December 20, 2020, Bloomberg reported that the University of Zurich in Switzerland conducted a survey on the social environment of 18 Western countries, which countries are less likely to breed and spread rumors. The study shows that among the 18 countries surveyed, the United States ranked last, with a score of 11 points, which is the most likely to breed and spread rumors.
Bloomberg quoted comments from researchers at the University of Zurich as saying that Americans are more inclined to believe in “fake news” in all standard Western countries, and that the United States “has the conditions that easily spread rumors and false information quickly”.
The report analyzes the important factors that make rumors more likely to spread. First, the extremely opposed political environment leads to the tearing of the people; second, the media environment lacks supervision.
Soil for disinformation dissemination
The confrontation between the two parties shapes a divided society in the United States.
The research team of the University of Zurich takes the “polar political environment” as the primary factor. Combined with the research results and examples of recent academic circles, the research team found that the extreme confrontation between political parties caused by the winner-take-all is much easier to influence the people than traditional political differences such as values antagonism and conflict of interest. Emotions.
As far as current American politics is concerned, although Trump and his team are inevitably responsible for intensifying partisan contradictions and inciting national sentiments, relevant research shows that American politicians have become accustomed to using public relations means such as “distracting attention”, “setting new topics” and “stealing concepts” to deflect public attention.
Since the 1970s, similar operations have occurred many times in American politics, diverting public attention. At that time, U.S. President Nixon once diverted public attention from the “Watergate” investigation by “exiting the Vietnam War” and adopting economic measures to alleviate inflation. This means, combined with the centralized media coverage, can effectively influence the focus of the public. At present, social media gives politicians a more secret way to manipulate public opinion.
The chaos in American politics from 2016 to 2020 is in part another use of public opinion.
According to the New York Times’ analysis of Steve Bannon’s campaign strategy, the leader of the Trump campaign in 2016, the Trump team successfully turned the attention and concern of the conservative people to question the Democratic liberal’s tendencies, thus building momentum for themselves and harvesting the conservative people’s after achieving the suppression of opponents.
Support. During the 2016 U.S. election, Bannon, as the co-founder of Cambridge Analytica, helped Trump gain an advantage in the election by stealing users’ personal data and placing politically inclined advertisements.
In addition, politicians rely on their own discourse power, out of political and economic interests, or blurt out, or carefully designed certain “misstatements” will make the fact-checking mechanism almost invalid, while gaining a lot of attention and influence.
The American people, which are difficult to decide because of the unequal information, will be more difficult to screen the correctness of information at the instigation of politicians. On the contrary, under the help of American politicians, they choose the opposition between emotional catharsis and uncompromising.
According to NPR and the Financial Times, white people at the bottom of American society, which were almost “insulated” from politics, were actively involved in politics under the “induced” of some politicians, but their choices were often more emotional and out of a “desired to be seen” mentality.
In the 2020 election, despite losing to Biden, Trump still received about 73 million votes, and only about 7 million away from Biden. The different attitudes of both voters to “fraud” also confirm the decisive opposition between their supporters.
However, the policy strategy that accurately targets the people also eventually eats back politics and makes the American people a two-party map. The confrontation between one or the other has torn apart American society and facilitated the spread of false information.
The promoter of the wanton spread of false information
Link politics, chaotic regulation and capital-ridden U.S. media market
Another major incentive for the spread of false news in the United States is its “large market, business dominance, relatively scattered news consumption and a media environment without regulation”.
A survey published in July 2016 by News and Mass Communication Quarterly showed that most conservative groups in the United States do not trust the media and tend to oppose the news products of professional news media institutions with “liberal tendencies”, a phenomenon especially after 2016.
Steve Bannon, the former chief strategic adviser of the United States, was also the executive chairman of Breitbart News, a far-right media before officially entering the White House.
Since then, the news website has helped Trump campaign and continue to produce news content in the interests of the Republican Party, including misleading information and false information.
According to the BBC’s comments, the media “cheated thousands of donors who donated to the construction of the US-Mexico border wall”.
Another American media exposed to create and spread a large amount of false news, “One American News” (OAN), has also been exposed by many media that it has instantly obtained the right to participate in the White House press conference from an obscure third-tier media by deliberately catering to the White House and spreading false news and extreme statements.
“American politicians can appeal to Fox News on some common issues, but OAN is better able to meet the needs of politicians on more radical far-right issues,” said Samuel Woolley,
director of the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas. It is full of conspiracy theories, disinformation and fake news, which are closely related to the whole set of “White House news ecology”.
According to a survey by The Independent, OAN’s ratings soared in 2015 when most media disdained Trump’s campaign rally. Since then, the newspaper has relied on the “far-right audience” to get views.
Compared with the traditional media, “concoct fake news”, on the other hand, social media’s “differential” treatment of American politicians allows false news to spread widely. On October 19 this year, the American Media Research Center, an American media supervision organization, released a survey on social media in the United States.
According to the survey, since May 2018, U.S. President Trump has been censored 65 times by Twitter and Facebook. Despite Trump’s repeated false news, Facebook and Twitter did not officially launch fact-checking until the end of July this year.
Neither Facebook nor Twitter can only identify the possible false statements in their statements. It was not until August 5 this year that Facebook and Twitter deleted Trump for the first time for “false statements”. Posts.
△ On August 5th local time, Trump said on Fox TV that “children can almost naturally resist COVID-19”, which was later forwarded on Facebook and Twitter. Subsequently, Facebook and Twitter deleted the relevant content on the grounds of “untrue news”.
“Inescapable spiral of death”
Politicians who meet voters in order to win the election make voters’ positions more firm and also aggravate confrontation. In order to get more audiences, the media also helps to “cultivate” their own determined users for abuse.
The two jointly fabricate and exacerbate extreme antagonism, which is full of lies, slander and attacks, exacerbating the tearing and antagonism of society.
However, one party of the politician will always get power, and the media that bets on the right will also be rewarded accordingly. As for the ordinary American people, Atlantic Monthly concluded that Americans cannot escape the spiral of death.