MSNBC’s Chuck Todd made a seriously tone-deaf remark on Friday in a discussion about fake news.
“As it turns out, it may not be the substance of their argument, but rather the repetition of it that matters. A recent study found that when people are exposed to the same false information multiple times, they become numb to it. So even if they know the information is false, it just doesn’t sort of register that way anymore. The more we see fake news, the less fake it becomes. Disinformation is a danger to democracy.”
Does it mean if I repeat that Chuck Todd has no self-awareness and says colossally stupid things all the time that he would ultimately become numb and start to believe it?
Or does he exclude himself from “people”? If so, then it’s a rather condescending way for a journalist to regard his viewers.
Let’s assume Todd’s statement is true. Most Americans hear the news from the major networks – NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, or MSNBC, or the most widely read newspapers, such as the New York Times or the Washington Post. These media outlets provide their audiences with the news the powers that be decide they will hear.
A large portion of the news produced by the mainstream media is fake news. I agree with Chuck that their viewers are regularly exposed to the same false information multiple times, and they’ve become numb to it. But I disagree with the next part of his statement, that “even if they know the information is false, it just doesn’t sort of register that way anymore.” I would argue that the consumers of their information trust what they hear and believe it to be mostly true, otherwise why would they tune in?
After hearing Chuck’s words of wisdom to his viewers, I looked around at some of the headlines on the MSNBC website. Here are some of the highlights:
“Psychiatrist: Trump’s projection on Chairman Schiff is ‘primitive'”: Elitest and ignorant. Writer has a complete lack of self-awareness.
“Lawrence [O’Donnell]: No Republican Contested Evidence of Trump’s Impeachable Conduct”: But, there is no evidence.
“Rick Wilson: Trump deserves the title of traitor”: Tell us why Trump is a traitor. Cite an actual reason.
“House Intel’s impeachment report has a ‘flood of evidence’ against Trump”: Name one piece of evidence. Opinions and presumptions of witnesses are not evidence.
“Wine-Banks: If Trump had something to defend, he’d participate in impeachment”: That is pure speculation.
Now, compare them to Fox News’ latest headlines:
“US grad student held in Iran on spy charges since 2016 released, heads home”: ‘Our family is complete’: Factual statement.
“Saudi Naval Air Station shooter condemned US in online post before deadly rampage: report”: This is a fact. There is documented proof.
“Trump rips CNN report about device he uses for official calls”: Fox is reporting that Trump was angry over what he considered to be a hit piece. Fox takes no position.
“Rush Limbaugh: Pelosi devoted to destroying Trump”: Clearly an opinion. But, come on, isn’t she?
“Experts blame anti-vaccine propaganda for measles resurgence”: A statement. Some experts do blame anti-vaccine propaganda for measles resurgence. Some don’t.
I’m not saying that Fox is perfect. I’ve become very disillusioned with Fox lately. But I do believe they try to present the news more accurately than MSNBC or CNN. And it shows up in their superior ratings.
(The relevant segment begins at 14:28 in the video.)