Political prejudice is not a new phenomenon in media, whether in the United States or elsewhere. However, listen to NPR’s coverage of conservative outlet The Daily Wire and commentator Ben Shapiro. It’s a study conducted on people’s willingness to label anything they don’t identify with as disinformation, regardless of whether it’s true.
It’s Only Bad to be Popular if You are Conservative
The hit article opens by comparing The Daily Wire to even more mass media publications like The New York Times, as well as the Washington Post, in terms of Facebook participation. This is a good counter-argument for individuals who believe that left-wing big technology companies have wiped out the Republican online presence.
Miles Parks’ assessment, though, isn’t about that. His argument is that The Daily Wire’s popularity on Facebook is a terrible thing, as its outlet’s economic model is outrageous.
According to NPR, Facebook should presumably suppress us because we are overtly conservative. Not because of "misinformation." Because we are conservative. We make no bones about this. pic.twitter.com/gjJu3eqifQ
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 19, 2021
Long story short, numerous news organizations do so. It isn’t even a new phenomenon in the era of social media. We used to have gossip sections before indignation clicks, but if it’s bleeding, it headlines.
The Daily Wire, on the other hand, is unique. The website is presenting articles in that way to signal conservative beliefs because of its political inclinations. The Daily Wire is not accused of spreading incorrect information by NPR.
The specialist Parks interviewed, on the other hand, Jaime Settle, head of the College of William & Mary’s Social Networks & Political Psychology Lab, views the relatively typical political framing of current events as a major issue:
They don’t usually provide enough background for the data they supply, according to Settle. Any element of truth could become a piece of falsehood if the context is removed far enough.
NPR comes for Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire in the name of combating ‘misinformation’ (and Shapiro has thoughts) https://t.co/jetVOxayj6
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) July 19, 2021
The Key Data Leading the Study is Actually Wrong
This anecdote is a good example of the problem, though it’s not the one Parks is going for. The entire essay is based on Facebook interaction statistics, which is only one of many ways to gauge the effect of the news.
Ironically, this doesn’t even show if the article was received. It’s a metric for who liked, shared, and replied on a Facebook post; it’s not who clicked a hyperlink. The fact that a Daily Wire item receives more Facebook engagement than a New York Times report doesn’t really imply that the Daily Wire article is read by more individuals.
Former Rolling Stone Writer Highlights NPR's Hilarious Self-Own In Trying to Dunk on Ben Shapiro https://t.co/n6NBzaQZnJ
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) July 20, 2021
The news comes as the White House calls on social media platforms to work together to blacklist individuals that the government considers to be spreaders of vaccine misinformation.
They have already seen the results of that strategy. The current administration does not have the final say on whether COVID-19 allegations are true. At the request of the government, companies already have classified and censored speculations that the virus may have spilled from a Chinese lab.
It wasn’t, however, “misleading information.” It was a hypothesis that proved to be correct.