Did they say “Improve” with a straight face?

I couldn’t help a cynical smile at this report.

Facebook, Twitter and news organizations including Agence France-Presse have joined a coalition of media and technology groups seeking to filter out online misinformation and improve news quality on social networks.

First Draft News, which is backed by Google, announced Tuesday that some 20 news organizations will be part of its partner network to share information on best practices for journalism in the online age.

Jenni Sargent, managing director of First Draft, said the partner network will help advance the organization’s goal of improving news online and on social networks.

. . .

Sargent said the coalition will develop training programs and “a collaborative verification platform,” as well as a voluntary code of practice for online news.

“We live in a time when trust and truth are issues that all newsrooms, and increasingly the social platforms themselves, are facing,” she said.

“Each partner is committed to sharing knowledge, developing policies and devising training in how journalists use the social web to find and report news.”

The announcement comes amid concerns over the growing role of social networks, especially Facebook, in delivering and filtering news, and sometimes allowing hoaxes and misinformation to proliferate.

The partner network includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, The New York Times, Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, CNN, ABC News of Australia, ProPublica, AFP, The Telegraph, France Info, Breaking News, Le Monde’s Les Decodeurs, International Business Times UK, Eurovision News Exchange and Al Jazeera Media Network.

There’s more at the link.

So they want to “filter out online misinformation and improve news quality”, do they?  Let’s see, now . . .

I could go on, but why bother?  A quick Internet search along the lines of “biased coverage by {name of outlet}” will get you plenty more information about every single news organization mentioned in the report.

So, if a bunch of already-biased news organizations get together to form a coalition to (purportedly) eliminate bias, just how credible is that coalition?  Just how seriously should we take its pronouncements?

I know what my answer is to those questions . . .



  1. Silver lining: at least they're self-identifying and making their list of partners mostly public. Saves time and effort.

  2. Depends entirely on what they determine to be "online misinformation".
    In other words: Their efforts are purely subjective in nature.

  3. It depends on what the meaning of the word 'improve' is.


    I've got to admit, that line of Bill's is amazingly useful some days.

  4. The ruling elite are scared. They're more scared than they've been in a long time perhaps ever. The first real resistance to them is beginning to take shape from Europe to the US to Russia of all places. They have to kill the nascent opposition in the cradle and they'll use whatever means necessary to do it.

  5. " to share information on best practices for journalism in the online age" is what caught my attention there. Really, best practices are significantly different in the online age than the were when the Gutenberg press was invented? The medium may have changed but the core is still the same and we should all know by now that bias in journalism will always exist.

    The key in the "online age" is figuring out which ones are biased in which direction on any given day. As someone else mentioned, at least they're telling who their compatriots in their idiocy are, makes it a little easier.

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