Limbaugh: Media's Stories About Fake News Were Fake
The widespread belief that the outcome of the 2016 presidential election was influenced by so-called “fake news” perpetrated in part by the Russian government is not true, according to a study by researchers at Stanford and New York University.
Only 8 percent of voters read the stories, the researchers found, and even fewer remembered or believed them.
The study, released Thursday, concluded the average voter remembered less than 1 percent (0.9 percent) of the fake stories, and only 0.7 percent believed them.
Titled Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 election, the study did find that there were many more fake news stories that favored Donald Trump. Fake stories in his favor were shared 30 million times on Facebook during the campaign. Pro-Clinton fake stories, meanwhile, were shared about 7 million times.
Lead researchers Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkow said their data “suggest that social media were not the most important source of election news and even the most widely circulated news stories were seen by only a small fraction of Americans.”
The concluded that for fake news “to have changed the outcome of the election, a single fake news story would need to have convinced about 0.7 percent of Clinton voters and non-voters who saw it to shift their votes to Trump, a persuasion rate equivalent to seeing 36 television campaign ads.”
‘Stories about fake news were fake’
On his radio show Friday, talk host Rush Limbaugh said the new study’s conclusion “means that all those mainstream media stories about how fake news affected the election were themselves fake news.”
“The study says that the fake news that helped Trump outnumbered the fake news that helped Hillary, which must mean the study didn’t count the endless mainstream media articles and polls that claimed Hillary was a shoe-in,” said Limbaugh.
He said the left believed everything the establishment media told them.
“I think they believed every poll that showed Hillary was gonna win in a landslide or by five points, they believed it. And then they believed the exit polls,” said Limbaugh.
“And then the real truth came and they weren’t prepared for it in any way,” he said. “I mean, they never even held out the possibility that Trump could win. It wasn’t even a distant possibility in their vision. They just bought it all hook, line and sinker.”
CNN ‘fake news’
The survey of 1,208 people found that only 13.8 percent considered social media, regarded as the main purveyor of fake news, their primary source of information.
Twenty-five percent of voters said they rely mostly on cable TV networks for their news. Another 23 percent said network TV was their main source, 14.8 percent said news websites and 14.5 percent local TV.
After the losing the election, Hillary Clinton condemned “fake news” as an “epidemic” that “flooded social media.”
Obama said after the election that if Americans “are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems.
At a White House meeting Wednesday, President Trump labeled CNN “fake news” and is now forbidding his officials from making appearances on the network.
“I don’t watch CNN,” Trump said. “I don’t like watching fake news.”
“But Fox has treated me very nice wherever Fox is, thank you.”
In an interview with WND in December, investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson warned that the impluse to crack down on fake news can lead to censorship.
“Unfortunately, it’s being applied right now to mean ‘news I don’t like.’ By whichever side you’re discussing it with,” she said. “And the danger of the anti-fake news movement is the people who are forwarding the movement, I think, want to be the self-appointed censors who decide what is fake and what is not.