'Fake news' didn't become a problem until Nov. 11
President Barack Obama used his final press conference as president to slam partisan news sites as “domestic propagandists” that allowed fake news to flourish and bring about Hillary Clinton’s shocking election loss to Donald Trump.
“If fake news that’s being released by some foreign government is almost identical to reports that are being issued through partisan news venues, then it’s not surprising that that foreign propaganda will have a greater effect,” he said echoing his warning in the closing days of the campaign that the internet had become a “dust cloud of nonsense.” The press conference came a day after Facebook announced it would team with fact checking sites to police its news feeds.
Several journalists and media thinkers picked up on the trend of fake news in the month leading up to the election. Laura Davis of the Annenberg Media Center told a University of Southern California panel on Oct. 11 that a “filter bubble” was responsible for the proliferation of fake news.
Media organizations published about 200 individual stories, analyses, and op-eds mentioning “fake news” and the campaign between Oct. 1 and Election Day, according to a Washington Free Beacon review of Lexis Nexis data. Many of those stories homed in on how the bubble mindset encouraged by ideological herd thinking led Trump supporters to fall for convenient narratives.
In the month following Donald Trump’s victory news organizations published 3,600 pieces about the “scourge” and “plague” of fake news and the role it played in tilting the scales against Hillary Clinton.