Ready, Fire, Aim! Fake News, Media Bias, and the Importance of Public Perception Online
Beyond Conservative or Liberal: The Universal Media BiasIn this post, Reputation Sciences™ looks at real-life scenarios and the business consequences of fake news and media bias. Businesses today must understand the importance of public perception online. And they need to prepare for the new digital battlefield of corporate reputation warfare. We’ll highlight the importance of vigilance, preparation, and strategic planning to deal with public attacks. This is what all accountable CMOs, CEOs, and SME owners need for effective online corporate reputation management.
This pearl of wisdom, questionably attributed to Mark Twain, Jonathan Swift, Thomas Jefferson, or Winston Churchill depending upon who you ask, is no longer applicable in the digital age of the 21st Century. In the age of hyperspeed communication, a lie can race around the world in seconds if it’s sensational enough. And therein lies the true universal root of media bias. It truly is a case of Ready, Fire, Aim. Fake news can make news and the share and retweet buttons don’t care about the facts. Any viral story, comment, or image can catch the attention of media, mainstream or otherwise and outpace the usual fact-checking. “Reliable sources” are artifacts of the print era. Today reporters tell the story as it develops often times without knowling let alone having time to check the facts. Anyone with a smartphone and an attitude is a potential source for a negative media blitz. When bold headline blunders are brought to light any feeble retractions issued after the fact are equivalent to chasing a speeding bullet with a butterfly net. And the need to retract a false report is hardly a deterrent for those who measure success by the number of landing page hits. Retractions rarely go viral. Any indiscriminate rant or even a casual comment perceived as politically incorrect can become fodder for the media cannons, and we’ve already discussed the haphazard way they go off.
“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”