BRIDGING DIVIDES Many Americans, especially on the left, are trying to wean themselves off fake news and social-media feeds designed to show them what they want to see.
By Harry Bruinius, Staff writer NOVEMBER 19, 2016
NEW YORK — Like many of those who voted for Hillary Clinton, Steve Hudson was pretty stunned to watch as Donald Trump swept through the supposed “firewall” states presumed to align with the Democratic nominee, going on to win the United States presidency.
Feeling blindsided, he questioned what may have been the myopic perspectives of his “news bubble.” He concluded that he needed a wider range of reliable reporting to get a more accurate understanding of what was happening in the country.
“My trust in my news sources has been shaken,” says Mr. Hudson, a Chicago resident and self-employed advertising planner, who says he’s mostly relied on The New York Times in the past – a source that shares his center-left perspective. “I’m reacting to the the overall confidence my news sources expressed in Hillary’s potential for winning, all the talk about the death of the Republican Party, the focus on Trump’s many inflammatory statements and personal failings.”…
“Will Simpson, a marketing strategist in Los Angeles, who relies on sources such as The New York Times, Quartz, and CNN, said he was shocked by how wrong so many “legitimate publishers” got the election. “It demonstrated to me that those of us that consider ourselves ‘informed’ and ‘educated’ are susceptible to the same vicious echo chamber cycles that we accuse so many people across party and socioeconomic lines of being ‘dumb’ enough to fall victim to.”
Building ‘webs of trust’
“What I’ve seen is a lot of people compiling lists of fake news sources, and actively asking their friends on social media not to share news from those sources,” Professor Sinnreich says, noting that some developers have created software to identify fake news sites.
“What little solace and tactical benefit there is to be found is in building webs of trust,” he adds, “communities of shared trust where there’s a tacit agreement only to share verifiable information.”
For Simpson, staying informed “requires a certain voluntary exercise.” And now he’s more than willing to pay for a wider range of sources, and he’s looking to organizations like Al Jazeera, the BBC, and even The Drudge Report to stay informed on a range of opinions.