Fake News!

Dartmouth Government Professor Brendan Nyhan recently collaborated on a study regarding viewership of “Fake News.” Fake news is a buzzword popularized by President Donald Trump and was a source of controversy pertaining to influence on the 2016 presidential election. Nyhan and his associates studied just over 2,500 people, tracking their intake of current events. The study found that 1 in 4 people view fake news. Out of this figure, most tended to be on the political right and had supported Donald Trump during the 2016 election cycle. In fact, they found that the 10% of Americans who viewed the most conservative media platforms read about 60% of total fake news. Nyhan’s study also found that even though these people viewed fake news, they were also avid viewers of more reliable news sources, contrary to the common belief that fake news has been knocking real news out of the picture. Nyhan’s study also found that Facebook was by far the most common platform for fake news, a startling observation considering the expansive reach of social media. The study further concluded that people who are on the political left or right tended to view fake news stories that agreed with their viewpoint, which, one would think, makes them more likely to believe it.

While more research is needed on the impact of fake news, Professor Nyhan’s study does confirm its prevalence. Thanks to Nyhan’s work, we know fake news is here. Now, social media platforms including Facebook must stop it without letting biases censor legitimate opinion pieces.

  • Maria

    I think people can be allowed to decide if this fake news is as fake as people think it. If lies and hypocrisy were to be abolished, what would CNN do all day? Who says what constitutes fake news? People can decide what they want to believe.In fact, what methodology does this Nyhasn use, and why should I believe him? Because he has a degree?