T Nation

MSM Journalism, Now We Have Proof They Lie All the Time!

Well, now we have proof. People finally did studies and found Journalists are insular, clueless and is basically run by twitter posts and clusters.
It’s important because way too many people still get their news this way and people are being lied too. Nobody is telling them the truth, so how can the truth be known?

" That means Beltway journalism "may be even more insular than previously thought,” say study authors Nikki Usher and Yee Man Margaret Ng raising additional concerns about vulnerability to groupthink and blind spots.”

Illinois journalism professor Yee Man Margaret Ng specializes in big data and computational social science.

Their “elite/legacy” cluster was the largest, including about 30% of the journalists covered in the study, with The Washington Post, NBC News, NPR and The New York Times among the major newsrooms represented.

A congressional journalism cluster included another 20%. The other clusters centered around CNN, television producers, local political news, regulatory journalists, foreign affairs, long-form/enterprise reporting and social issues.

In leading the study, Usher said she wanted to “describe the contours of what political journalism in Washington looks like and of the process of making news unfold.” Another goal was to better understand how journalists connect to and learn from each other and establish conventional knowledge.

Twitter seemed an ideal way to do that, given its unique role among journalists as a virtual water cooler, Usher said. “Most of the time, what happens on Twitter does not reflect the real world. But in the case of political journalism and political elites, generally speaking, what happens on Twitter is reality.” It’s an online reflection of their offline lives and work, she said, and plays a significant role in agenda-setting.

“So this was a particularly potent way of looking, at scale, at how ideas are exchanged, how people are making sense of things,” Usher said.

The “at scale” part is where Ng comes in. Usher’s research has focused more on qualitative research, primarily about [elite U.S. newsrooms and how new technology impacts how journalists work. Ng, however, specializes in big data and computational social science. She saw particular power in applying those tools to journalists’ interactions on Twitter.

“With more than 2,000 journalists in this study, we could not observe each of them individually in real life. So we used their digital life as a way to understand how they interact with their peers,” Ng said.

The researchers started with a list of all credentialed congressional correspondents as found in the Congressional Directory, then identified those with active Twitter accounts.

Ng collected all the tweets, retweets and replies posted on most of those accounts over two months in early 2018, using Twitter’s application-programming interface. She winnowed those further to only those sent between or referencing other Beltway journalists.

The final data set consisted of 133,529 Twitter posts from 2,015 journalists, about one-third of all credentialed congressional correspondents.

Ng applied a “community detection” algorithm to determine where there might be clusters of journalists, based on their Twitter interactions. Usher labeled those clusters based on biographical and employment data, as well as an analysis of the words used in the tweets.

Several things stood out for Usher in examining these specific clusters. The large elite/legacy cluster, with some of the most influential news media prominently represented, was also among the most insular, she noted. More than 68% of the cluster members’ Twitter interactions with other journalists were within the group.

“That also may mean they’re not engaging, in the same kind of way, with the people who are actually on the ground getting these sorts of congressional microscoops, they’re not engaging with the journalists who are the policy wonks,” Usher said.

“I was also really intrigued to see that there was a television producer cluster, where Fox was in the mix with ABC and CBS, which might explain why we tend to see a lot of the same faces on TV news programs.”

One cluster was labeled as CNN because more than half its members were CNN journalists and much of the conversation related to network stories and personalities, which Usher found problematic.

“CNN is telling a story about what is happening with CNN, and that is worrisome. Maybe that’s an organizational branding strategy, but I think it potentially has deleterious effects for public discourse,” she said.

In the opposite direction, she was encouraged to see a space in the long-form/enterprise cluster where journalists doing the “deep, thoughtful dives” could exchange ideas.

Overall, however, Usher thinks their findings add to concerns about journalists’ Twitter use. “Political journalists in D.C. are people who use Twitter all day. And so the question is what does that do to how they think about the world. And generally, from this paper and a previous one I did on gender and Beltway journalism, it seems to me that it can make things worse.”



I don’t think the study focused on whether or not journalists lie all the time, or if they lie at all. The study focused on how insular groups journalists tend to be, with large swaths operating in “mircobubbles” that may insulate them from true reality. This is not a good thing, as the authors point out, but the authors did not address the truthfulness of journalists.

1 Like

Pat once again consumed with the idea of people lying all the time unless that person is the President and that’s no big deal to him ever. Journalists lie and on Twitter all day bad. President lie and on Twitter all day fine.

Also I’m not sure this means what he says it is meaning.

You would have a good point if the job description of a journalist wasn’t to find and tell the truth or at least tell the facts. Especially if your publication is purported to do so, or when your tag line is “The most trusted news”.
Laziness is not an excuse for misinformation.

show us where you think these studies indicate that mainstream media journalists are sharing large amounts of misinformation. I would ask you to show where they are doing it intentionally (which is the definition of lying), but I know you won’t be able to do that, so I’m lowering the bar a bit for ya.

I gave up. I read stuff that reflects my bias. Then a smidgen of mainstream media to see how liberals portray it all. I won’t even pretend.

Okay, but you’re the one playing the laziness game here by trying to sensationalize the research and make the study fit your agenda. There is a difference between being as thorough as possible and lying all the time.

Uh, journalists are taking their journalism ques from social media, the absolute worst place to get actual information, much less regurgitate it as news. I.E. they are not doing their jobs? They seldom have source info in their pieces all their sources are from ‘anonymous’ sources, a.k.a. a friend on twitter.
Let’s consider some minor stories they have managed to fuck up royally over the past few years:
Russia collusion, Jesse Smollett, Covington kids, Michael Brown, Benghazi, Covid, Jeffery Epstein, “peaceful” protests where people get shot, etc. Just to name a few.
Project Veritas has a veritable treasure trove of under cover videos where you can hear them talking about lying from their own mouths:

Just scroll down, you can find the links on the homepage.

1 Like

Not when you job is being thorough as possible and fucking it up everyday. If they are being as ‘thorough as possible’ I will eat my hat, dry. Vomiting into each other’s mouths on twitter is the furthest thing from being thorough.
There is a reason a reporter can stand in front of a burning building and report the cause a being the result of peaceful protests.
And yes I have an agenda, to show the media is a bunch of liars and now somebody did a study that proves it.

I asked you where the study confirmed your claim, and you linked me to an entirely separate website, and then rattled off a handful of situations where journalists didn’t get the story right at first. So, you didn’t actually answer MY question, you answered a different question. Are you suggesting that journalists botched, say, Benghazi or Smollett because of social media?

Smollett, specifically, was a situation in which journalists, and basically everyone else, was lied to. But the journalists reported what they learned when they were doing their job correctly. This is just something that has always happened and will continue to happen. Jesse Smollett created a false scenario, he successfully convinced a lot of people something happened that didn’t. That doesn’t mean the journalists fucked up. And it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the insular nature of modern day journalism. That same mistake could have EASILY happened 30 years ago.

Here’s an example of what I think @pat is talking about. Where MSM shows a lack of honesty in reporting.

1 Like

You aren’t one of these 2+2=5 people are you? The study shows that they run in small circles and get information from each other rather than getting the story from real sources and getting them right. That is supposed to be their job. Not doing you job and presenting it as if you did is dishonest. It’s not hard to figure out. I don’t need somebody to say ‘therefore they lie’ after they show a study that illustrates it.

And the police said very early on, that they didn’t believe little Jesse, but the MSM skipped that part until they arrested his ass. Prior to that he was the gold metal winner of the Oppression Olympics and it was the MSM that awarded the metal.

Here is another example of just how extreme the problem is:

Bari Weiss is not a journalist, but an Op-ed editor. She did not resign because “journalists lie all the time”, but rather because she felt the NYT was too narrow in the opinion pieces and editorials it chose to publish.

At times like this when everyone is so eager to put extreme label on others at the drop of a hat, please be more thoughtful in ALL CAPS conclusions you wish these studies and links proved.

1 Like

oh cool, you have decided that the best way to handle an intelligent argument from me is to say ‘you’s one of THOSE people, aren’t cha?’ Man. That’s productive. Leave that out of this conversation if you have any interest in it continuing. I didn’t make a personal attack against you, I expect the same respect from you towards me.

So, let’s try this again.

Your claim is that you have PROOF that the MSM lies all the time. Then, you provided a link that says journalists run in small circles and that there is a lack of diversity of thought amongst them. You have not at any point shown anything regarding lies, and you haven’t even proven that they get the story wrong more often than not. If good reporting is happening, there SHOULD be similarities across the board between stories from different outlets. If everyone has a different story to tell about important subjects, then THAT would be a bigger problem, because that would mean almost everyone is getting it wrong. So there has to be SOME level of cohesion.

The problem I have with what you said is where you took this. I don’t have a problem acknowledging the idea that a lot of journalists are relying on the work of their counterparts to get stories. I think there would be a benefit to more reports doing more of the ground work themselves, and not just sharing each others information all the time. If that’s all you wanted to say, you’d have no argument from me.

You absolutely have not provided a shred of evidence to your claim. You just made a giant leap in your own head, and decided everyone else should be willing to take that same leap. Sorry man, it’s a better argument in and of itself.


IMO, the stories are factually close to correct most of the time. The way they are reported is often worded to help or hurt one political side. The stories that get air time are filtered to serve what type of news (liberal or conservative) too. Fox may not even mention a bad Trump interview, where it is on CNN every hour.

Is this lying? To me it isn’t, but it does indicate that one should try to get news from a few sources, and understand the political tilt of the source.

Absolutely, 100%. And another thing Pat COULD have said that I would have agreed with, haha.

Many times parts of the stories are intentionally left out and this is lying by omission.

The fact still remains that journalists are SUPPOSED report the facts without comment or omission and let the reader/viewer decide whether its good or bad. Have they ever completely done that? Probably not, but its become the norm rather than the exception in the 10 years at least.


In case you didn’t know, pat doesn’t read the articles he posts. There’s no point in dissecting it and showing him where he’s wrong because he would need to have read it.

1 Like

First, define MSM. What does that really mean?

Truth: it’s right-wing tribalist dog whistle term for any news (or commentary) network not on their team.

Second, can you really distinguish between news and commentary? Most people can’t. Right wing conspiracy-believing dipshits are the worst.