news site. Users who identified as conservative were more likely than users who identified as liberal to share fake news: 18 percent of Republicans shared links to fake news sites, compared to less than 4 percent of Democrats. The researchers attributed this finding largely to studies showing that in 2016, fake news overwhelmingly served to promote Trump’s candidacy.

But older users skewed the findings: 11 percent of users older than 65 shared a hoax, while just 3 percent of users 18 to 29 did. Facebook users ages 65 and older shared more than twice as many fake news articles than the next-oldest age group of 45 to 65, and nearly seven times as many fake news articles as the youngest age group (18 to 29).

The party finding was influenced by all of the Russian fake news surrounding the Trump campaign. The age finding was independent of party affiliation.  It’s not surprising since older people grew up in an environment where news on the TV or in newspapers was generally factual, so that assumption is still baked in to their thinking, even though the world has changed drastically.

105 replies
  1. 1

    I have anecdata that agrees with the study.
    1. Husband kitteh’s 80 year old uncle forwards the most garbage
    2. My friend who got all her news from FB went from someone who voted for Obama twice to a raving lunatic who supported the Muslim ban and voted for JS.

  2. 2
    Cermet says:

    Good morning, jackals.

    Any time I see news that is too good to be true, I check it out with other sites. So far, no bad surprises but trusting web sites is a gamble. And I remember the old news programs but also learned they too accepted lies willingly by our government, Worse today with the russians but hasn’t really changed!

  3. 3
    Mr. Prosser says:

    I’m sure it also depends on their education level and exposure to a variety of other information sources.

  4. 4
    Yarrow says:

    Fakebook, sure. Also, TreasonBook. Their full involvement in the treasonous 2016 election hasn’t yet been made public. They took Russian money and allowed users’ data to be harvested and used for microtargeting in the election, despite saying they wouldn’t and didn’t.

  5. 5
    Kraux Pas says:

    Any reporting on how many cable or broadcast news outlets passed along fake news from Facebook?

  6. 6
    kindness says:

    This report is no doubt true. I can’t speak from personal experience on this matter however as I unfollowed all the nuts in my friends group and no longer see their mental illness.

  7. 7

    @Mr. Prosser: It may be comforting to think that only country hicks hanging out in diners are doing this but both my examples are well educated and well traveled. FB fake news works because of the human the tendency to believe what you want to believe. Also, paranoia seems to work better with isolated and older people. Formal education or smarts have little to do with it.
    ETA: There is an overlap between this demographic and the Fox News demographic, which also skews older.

  8. 8
    Yarrow says:

    This organization, Mediawise, seems to be aimed at kids, but perhaps there needs to be a version for older people. Go into senior centers, retirement homes, church groups, whatever and teach older adults how to identify propaganda, disinformation, etc.

    To fully combat the spread of misinformation online, we must teach a new generation to be fact-checkers.

    Enter MediaWise, Poynter’s groundbreaking endeavor aimed at helping middle and high school students be smarter consumers of news and information online.

    MediaWise is a partnership between Poynter, the Stanford History Education Group, Local Media Association and National Association for Media Literacy Education, supported by Google Inc. MediaWise will feature a research-based curriculum to be taught in classrooms and a teen-led fact-checking initiative. YouTube creators like Ingrid Nilsen, the Green Brothers and Destin Sandlin from Smarter Every Day will help this project reach its goal of 1 million students, with at least 50 percent coming from underserved or low-income communities.

  9. 9
    Doug R says:

    This is the problem I have with sites that aren’t “commercial”. What’s their agenda? The bigger more commercial news outlets even though they have their corporate shading have huge viewership and have to vet their sources.

  10. 10
    Elizabelle says:

    NPR reported on this, excessively timidly last night, with the hourly recap about 5:00 or 6:00 pm.

    The olds share the most news via internet. That was the whole of the report. Made no mention of what quality of news it was. Sidestepped that entirely.

    They know who they’re kowtowing to for being left a bequest in wills, or membership. Don’t hit us again! Please!

    Our local station is running a promo with one woman saying she loves NPR because their news is “fair and balanced.” If she wants two sides, or all fifty, she will get it from NPR.

    Not. I keep meaning to call the station and tell them that “fair and balanced” reminds me to never give them any money. None.

  11. 11
    Elizabelle says:

    older people grew up in an environment where news on the TV or in newspapers was generally factual, so that assumption is still baked in to their thinking, even though the world has changed drastically.

    Fox’s studio background reminds me a lot of network news setups from the 1960s and 70s. Not an accident.

    News “looks” the same, although the content has gone whack. (And you have to overlook the (1) women being (2) women in cocktail attire with bare arms and (3) not every anchor a white male in a tie.)

  12. 12
    mapaghimagsik says:

    When I read this post, I immediately thought of the gamification of tribalism. Doesn’t ‘winning’ give some sort of endorphin rush, and some people are simply addicted — to the point they don’t care about anything other than winning. Some people don’t seem to do well with uncertainty. I see it at my work a lot.

    @Elizabelle: I cannot stand NPR. A smug, self-satisfied brain clot on the collective consciousness, it provides cover for my while, male coworkers to appear somber and serious without the terrible inconvenience of self-examination.

    Sorry, I’m not a bowl of sunshine today.

  13. 13
    Yarrow says:

    @Elizabelle: Oooh…I’ve heard that promo with that woman as well. Must be national.

  14. 14
    Sebastian says:


    There is another emerging story which that all their ad metrics are bullshit. FB was nearly done but then a) got a lot of oligarch money and b) started forcing everyone into video (that was after they lost the messenger battle) and subsequently lied their asses off about video engagement stats.

    The whole internet ad industry is a gigantic bubble and very likely ground zero for the next megacrash.

  15. 15

    @Yarrow: Me too. The Snooze Hour coverage of the shut down has been horrific. Judy Woodruff always peddles RW talking points while pretending to be reasonable and above it all.

  16. 16
    Yarrow says:

    @mapaghimagsik: Along those lines, it’s worth watching the Vox Explainer CNN treats politics like a sport — that’s bad for all of us
    When politics is a game, truth telling takes a back seat to controversy
    .They focus on CNN but all the cable networks are pretty much the same. It’s worth watching the video because once you see the ESPN sports panel side by side with the CNN political panel you can’t watch political “coverage” the same way again. It’s the same damn thing.

  17. 17
    Kraux Pas says:


    Judy Woodruff always peddles RW talking points while pretending to be reasonable and above it all.

    The RW media strategy in a nutshell.

    ETA: This allows people who should know better to say “both sides…” and pass their lazy conventional wisdom off as deep thought and being against the establishment, man, and doesn’t require the hard work of understanding facts.

  18. 18
    Wild Cat says:

    ‘Free men of every generation must combat renewed efforts of organized force and greed to destroy liberty. Every generation must wage war for freedom against new forces that seek through new devices to enslave mankind.’

    —Robert Lafollette, Sr.,

  19. 19

    @Kraux Pas: But she is the anchor of the supposedly liberal PBS Snooze Hour.

  20. 20
    mapaghimagsik says:

    Reading these comments, I feel like “Fuck you, NPR” has to be said more and more.

  21. 21
    Wild Cat says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Those hustlers. They swamped us with ‘Firing Line,’ ‘Wall Street Week,’ and “Adam Smith’s Money World’ for eons while screaming, “Socialist PBS!”

    On my dime.

    Fuckers, all.

  22. 22

    @Yarrow: Not just CNN but the giggle sisters of the Newshour, Amy Walter and Tamara Keith, do the same. Amy Walter was all giggles while discussing the spree shooting with the highest body count so far(the one in Las Vegas at the country music concert).
    Amy: Giggling, nothing is going to happen because both sides, blah blah..
    This when the final body count was not yet known and the bodies weren’t even cold yet. These people are as psychopathic as their Fox News counterparts. They just have better manners, that’s all.

  23. 23
    Kraux Pas says:


    supposedly liberal

    Again, the RW media strategy in a nutshell.

  24. 24
    MattF says:

    @Elizabelle: Also, there are different understandings of what ‘the internet’ actually is. Once upon a time, the Internet (with a capital ‘I’) was the network-of-networks, plus a dozen or so services. Then it became WWW. Then, the internet (small ‘i’) became a specific browser. Now, apparently, for many people, the internet is Facebook.

    The basic rule seems to be slow devolution to the smallest common denominator.

  25. 25
    The Dangerman says:

    If you’re older or a Republican…

    …you are more inclined to believe the Big Lies. The current Big Lie is if one is against the wall, one is for “open borders” (whatever the fuck that really means). Or AOC’s 70% marginal tax rate proposal was a 70% tax on all income (complete bullshit and how they tell that lie with a straight face is beyond me). I don’t see how one has a reasoned debate where the other side just wants to dump a blizzard of bullshit on you.

    I’m sure the Left has Big Lies about the other sides positions (although, on first coffee this morning, I can’t think of one), too, but it’s obviously a Righty tactic for their gullibles.

  26. 26
    Elizabelle says:

    @Yarrow: That thing’s gone national? “Fair and balanced” source of news? Oh no.

    I figured it might be local because I live in the once and forever capitol of the Confederacy. Had no idea they were *wink *wink running that thing elsewhere.

    Fuck NPR. And write them. You have to write them, nationally. Because they don’t actually “listen” to their listeners.

    The local affiliates do pick up their phones, and are pretty responsive, in my limited experience.

  27. 27
    bjacques says:

    It’s not just Republicans. I’ve got plenty of friends on the left who pass along articles that feed their outrage against neo-liberal Pig Amerikkka Pentagon sellout DNC Democrats too. Even news that are true or even not especially controversial get forwarded with a sense of outrage. It wears me down, because these people really are my friends. One friend won’t be satisfied with anything less than AOC/Tulsi 2020 and on Obama he regularly drops C-bombs (he’s British Asian — happily he can’t vote in US elections). Another (British) friend began 2016 as Bernie Or Bust and ended it, thanks to ZeroHedge and the like a full-throated Trumpista. She invested in Bitcoin early 2017 and stews in those forums and now forwards crap from RT and the Daily Mail. (She’s a hardcore crash-out Brexiteer but living safely in he Netherlands over 15 years.)

  28. 28
    Matt says:

    There’s going to be a lot of QAnon-related posts submitted as exhibits in involuntary guardianship hearings the next couple years, methinks.

  29. 29
    Nicole says:

    I swear, after dealing with my friends in my peer group (Gen Xers) willfully spout easily-demonstrable-as-falsehoods nonsense, and watching them double down on those falsehoods (or not respond when they’re shown to be false) I have reached the point where I think that we are just neck deep in terrible fellow citizens who are so desperate to hang onto their self-image of themselves as “good people” that they have to feed on lies and propaganda, else they’ll face a long dark night of the soul that none of them have ever had the strength or courage to face up to.

  30. 30

    @bjacques: True, purity lefties are just as susceptible. The second example in my anecdata was Bernie curious before she went all in for the xenophobic bigotry.

  31. 31
    E. says:

    I absolutely loathe NPR. I hear it about once a year, and for the first few moments I always think, oooohhh, ahhh, this is so nice and comfortable, why don’t I do this more often, and then about 90 seconds in they say something so smug and absent of self awareness that I immediately blow a gasket. This year it was a piece where all the white people and a few black people were congratulating themselves for being so damned open-minded and not at all racist because a black man and some black people were allowed to conduct and sing Handel at a church in Birmingham where that shit wasn’t always allowed. The tone of the story was so self-congratulatory and self-satisfied, without even a nod to the notion that the very fact this *is* a story is evidence of the enduring blight of our racist attitudes.

  32. 32
    bemused says:


    Seriously, Walters was all giggles? That really happened?

  33. 33
    mapaghimagsik says:

    @Nicole: amen. But its not just your peer group. I, on the Boomer-genex cusp. (crotchety rising!) see very much the same thing. Today, that realization, combined with research I’m doing (I can trust voting demographics from Wikipedia, right?) combined with a security vulnerability discovery that leaves my company wide-open and the owners of which are shrugging at and waiting for a ‘new version’ gives me a range I haven’t felt since I was much younger.

  34. 34


    I have reached the point

    That’s the difference between us. I knew this going into the election. I’ve known it at least since I was a teenager.

  35. 35
    Nicole says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Yeah, I know an over-70-but still-thinks-he’s-a-rebellious-hippie who is a HUGE Bernie fan, no matter what facts he is offered about tax returns and sexual harassment. He responds with that’s all nonsense, and he knows it because even though he doesn’t like Hillary, he didn’t believe everything about Benghazi, either.

    Lordy. I should break it to him that the long hair and ear studs still don’t hide the misogyny.

  36. 36
    Ohio Mom says:

    Ohio Son’s high school curriculum included one semester of freshman English focused on media literacy, with much attention to evaluating internet sources.

    I think the teachers’ main concern was making sure that future term papers would be based on reliable sources — no point in writing a well-organized, well-written and well-edited paper on how we know the world is flat.

    I have no way of knowing how effective the curriculum was but it is definitely a good and important effort.

  37. 37
    Sebastian says:


    You are unfortunately very correct. The rise of social media has led to a concerning dynamic. While in the past we were exposed to a more or less diverse mix of potential opinions and feedback, people are now building a self-image (via FB, Instagram, and Twitter) and self-selecting an audience in which they vie for validation (likes and upvotes) for their dopamine fix.

    This leads to a feedback loop: because it takes time to build a new image or establish status within a new group (the vehicle that generates dopamine) people are heavily disincentivised to change their self-image because they’ll be cut off their dopamine fix.

    So they double down or ignore contradicting evidence because that would get them expelled from their dopamine generating circle and getting a new one up and running is a lot of work and not guaranteed to work.

    It’s junkies, all the way to the bottom.

  38. 38
    Elizabelle says:

    NPR could never find any voters enthusiastic about Hillary. Never. (That means, not in my limited hearing, because I was out and about canvassing and only heard them when I was driving.)

    But it was noticeable. And all the — well look over here. Trump supporters. How quaint. Let’s give them lots of airtime, the little dears.

  39. 39
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Off topic, here’s what I think Pelosi should propose in the way of a deal:

    If the Senate passes the House appropriations bills and Trump signs them, Pelosi will promise to attach the $5.7B of wall funding to H.R. 1. and guarantee its passage through the House.

  40. 40
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @schrodingers_cat: in terms of anecdata, there were a lot of stories here and elsewhere about old hippies– or (I suspect more often) people who were just too young to actually join the anti-war and civil rights movements and now tell themselves they totally would’ve exposed their skulls to the clubs– using Wilmer as an excuse to the get their tie-dye drag on. Susan Sarandon is 71. Cornell West is 65. Michael Moore is 64. Roseann “trump will give us single payer” DeMoro is 70.

  41. 41
    gene108 says:

    I have acquaintances on Facebook, who are now probably in their early 30’s (met them about 10 years ago), and they share a lot of mumbo-jumbo stuff on holistic health cure alls, one is a die hard anti-vaxxer, and some wrong contrarianism as to why liberals are the truly intolerant.

    Maybe not be actual news, but it’s all stuff that isn’t rooted in solid facts. I think holistic medicine, none Western systems of medicine, etc. have their uses, but they aren’t going to cure what the articles claim.

    Maybe an unrepresentative sample size, but it is all I’ve got.

  42. 42
    Elizabelle says:

    @Sebastian: It goes with the narrowcasting of the news, too.

    Choosing your preferred cable station. Newspapers will tailor what you see. (WaPost used to have separate opinion section interfaces for “right leaning” and “left”.)

    Not seeing a broad range of general news, accurately presented. The loss of institutional memory, and of broad interests.

    Rightwing tore down national newscasts, which had become a profit center by then anyway and had become more commercialized than informative.

    NBC is toxic.

  43. 43
    Nicole says:


    That’s the difference. I knew this going into the election. I’ve known it at least since I was a teenager.

    Yeah, I really did hold onto a belief that people are fundamentally good until November of 2016. No more. It’s made for a very rage-filled past 2 years. Although my personal relationships are actually less stressful, as I gave up on trying to reason with several people I knew and instead just eliminated them from my acquaintanceship. Sunk cost fallacy and all that.

  44. 44
    mapaghimagsik says:

    @Sebastian: I don’t quite agree that its the rise of social media. I remember my dad bringing home printouts filled with all sorts of tribal bullshit from work. Faxes. He was a pretty sharp cookie — didn’t buy into the the ‘pure beauty of the greatest generation’ thing even when he was a member. Come to think of it, that seemed to be something used by those not even of that generation just to push even more bullshit.

    Social media just automated propaganda, and judging by the total strangers that want to snuzzle up to me on Linkedin, espionage, as well.

  45. 45


    While in the past we were exposed to a more or less diverse mix of potential opinions and feedback

    That sure does not track to my memory of the pre-internet, when getting a diverse mix of potential opinions and feedback was usually not even an option.

  46. 46

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: My Yoga teacher friend falls in that category.

  47. 47

    @bemused: That’s my recollection. TK and AW speak like they are always trying to suppress giggles, no matter what topic they are discussing.

  48. 48
    Chris says:

    There was a study towards the beginning of the decade that people who watch mostly Fox News are more likely to be misinformed than, not only people who watch “mainstream” news, but also people who mostly don’t watch news at all.

    This seems like another facet of that.

  49. 49
    Sebastian says:


    Yes, more or less really. You would have family members with a different opinion. You could have a coworker or an uncle/aunt to give your “outlier” opinion or worldview the crucial positive feedback. This seems to be completely gone due to self selection.

    But you are probably right, it’s as it always was but the groups are just bigger now.

  50. 50
    Kraux Pas says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    If the Senate passes the House appropriations bills and Trump signs them, Pelosi will promise to attach the $5.7B of wall funding to H.R. 1. and guarantee its passage through the House.

    I was thinking of linking support to a border wall to more legitimate forms of border security, but also passing the DREAM act into law, and streamlining the legal immigration process for all new immigrants.

    But then, why do we need a wall when we have a perfectly good moat?

  51. 51
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @low-tech cyclist: I think Pelosi should do just like Trump – promise him the $5.7B in a separate bill, get the regular CR signed, and then just ignore the fact that she promised him anything.

  52. 52
    gene108 says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    I think the Democrats should fund a special office in the State Department, whose sole job is for Mexico to pay for the wall. Once Mexico fully funds it, construction can commence.

    I think making sure Trump doesn’t break campaign promises is a sign of bi-partisanship.

    Also, a CR keeping the government open for 3-4 weeks isn’t going to solve the greater problem of getting a budget passed. McConnell will never agree to compromise with Democrats on anything, because he’s scared he’ll piss of Trump and the Republican voters, who will die for Trump that he needs for re-election in 2020.

    When was the last time the House and Senate passed budgets and then met to hash out the differences, before going into appropriation? It used to be routine, but I can’t think of anytime that’s happened in the last 8-9 years. Usually it’s a CR or a punt, where they just pass the last budget and appropriations, with maybe a slight COLA adjustment.

    McConnell has done more to break the government, over the last 8 years than Trump has in two and rewarding the McConnell / Trump hostage taking tactics just encourages more of it.

  53. 53
    Chris says:


    Totally true, but Republicans still stand out in that mess by just how universal the fake news is.

    Like, what’s disturbing about modern American conservatism isn’t that it has totally misinformed loonies in its ranks. All political tendencies will have such people at least to some extent. What’s disturbing about modern American conservatism is that is has nothing but such people in its ranks.

  54. 54
    Gex says:

    I do remember an article in the NYT in 2016 that interviewed a guy who made coin distributing fake news. He explicitly said there just wasn’t that much money in fake news for liberals. It got shared, but not as widely and ultimately wasn’t nearly as profitable.

    I can’t find the story currently, but I know I have that link saved somewhere.

    ETA: This may account for the ratios. Both sides fall for it, but to different degrees and when going-viral is a factor, those degrees can make a difference.

  55. 55
    Bess says:

    Some us want a news source that tells us both sides of an issue but only if our side is clearly labeled ‘Good’ and the other side labeled ‘Bad’.

    NPR is not a left wind propaganda site. If that’s what you want look elsewhere. NPR is pretty much middle of the road but left enough to not tolerate racism, homophobia, or misogyny.

    Some people on this site rail against the far left Bernie-types who are intolerant of those not as far to the left as they are. And then turn around and rail against people who are center/left of center but not as “evolved” as they see themselves. The middle left decries their treatment from the far left then dumps on the center left.

  56. 56
    Sebastian says:


    Yes, multiple studies. Also, nursing homes having to block FOX because it disturbs people too much.

    If you really want to read something crazy, check out this report by a cable tech:

    She blinked back the flood of tears she’d been holding since God knows when. She said, “It’s just, when he has Fox, he has Obama to hate. If he doesn’t have that …

  57. 57
    Elizabelle says:

    @Gex: Yeah, I saw that one too. Looking for it now.

  58. 58
    bemused says:


    I’m not really doubting it knowing how callous and inhumane these amoral people are but it’s always appalling and I’m dumbstruck when it happens which is all too often.

  59. 59
    Nicole says:


    That sure does not track to my memory of the pre-internet, when getting a diverse mix of potential opinions and feedback was usually not even an option.

    Yeah, I grew up in an suburb where I didn’t meet anyone who wasn’t Christian until I was 9, and I didn’t have a classmate who was black until I went away to college. I have to give a lot of credit to social media and the web, actually, because it gives me sources that I never would have had access to as a younger person, and a lot of those sources have reshaped my positions on things.

  60. 60
    pk says:

    It’s not surprising since older people grew up in an environment where news on the TV or in newspapers was generally factual,

    I grew up in the same environment, but was able to avoid much of the nonsense. I think it’s due to mental laziness and complete lack of curiosity. They may have grown up in an era where news was generally factual, but if they never became aware (or chose not to become aware) of how drastically the situation changed then it’s on them. How many of the oldsters were posting hateful pictures of Obama or spreading lies about his birth certificate? I’m not buying that they believed this nonsense. At their core such people don’t care about the truth, so they choose not to seek it out.

  61. 61
    Sebastian says:


    Looks like we were self-selecting news and desperate to validate our own views since forever, now it’s just automated and weaponized.

  62. 62


    What’s disturbing about modern American conservatism is that is has nothing but such people in its ranks.

    Facts have a liberal bias. That is key, here. The more you care about racism, the more you have to deny facts. Not just facts about racism. The people (us) who want equality want a lot of other stuff, and for the most part our positions are backed up by facts and science. To make war against brown people, conservatives must make war against us, which means they must make war against the truth. ‘Fuck those n-loving liberals’ is the sentiment that Reagan used to unite evangelicals with plutocrats, for example.

  63. 63
    bemused says:


    I’ve heard a couple of left radio show hosts say the same thing. They could have made a lot more money being a rabid rightwing radio show host and got offers which they refused.

  64. 64
    Elizabelle says:

    Whoa. Look at this. I sometimes send myself full articles, especially from the NY Times, so I see the article as it appeared at the time. Because the Times has a habit of changing stuff after their readers whack at them.

    And this is the title that was on this article when I emailed it to myself on December 8. Article appeared on December 6, 2016.
    In News, What’s Fake and What’s Real Can Depend on What You Want to Believe

    And here is what that very link takes you to now. The NY Times renamed it. As Fake News Spreads Lies, More Readers Shrug at the Truth

    Do those headlines convey the same idea? I would say no. I don’t know how much they changed the text of the article, but will look at that later.

    From the text of the emailed article:

    The larger problem, experts say, is less extreme but more insidious. Fake news, and the proliferation of raw opinion that passes for news, is creating confusion, punching holes in what is true, causing a kind of fun-house effect that leaves the reader doubting everything, including real news.

    That has pushed up the political temperature and increased polarization.

    Mr. Montgomery said he was nostalgic for the news of old, when Walter Cronkite delivered it. But the reputation of the press has been tarnished, he said, and people are left to navigate the fractured landscape on their own.

    Fake and hyperpartisan news from the right has been more conspicuous than from the left, but both sides indulge. BuzzFeed analyses have found more on the right. Some purveyors have said right-leaning items are more profitable.

    But the left has its share. The fact-checking site Snopes said it found no evidence for a quotation, often attributed to Mr. Trump by the left, that Republican voters were stupid.

    [I checked Snopes; the item was a purported quote from People magazine in 1998 that Snopes could find no record of. So yeah, made up fake news by someone on the left, I guess.]

  65. 65
    Chris says:


    I like the little aside about how blue collar customers are the best – they treat you like a person, they actually tip, and they… usually don’t have their TV set to Fox.

    These days I cheer whenever I see an article that points out that the working class isn’t in fact where ground zero for Trump support is, and that most Trump supporters aren’t in that pack.

  66. 66
    Chyron HR says:


    Centrists good! Democrats bad!

    Ladies and gentlemen, the alleged “left”.

  67. 67
    Sebastian says:


    Exactly. This is a global phenomenon. I read an article decades back (in the 80ies methinks) which interviewed street prostitutes in Germany. They too commented that blue collar guys (recognizable by their cars) always tipped whereas the assholes in their Benzes were the worst.

  68. 68

    @Chyron HR:
    Don’t make eye contact, damn it!

  69. 69
    Chris says:


    True. Though almost tautological. Our positions are backed up by science and fact because our position is… that our positions should be based on science and fact. That’s the Enlightenment legacy at work.

  70. 70
    Sebastian says:


    I think it’s been clearly established that Trump’s support is heavy with well off whites.

    He claimed that the middle classes were a hotbed for political reaction due to their reliance on the patriarchal family (according to Reich, small businesses are often self-exploiting enterprises of families headed by the father, whose morality binds the family together in their somewhat precarious economic position) and the sexual repression that underlies it.

    It’s the patriarchy everywhere you look.

  71. 71
    Bess says:

    @Chyron HR:


    All people who hold the position that all people are created equal and entitled to the same rights are good. That extends to the center and perhaps a bit right of center all the way out to a lot of the Bernie bros.

    When we start attacking people who are not as left as we are but share our values we weaken our ability to make progress.

  72. 72

    Their position is that straight white Christian men should be able to decide what everyone else gets. Since we’re the enemies of that position, they’ve had to tell science and fact to fuck off.

  73. 73
    Elizabelle says:

    @Gex: Here’s a link for an NPR (!) story from All Tech Considered segment on All Things Considered. Maybe the NY Times did a similar story. Note that this one’s about someone manufacturing rightwing news although he says he does it to fake them out and eventually debunk it. How helpful.

    NPR, from November 23, 2016: We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here’s What We Learned

    A lot of fake and misleading news stories were shared across social media during the election. One that got a lot of traffic had this headline: “FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide.” The story is completely false, but it was shared on Facebook over half a million times.

    We wondered who was behind that story and why it was written. It appeared on a site that had the look and feel of a local newspaper. Denverguardian.com even had the local weather. But it had only one news story — the fake one.

    [So they hire an expert to track the site owner down.]

    Jestin Coler.

    Online, Coler was listed as the founder and CEO of a company called Disinfomedia. Coler’s LinkedIn profile said he once sold magazine subscriptions, worked as a database administrator and as a freelance writer for among others, International Yachtsman magazine. And, using his name, we found a home address.

    On a warm, sunny afternoon I set out with a producer for a suburb of Los Angeles. Coler lived in a middle-class neighborhood of pastel-colored one-story beach bungalows.

    Coler is a soft-spoken 40-year-old with a wife and two kids. He says he got into fake news around 2013 to highlight the extremism of the white nationalist alt-right.

    “The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could kind of infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly or fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction,” Coler says.

    He was amazed at how quickly fake news could spread and how easily people believe it. He wrote one fake story for NationalReport.net about how customers in Colorado marijuana shops were using food stamps to buy pot.

    Coler says his writers have tried to write fake news for liberals — but they just never take the bait.

    Coler’s company, Disinfomedia, owns many faux news sites — he won’t say how many. But he says his is one of the biggest fake-news businesses out there, which makes him a sort of godfather of the industry.

    …. He says stories like this work because they fit into existing right-wing conspiracy theories.

    “The people wanted to hear this,” he says. “So all it took was to write that story. Everything about it was fictional: the town, the people, the sheriff, the FBI guy. And then … our social media guys kind of go out and do a little dropping it throughout Trump groups and Trump forums and boy it spread like wildfire.”

    And as the stories spread, Coler makes money from the ads on his websites. He wouldn’t give exact figures, but he says stories about other fake-news proprietors making between $10,000 and $30,000 a month apply to him. Coler fits into a pattern of other faux news sites that make good money, especially by targeting Trump supporters.

    However, Coler insists this is not about money. It’s about showing how easily fake news spreads.

    … Coler, a registered Democrat, says he has no regrets about his fake news empire. He doesn’t think fake news swayed the election.

    “There are many factors as to why Trump won that don’t involve fake news,” he says. “As much as I like Hillary, she was a poor candidate. She brought in a lot of baggage.”

    And he lightened it? Fuck him. Coler can go die in a fire, truly. What a nihilist.

    Good reporting, but they couldn’t find a rightwing purveyor (and we only have Coler’s word that he isn’t, which may not be worth much)? NPR outdid itself on the both sides stuff here. Props to them, I guess.

  74. 74
    CliosFanboy says:

    @Elizabelle: Fox’s studio background reminds me a lot of network news setups from the 1960s and 70s. Not an accident.

    I never thought of that. you’re right.

    Walking my dog at night sometime I can see people’s living room TV. (from the sidewalk!!!!) Fox also has a pretty distinctive color scheme.

  75. 75
    catclub says:

    anybody know about the Birmingham Project? Spoofing internet posts to help Jones and hurt Moore in Alabama.

    IT got coverage on NPR – as if what they did ( not made terribly clear) was illegal, without actually saying it. Because if a rightwing 504c3 group did it I am pretty they would say that free speech applies to all monied interests. And in that case they sure would say what it did was legal. If Russians did the same thing that is NOT (necessarily – what do I know) legal.

    Anybody know more.

  76. 76
    Chris says:


    I think in at least some parts of Europe, the far right can make some more legitimate claims of working class support than the GOP can (because not all these movements have spent the last fifty years up the One Percent’s ass).

    But, yeah. Even the original far right, the Nazis, IIRC, did less well among working class voters than among their wealthier counterparts, not more.

  77. 77
    CliosFanboy says:

    @gene108: and some wrong contrarianism

    that’s a big part of the problem. the non-righties I know that fall for this crap are often the natural contrarians who think that rejecting anything “mainstream” makes them smart.

  78. 78
    A Ghost To Most says:

    The only way to win is to not play.

  79. 79
    Chris says:


    The whole post-2016 conversation about class has rested on the assumption that the only two kinds of people out there were college graduates (liberal, out of touch, elite) and economically hurting poor people (conservative, working class, love Trump).

    Left out of this equation are the people who vote Trump in much greater numbers than either college grads or low-income folk – the uneducated (beyond high school at least) but well-off (solidly middle class or above). Or as I think of it, the people who have no education either in the formal sense or in the street/school-of-hard-knocks sense.

  80. 80
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Sebastian: according to Reich, small businesses are often self-exploiting enterprises of families headed by the father, whose morality binds the family together in their somewhat precarious economic position

    and not always so precarious, I would bet. (Hobby horse alert:) “Small business” is one of the most abused terms in our political discourse. People always think of it as the mom’n’pop hardware store (to the extent those even exist anymore) or diner, when politically/legallly it applies just as much to car dealerships, medical and legal partnerships, etc. And since car dealers and orthopedic surgeons tend to have more money than Fred and Ethel’s Hardware, that’s who Republicans are talking about when they say “small business”.

    My father was one of the Silent Generation who did quite well by establishing a business in an exurb that became a leafy suburb, and he’d be the first to tell you that luck and demographics and timing and the government (Trumans college loans to veterans and Eisenhower’s highways) and yes, white flight, played a big role in his success, but the guys he worked and played golf with made it all on their own, by the sweat of their brow and good common sense– none of this fancy book learning for a lot of them. They were captains of industry when they were bragging about their businesses, and struggling small town merchants when it came time to pay confiscatory tax rates. I recently ran into the son of one of my father’s old acquaintances/quasi-frenemy. He’s running the family insurance agency now and oh boy you never met such a born-on-third-base-thinks-he-hit-a-triple not named Bush, Romney or McCain.

  81. 81
    Bess says:

    Gallup has a useful page on which you can look at Trump’s support based on race, gender, income, education, age, region, and church attendance.


  82. 82
    Bess says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The feds define a small business based on number of employees. The number varies from business type to business type with the maximum number ranging from 250 to 1,500.

  83. 83
    joel hanes says:


    I cannot stand NPR

    It used to be better, before Republicans collared it with reduced funding and repeatedly yanked on the political leash — before it had to grovel before the Kroc family for donations to keep going.

    Independence was its value. That’s been gone for decades.

  84. 84
    Sebastian says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Old Phoenician proverb (that’s pre-Roman empire!!):
    “Complaining is the salutation of merchants”

  85. 85
    Elizabelle says:

    McClatchy from February 2018: ‘Junk’ political news shared more widely by Trump backers, study finds

    The whole thing is worth reading; much more nuanced and good examples.

    Backers of President Donald Trump are sharing more “junk” political news – ideologically extreme, conspiratorial, sensationalist and phony information – over Twitter and Facebook than all other groups combined, significantly magnifying the polarization in the American electorate, according to an analysis by British researchers.

    Rather than obtaining news over social media from mainstream outlets, these Americans shared posts from 92 Twitter accounts of fringe groups such as “100PercentFEDUp,” “Beforeitsnews,” “TheAngryAmericans” and “WeArethenewmedia” during the three months before Trump’s first State of the Union address, the Oxford University researchers reported.

    The study, which culled data from hundreds of thousands of social media accounts, found similar patterns among Facebook users.

    Although the “junk” news sites considered in the analysis included those on both the left and right, lead researcher Philip Howard said the findings suggest “that most of the junk news that people share over social media ends up with Trump’s fans, the far right. They’re playing with different facts, and they think they have the inside scoop on conspiracies.”

    As a result, he said in a phone interview, it appears that “a small chunk of the population isn’t able to talk politics or share ideas in a sensible way with the rest of the population.”

    “That’s a problem for democracy,” Howard said. “In an ideal world, everybody would get at least a few of the same news stories, There’d be some shared facts and some shared understanding of the problems” facing the country.

    Read more here: https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article198556159.html#storylink=cpy

  86. 86
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Sebastian: Ha! very cool.

  87. 87
    MrSnrub says:

    @Ohio Mom: That sounds like a terrific class. I wish my son’s HS had it.

  88. 88
    Fair Economist says:

    @Elizabelle: The slick part of media bias, especially on Fox, is that they don’t often lie. They just report selectively. If they start every hour talking about a crime committed by an undocumented Central American watchers will thinks it is part of a crime wave when actually they have a low rate of criminal activity. With 320 million Americans there is a lot to be selective about. They distort opinions by telling selective truths.

    This kind of bias is why most people think we are at high crime rates when the reality is that it is lower than it has been in almost 60 years. The media just talks about it more.

  89. 89
    ET says:

    I am 50 and this was the age cohort that was teaching me in school and I know I got the warning DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ. Why don’t they remember that?

  90. 90
    Elizabelle says:

    @Fair Economist: Yup. What news focuses on. And (sometimes worse) does not cover at all.

  91. 91
    Fair Economist says:

    @low-tech cyclist: Having Pelosi attach wall funding to really good bills likr HR 1 would be honest dealing and great publicity. She could even offer to compromise further by letting the Republicans shave off a few more provision, because it would still be worth it and they would look terrible in the process.

    Remember that the ask for a wall is dishonest. There is not even a plan to build one. Trump is probably just hoping to steal the money

  92. 92
    Fair Economist says:

    @Elizabelle: Yep, what they don’t talk about is worse because then people don’t even think about it never mind believe it. Trump’s off the charts corruption going back decades is a great example. He cheated literally thousands of other business aside from the 100% crooked “charities” and the mafia dealings and what did the media mention? Three articles or so by Farenthold?

  93. 93
    gene108 says:


    Some us want a news source that tells us both sides of an issue but only if our side is clearly labeled ‘Good’ and the other side labeled ‘Bad’.

    Sometimes there aren’t two sides to a story. I think that’s the bigger issue, with regards to liberals frustration with the news media. Climate change is a thing that is happening to us now. This shouldn’t be open to debate, where you have a paid oil industry lobbyist or some dumb former member of Congress, like Rick Santorum on to bullshit the American people about the “controversy” of climate change. .

    NPR is not a left wind propaganda site. If that’s what you want look elsewhere. NPR is pretty much middle of the road but left enough to not tolerate racism, homophobia, or misogyny.

    NPR has some interesting slice-of-life stories and reports on some historical things, but their news reporting is annoying because it is either the horse race type reporting, like we see on cable networks or they try to strike a balance, between opposing view points, wherein one side represents reality and the other is flat out lying, see Climate change “debate”.

    Some people on this site rail against the far left Bernie-types who are intolerant of those not as far to the left as they are. And then turn around and rail against people who are center/left of center but not as “evolved” as they see themselves. The middle left decries their treatment from the far left then dumps on the center left.

    Within any group of like minded individuals, I think there will always be a “we’re right, you’re wrong” contingent, but, I think, the bigger issue with Bernie Bros is they aren’t grounded in reality.

    Medicare-for-All is a good idea, but promising you will have no co-pays, premiums (other than taxes), deductibles, etc. is a bold promise, without any basis in reality.

    Medicare, as it stands, has premiums ($135/month for Medicare Part B, if you earn below a certain amount per year, which increases as income increases), and premiums for other Medicare parts, which increase with age and/or income. How we go from our curtain single-payer system, with premiums and possibly some out-of-pocket costs (Medicare part D doughnut hole), to everything’s free isn’t discussed.

    It’s just (1) Raise Taxes, (2) ????, (3) free healthcare.

    It gets annoying, when they are shouting down more reality* based view points as “Neoliberal corporatist shills”, because they don’t embrace the Bernie view of M4A.

    * Edit: Someone who has sort of taken an outline to Part 2 above, so they sort of have a path to Step 3.

  94. 94
    gene108 says:

    @Fair Economist:

    This kind of bias is why most people think we are at high crime rates when the reality is that it is lower than it has been in almost 60 years. The media just talks about it more.

    Local news is also to blame, with their “if it bleeds, it leads” attitude to reporting, with regards to people’s view of crime rates.

  95. 95
    Chris says:


    The bigger complaint from me, to go back to that theme, isn’t that “sometimes there are no two sides to an issue,” it’s that when arguing with Republicans, there are literally never two sides to an issue.

    Like, global warming’s one example. Here’s another: “is it possible to run an extensive welfare state without destroying the economy or sliding into totalitarianism?” Great debate to have… in 1919. In 2019, when literally every developed country has been doing it for decades, the debate is over. And people who want to keep it running aren’t doing honest dissent, they’re arguing in bad faith because their question has been answered, and they just didn’t like the answer.

    Same thing with whether torture works/is necessary. Same thing with whether consumer protection is needed or businesses will regulate themselves. Same thing with whether strong unions will bankrupt an economy. Same thing with whether easy gun availability is linked to gun violence. It goes on. We’re still debating whether it’s okay to teach evolution. Evolution FFS. I’m hard pressed to think of a single point of liberal-conservative dispute in which the answer hasn’t already been given, mostly decades or even centuries ago.

  96. 96
    Elizabelle says:


    Great debate to have… in 1919.

    I like your comment.

  97. 97
    Bess says:

    @gene108: I have never heard NPR express any doubt about the reality of climate change. They may report that a certain individual or group of individuals do not accept climate change but that’s reporting a fact.

    Perhaps Sanatorium has been on NPR but I’ve never heard him interviewed. Except possibly when he was running for the Republican primary. You might be confusing NPR with one of the cable talking news programs where he’s brought on as the simpleton of the hour.

    Many people on this site are well left of center but not out in BernieLand. But that does not mean that a large number of people who aren’t as left as the crowd here are right wingers. We’re all on some loosely organized/defined continuum that runs from wacko right to wacko left. We need to remember that we need at least 50% of the votes and if we dismiss everyone who isn’t a “pure” as we are then we diminish our ability to move our agenda forward.

  98. 98
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bess: Lookee here, folks! I done found a sea lion.

  99. 99
    BlueGirlFromWyo says:

    @Sebastian: Wow. I will tip my cable guy from now on. That was nuts.

  100. 100
    PJ says:

    @Bess: @gene108: NPR has, in my adult lifetime, always been about reassuring college-educated white people that their lifestyle choices and opinions are a-ok, no matter how narrow and unexamined they may be. (Which means that tax-cutting, defense-profligate conservatives are “adults”, and liberals concerned about environmental and social justice and human rights are childish fantasists.) What annoys me most about NPR is the tone, where they are the smug, enlightened, better-informed-than-you voice of reason, and to want to consider another perspective or voice is beyond the pale.

  101. 101
    StringOnAStick says:

    What annoys me about NPR is when I listen (early morning drives to work 2x/week) it seems like Jonah Fucking Goldberg is their idea of a centrist so he’s on a lot, sharing his moronic hot takes. I hear NPR and usually realize that I know more about the breadth of the topic, say of example the Wall. Never once have I heard it mentioned that there is already a lot of Wall, and what’s left un-Walled is something called the Rio Grande, a river that floods, massively. Rather difficult to Wall that, but that isn’t mentioned. No context on tRump’s numbers about illegal immigration, no fact checking, no pushback. I get my information from what people post or link to here, so that information is out there; they are just too cowardly to air it.

  102. 102
    Gex says:

    @Bess: Yeah. It’s really fun when the “balance” to gay rights is fucking Tony Perkins and Values Voter Summit assholes, which NPR does all the fucking time.

  103. 103
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:


    Some us want a news source that tells us both sides of an issue but only if our side is clearly labeled ‘Good’ and the other side labeled ‘Bad’.

    The problem is the whole “Neo-Platonic observer, only seeing the truth” that the MSM pretends to be is a dirty lie. Human events are complex with many points of view, this is why there are so many history books out there. Ideally one should have a liberal news source and a conservative one, except these days one has to fight hard or one ends with a Infotament news source, peddling only the finest in sensationalism or a something batshit nuts like Inforwars.

  104. 104
    mapaghimagsik says:

    @joel hanes: I don’t weep for the dead

  105. 105
    Panurge says:


    Come to think of it, that seemed to be something used by those not even of that generation…

    Specifically Tom Brokaw, who should have subtitled his book Not Those Silly Hippie Boomers.

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