Home / #Solutions / Dear America, the ‘Fake News’ List Will Slaughter Freedom of Press — and It’s Everyone’s Fault 

Dear America, the ‘Fake News’ List Will Slaughter Freedom of Press — and It’s Everyone’s Fault 

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How a mid-level, associate professor of communications at a college ranking 57th in Regional Universities North by US News trusted collegiate evaluation system appointed herself Queen Gatekeeper of Media Outlets remains a curious open question. However, Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College nevertheless attempted to do exactly that this week — much to the delight of Hillary Clinton-loyalist corporate media presstitutes around the nation.

Zimdars’ vapid list of, in essence, media outlets to avoid because she said so lacked explanation, justification, reasoning, research, ratiocination, rationale, rectitude, and generally proved she has an agenda that involves insulting the public while pushing an establishment agenda.

In short, a self-appointed false vanguard of journalistic integrity utterly failed a simple task in her class lesson on journalistic integrity — Zimdars let journalistic integrity be damned.

Awkwardly titled “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical ‘News’ Sources,” this previously-unknown associate professor’s list only slightly differentiated between an infinitely intricate web of news outlets to teach her “Introduction to Mass Communications” students a lesson about sources.

Naturally, tasked with a Herculean research endeavor to present a credible, trustworthy list, Zimdars did what any esteemed educator attempting due diligence would in such a situation — she asked Facebook. Duh.

“So … I posted it to Facebook to my friends, you know, ‘Hey, media and communication people, if you think of other examples you come across,’” she told USA Today College, “and so many of them sent me Facebook messages or comments and emails and I looked through them or through some of the people sent me blogs or other sources.”

Amassing said list apparently didn’t take long, and the young, unapologetically neoliberal associate prof then spent months carefully delving into the bowels of each website to parse out precisely the level of integrity each deserved in order to provide her students and friends in the establishment communications realm with a tool worthy of publication.

Just kidding — she did none of that.

Zimdars instead proceeded to list the outlets she and her friends feel should be degrees of verboten because they said so and stuck this non-information in a public Google doc.

Unsurprisingly, given the call for unreliable sources bounced around Zimdars’ echo chamber, the feckless list — although it indeed includes a few notorious false information generators — serves as an appalling condemnation of reputable alternative media sites, admittedly-biased right-leaning organizations, and Bernie Sanders-supporting left-leaning outlets.

Funny how that works.

In a tragic turn of events, however, corporate media outlets (somehow not deemed Scarlet Letter-worthy by this establishment liberal echo chamber) not only gleefully re-published the Zimdars list, but also failed — yet again — to perform due diligence in assessing its veracity. Even worse, corporate media amplified this buffoonery by zeroing solely on the word “False” from the title, employing the exact “Clickbait-y” tactic Zimdars ostensibly takes issue with.

“Fed up with fake news, Facebook users are solving the problem with a simple list,” Business Insider proudly and erroneously declared, for example.

Backlash against this reckless fiasco has taken the Internet by storm, and, as of Friday morning — perhaps bowing to the fallout of justifiably snide criticism, or, more likely, to the cascade of equally justifiable orders to cease and desist — Zimdars yanked the actual list from the Google doc, leaving in place only “Tips for analyzing news sources.”

Rest assured, however, as the now-Internet notorious Zimdars promises The List will return soon, stating in a grammatically-bungled update:

“Some of contents of this educational resource/google document have been removed in order for it to be transferred to and expanded on in a more permanent, dynamic, and collaborative home.  This page will reflect updates as they become available.”

That sloppily cobbled together statement, alone, should redden the cheeks of the major corporate media so-called news outlets who re-published Zimdars’ list, if not alert her employer to the need for a grammar refresher course.

But enough of soft-target practice, because the entire mess allegedly spawning the need for such a list in the first place — whether it would have come from an obscure associate professor, a corporate media presstitute, or a well-intentioned alternative media journalist — boils down to one truth. And that truth presents a commentary on all of us, the societal Western whole, at least as embarrassing as The List, itself.

In fact, Zimdars could only have failed categorizing news sources — no matter how cursory or exhaustive the effort — because very few people read the articles anymore.

All of us are guilty of headline-sharing. Some are guilty of skimming or perusing only the first paragraph or two. And the vast majority of people not in the journalism and media industry — actually, many of them, as well — don’t follow links to peruse original sources and fail to search for multiple reports on the same topic. And rarely call into question vague, anonymous sources cited by previous scions of journalism, like the New York Times.

“Clickbait-y” headlines — of both the unintentionally misleading and intentionally deceptive varieties — are a result of this. A plethora of literal, actual fake news sites are a result of this. Satirical commentary re-reported as cement truth are a result of this. Government propaganda cited as expertise is a result of this.

And this embarrassing bankruptcy of intellect amounts to a criminal obscenity, and the backlash — against reputable alternative media organizations, admitted partisan outlets, and, generally, dissenting opinion — imperils us all to fascistic gatekeeping of information.

Because, in case you haven’t yet heard, President Obama declared “fake news” — the problem that never was — a grave threat to democracy.

Now we have a war on dissenting opinion with censorship and suppression hot on its heels, and an elected leader of the so-called free world touting the most undemocratic tactic in existence, censorship of the press — by essentially saying a free press threatens democracy.

Don’t be fooled by such totalitarian rhetoric — the only threat to democracy, to the leftover remnants of liberty we can still clutch, is a government attempting to control the boundaries of allowable thought.

Consider these points next time you jump to share anything without reading the information within — such an act, now, is a potential nail in the coffin of a free press.

  • Soltanto

    Defend your first amendement people! First they will take your free speech, then your guns and then you won’t have a say whether you want to go to the camp or not!
    http://independenttrader.org/how-bankers-created-national-socialism-nazism-a-history-lesson.html

    Still, seeing the level of attacks on the non-MSM that have done a great job I must say the left and MSM are running out of bullets.

    This ridiculous claim won’t stop anyone from checking those websites and it is backfiring even now! Good job wannabe central planners!

    • billdeserthills

      Actually as much as obama hates guns, he has been unable to pass any significant legislation banning guns–Moreover obama is such a stupid jerk, he has become the poster boy for Gun Salesman of the Decade, due to his irrational manner of saying first one thing and then changing his mind and saying the opposite thing. Wouldn’t it be easier to simply ask george soros Before making a statement instead of looking like the biggest liar who ever lied??

    • Bren Niel

      They’ve already taken a great deal of our speech and limited our access greatly to legal gun ownership.

      In most parts of corporate America there are large swath of the vernacular that are off limits if you want to stay employed, and in higher education – forget it, they actually have lists of our right banned words.

      Try getting a gun in CA, NY, or any liberal state.

  • There is a lot of bad information out there, a lot of it used as a tool for propagandists. This is true of both the left and the right. However, the individual should be the one responsible for disseminating it, not the MSM, the government, some wealthy families or just some guy in a tie. Tools such as Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit should be promoted to teach people a means of critical thinking (free thinking).

    https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/03/baloney-detection-kit-carl-sagan/

  • Big Horn Staredown

    If there was an independent, non-bias committee (has there ever been such a thing?) that examines “Fake News,” I wouldn’t mind it as much. However, if Melissa Zimdars is running this, then obviously its another attempt by liberals to censor any stories that don’t fit their narratives and agendas.

    On one more note, MSM are the masters of fake news.

    • IceTrey

      Yeah, was ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC on the list because all of their news about Clinton leading in the polls and winning in a landslide was completely fake. Ironically the idea she was so far ahead might have made some who would vote for her stay home.

      • hilda.conerly

        One yr have passed since I decided to abandon my last job and it changed my life… I started freelancing on-line, over a site I found over internet, for a few hrs every day, and I profit now much more than i did on my old work… Last payment i got was for 9k dollars… Great thing about this is that now i have more free time for my kids… http://secure54.com

      • Bren Niel

        Or it may have made her opponents just give up, we’ll never know much about that except for one thing… the media was aggressively lying to the people in order to preserve the establishment status quo.

  • Jason Bradley

    I’d never publicly call for someone’s execution by a random untraceable assailant but if I were to do so, we have a prime candidate for such a thing.

  • BoBo Jones

    all this PC rhetoric is a part of taking away the first amendment. Being white is being a racist now, we are inundated with white guilt, white privilage bs. The lying corporate media pushes racism and division, always making whitey the bad guy while ignoring most of the black on white crime. Every other day i see Illegal Mexicans raping, robbing and hit and runs. But no Trump is racist for saying the obvious. Fuck pc rhetoric. illegal is illegal. I love legal immigrants.

  • JdL

    “Some of contents of this educational resource/google document have been removed in order for it to be transferred to and expanded on in a more permanent, dynamic, and collaborative home. This page will reflect updates as they become available.”

    The sentence is awkward but not ungrammatical. You could say

    “… for it to be expanded on in a new home”

    or

    “… for it to be transferred to a new home”

    then combine those

    “… for it to be transferred to and expanded on in a new home”

    then add some adjectives.

    I’m not trying to stick up for Ms. Zimdars, but let’s not flip out in criticizing her.

  • Blecchh.

    You brought this backlash on yourselves by making your bed with conspiracy-mongers and the lunatic fringe. You all made the mistake of thinking that all uncharitable interpretations that punch upward are true.

    We need a credible alternative press that can fight against lies and spin more than ever, and outlets like yours have done extensive damage to the cause. Cry me a river.

  • Darren Mitton

    Claire, you’re one to talk – I have stopped from sharing several pieces of yours’ BECAUSE the emotion overrode the logic & they simply were NOT true.

  • Vastmandana

    Anyone quoting Breitbart, the daily caller, and all the zillion right wing fake news factories… like YOU guys…compound the propaganda machine… You are really sad. Just as bad as the MSM… no, WORSE… because you quote right wing garbage under the banner of “truth”