Is Social Media a Reliable Source of News?

The Former Union Editor has a blog that promotes social media as the best source of local news, pointing our that The Union our local paper is often late to the story. But, social media can be deceiving, especially if the reader only follows those on social media that share similar views. Here is an example of how the New York Times reporters use social media that often distorts the news.

A man named Tyler Pearson had posted a list of the 1000 Twittter accounts most commonly followed by the 677 New York Times staffers on the paper’s public list. It is, as you would expect, embarrassingly cocooned: Times staffers follow people who share the liberalish/leftish viewpoint of the Times itself, meaning these staffers are less likely to even find out discordant information. Which may be why they are so often surprised, or late to a story. More HERE.

I suspect that the same is true in our community as well. The Former Union Editor on his blog is prone to cite social media as the best local news source. In most cases the social media cited on his blog posts, bashing his former employers, fits with the left leaning political views of the FUE. If the FUE only monitors left leaning social media sites, as in the New York Times case, the news and commentary is going to be slanted to the left, which seem to be the case.

I do not monitor local social media from the left or the right, it seems to be a giant waste of time. Time that can be applied to other tasks, like thinking and reading about ideas and issues several benchmarks above social media drivel.

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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5 Responses to Is Social Media a Reliable Source of News?

  1. Barry Pruett says:

    I am pretty impressed with Yubanet getting to the bottom of facts in connection with the recent failures of Greg Diaz and distributing them in an unbiased manner. Diaz is even getting criticism from the left now. That said, Pelline demonstrates his inability to be objective and further discredits himself by continually supporting Diaz no matter what. Today, I received three separate communications at my law office from candidates or election coordinators of completely separate and unrelated offices. I could not believe the diversity of these folks and how livid these folks were. My answer was the same as always…this is what we were talking about for four years. I personally do not care who wins what…but we must expect that the process is fair for everyone. That is clearly not ahppening now.


  2. Russ Steele says:

    Here is another example of the FUE getting it wrong again by reading social media:

    . . .tea party co-founder Mark Meckler being arrested with a loaded gun at the New York airport . . .

    No, the gun was not load, it was in a locked TSA approved case for transport.

    yes…I did get arrested at La Guardia today for carrying a perfectly legal, registered, unloaded handgun in temporary transit in a locked, TSA approved case.

    So, again I ask is social media a good news source?


  3. Barry Pruett says:

    And you have it the nail on the head. Blogs are simply a reflection of the authors belief system. Social media is very insular also. My Facebook feed is full of conservative leaning articles which makes sense if the people that I “like” are conservatives. I need to go to other websites on purpose to hear the other side. In Pelline’s case his followers are primarily of two types – those who share his hyper leftwing beliefs and those public figures who lean conservative who are looking to make sure they are not the one being bashed by Pelline. Locally, only The Union and KNCO are unbiased. When one is so far to the leftside of the road, speech coming from the middle of the road is really far to one’s right. To assert otherwise is simply leftwing rhetoric.


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