In a Friday New York Times op-ed, Rossalyn Warren, described as “a journalist who regularly covers women’s rights and internet culture,” wants Facebook to expand its definition of “fake news” to include “the vast amount of misinformation and unevidenced stories about reproductive rights, science and health.”
That is, Warren wants to marginalize and even silence legitimate pro-life messages, sites, facts, and viewpoints.
Ms. Warren somehow missed the news that the establishment press has earned sole ownership of the “fake news” tag thanks to its disgraceful conduct and dishonest reporting during the entire election season and the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency. That has included its early strategic coordination with the Clinton campaign, its obvious cooperation with the attempt to rig the Democratic Party primary to defeat Bernie Sanders, its October 2016 release of the Access Hollywood tapes, its thoroughly cooked polling throughout the election season, and its blatantly hostile treatment of the President, his appointees, and others on his team during the past year.
But that doesn’t mean that the leftist gatekeepers at Facebook won’t consider acquiescing to her demands. What Warren wants to do is to marginalize legitimate pro-life content she has unilaterally decided is “fake news” (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Facebook Is Ignoring Anti-Abortion Fake News
… Last week … (Facebook’s) general counsel appeared before Congress alongside his counterparts from Twitter and Google to testify on the company’s role in distributing misinformation ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Facebook says it’s taking “fake news” seriously. It has a label for “disputed” stories, brought in independent fact-checking partners and allows users to report false articles.
It’s not clear whether these attempts to tackle misinformation will work; critics have called them ineffective and slow. But there’s another problem, too. So far, Facebook and the public have focused almost solely on politics and Russian interference in the United States election. What they haven’t addressed is the vast amount of misinformation and unevidenced stories about reproductive rights, science and health.
Evidence-based, credible articles about abortion from reputable news outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post didn’t make it to the top of the list of “most shared” articles on Facebook last year, according to BuzzSumo. But articles from the site LifeNews.com did.
Good heavens, we can’t have upstarts like LifeNews beating out the venerable Times and Post!
Continuing (link is in original):
LifeNews, which has just under one million followers on Facebook, is one of several large anti-abortion sites that can command hundreds of thousands of views on a single post. These sites produce vast amounts of misinformation; the Facebook page for the organization Live Action, for instance, has two million Facebook followers and posts videos claiming there’s a correlation between abortion and breast cancer. And their stories often generate more engagement than the content produced by mainstream news organizations … People on Facebook engage with anti-abortion content more than abortion-rights content, … (so) as a result of the company’s algorithms, means more people see it.
Note that Warren, despite being an award-winning reporter, never bothered to provide a single bit of evidence that pro-life content created by LifeNews.com is in any way untrue, deceptive, or otherwise “fake.”
As one would expect, LifeNews Founder and Editor Steven Ertelt noted that complete failure (link is in original):
… nowhere in her article does she provide any proof or evidence of that false (“fake news”) claim. If LifeNews is as fake as Warren claims surely she could produce even one example of a piece of fake news but she is totally unable to meet even that low threshold.
… Warren claims there is a “vast amount of misinformation and unevidenced stories about reproductive rights, science and health.” Yet again she is unable to cite even one example.
And she complains that so-called “Evidence-based, credible articles” from news outlets that are longtime abortion advocates did not make the top of the most shared articles on Facebook. Perhaps that’s because most Americans realize that the New York Times And The Washington Post have an extensive liberal bias and are firmly embedded in the pro-abortion camp.
She complains that articles from LifeNews.com were some of the most shared articles on Facebook, whines about LifeNews having almost 1 million Facebook followers and her article alludes to this website supposedly being one of the fake news websites that Facebook ought to take into account.
Yet Warren’s post is entirely fake news — where she puts forward her opinion and substitutes it for fact. Simply claiming that a website is fake news doesn’t make it fake news, especially when Warren is completely unable to offer even one shred of evidence to support her theory.
Warren’s attack on Live Action’s assertion of a likely link between abortion and breast cancer is also disingenuous.
The video to which she linked is a three-minute video trailer for a full documentary which explains in scientific terms why any pregnancy terminated early — whether it be because of abortion (which is the primary emphasis), or premature birth before 32 weeks — increases the likelihood of breast cancer. The trailer notes that since “nobody disagrees” that premature delivery before 32 weeks increases breast cancer risk, “to entirely deny the connection” between terminating a pregnancy before 32 weeks and increased breast cancer risk “is ludicrous,” and that the continued denial may be causing women not to get the post-abortion testing they need to detect breast cancer at an early stage.
Live Action’s video is not fake news.
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Therefore, an award-winning reporter violated journalistic standards by utterly failing to present even a single shred of evidence to support her claim that the two pro-life sites sites she mentioned produce “fake news.” Stripping matters down to their essence, Ms. Warren is outraged that pro-life facts are winning in the arena of ideas, and wants to put a stop to that positive development through censorship.
Sadly, as noted earlier, given the people who run and manage Facebook, it’s not inconceivable that she might get her way.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.