Our local newspaper, for a time, went to a profit model where readers were asked to answer a survey question before they were allowed to read beyond the first sentence or so of each news article on the paper’s website. This is a screenshot of one of the survey questions I was served last September:
OK, Let’s discuss!
The part where you serve me consciously biased news, which is, after all, news that’s meant to sway me to a particular viewpoint, or to keep me holding onto a view someone wants me to have, because that view benefits them? See, here’s the thing: that’s supposed to be YOUR SECRET. We can quibble about unrecognized institutional biases in the media, but aren’t there a couple of existing words for purposefully biased news — propaganda? disinformation?
At any rate, I don’t think I’m supposed to know you’re contemplating doling out skewed information, because I’m supposed to trust you, because one of the tenets of journalism is that news is supposed to be unbiased. Aaah! I’m done mocking! I admit it — your question scares and confuses me!
At any rate, if it’s going to be that kind of party, don’t bother me with silly survey questions in hopes I’ll help you figure out your next moves. If you want to infect folks with your flavor of reality via online news media, just take a look at Russia’s playbook; what they get up to is beyond your wildest dreams.
Notice anything familiar? Worried yet? Me, too.