Tag Archives: First Draft

Award-Winning Journalist Tackles Root of 2016’s “Fake News” Dilemma

Las Vegas, NV— A recent Tedx talk given by Emmy-winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson at the University of Nevada examined the “fake news” narrative that took the U.S. by storm during and following the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

While Attkisson acknowledged that fake news has long existed in various forms, she said that noticed something different taking root within U.S. mainstream media in 2016. Suspecting that the origins of this growing “fake news” narrative were less than organic, Attkisson began researching and said that she connected the origins of this phenomena to a non-profit organization called “First Draft,” which, she notes, “appears to be the about the first to use ‘fake news’ in its modern context.”

“On September 13, 2016, First Draft announced a partnership to tackle malicious hoaxes and fake news reports,” Attkisson said. “The goal was supposedly to separate wheat from chaff, to prevent unproven conspiracy talk from figuring prominently in internet searches. To relegate today’s version of the alien baby story to a special internet oblivion.”

First Draft was assembled back in June 2015, according to a report from Fortune. The coalition included Facebook, Twitter and 30 other news and tech companies.

Just a month later, then-President Barack Obama proclaimed “fake news” to be a threat.

“He insisted in a speech that he too thought somebody needed to step in and curate information of this wild, wild West media environment,” she said, pointing out that “nobody in the public had been clamoring for any such thing.”

Attkisson noted how quickly the topic of “fake news” came to dominate US mainstream media as if corporate media had received “marching orders.”

“Fake news, they insisted, was an imminent threat to American democracy,” Attkisson said, noting that “few themes arise in our environment organically.”

“What if the whole anti-fake news campaign was an effort on somebody’s part to keep us from seeing or believing certain websites and stories by controversializing them or labeling them as fake news?” Attkisson questioned.

Upon investigation, Attkisson discovered that one of the major financial backers of First Draft’s anti-fake news coalition was none other than Google, whose parent company, Alphabet, was chaired by major Clinton supporter Eric Schmidt until Dec. 2017. Schmidt “offered himself up as a campaign adviser and became a top multi-million donor to it. His company funded First Draft around the start of the election cycle,” Attkisson said. “Not surprisingly, Hillary was soon to jump aboard the anti-fake news train and her surrogate, David Brock of Media Matters, privately told donors he was the one who convinced Facebook to join the effort.”

Attkisson noted that “the whole thing smacked of the roll-out of a propaganda campaign.” The award-winning journalist then explained that Trump accomplished a “hostile takeover” of the term. “Something happened that nobody expected. The anti-fake news campaign backfired. Each time advocates cried fake news, Donald Trump called them ‘fake news’ until he’d co-opted the term so completely that even those who [were] originally promoting it started running from it, including the Washington Post.”

Attkisson advised that “powerful interests might be trying to manipulate” perceptions of society. “When interests are working this hard to shape your opinion, their true goal might just be to add another layer between you and the truth,” Attkisson said.

h/t PJ Media