The American playwright, Mark Twain famously said a lie can travel half way around the world before the truth can get its boots on.
That statement is relevant for two reasons, firstly, because it’s never been truer than in the digital age; and secondly, because Mark Twain never said it – it’s just been attributed to him so often that people now believe it to be true.
Today, social media has become a firmly established news source for many of us, despite being rife with speculation and misinformation that all too often finds its way into mainstream news coverage.
That happens – for the most part – because news organisations want the traffic, if a story is getting play on social media and you report on it then your ratings are likely to increase.
But a recent study conducted by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism claims that the way journalists are reporting these stories deliberately misleads news consumers and all too often misinformation is spread but rarely do news organisations go back and correct it.
The Listening Post’s Nic Muirhead reports on the effects of ‘journalistically endorsed rumours’ are having on our understanding of big news stories.