What is the News? Is a) the News what is happening in the world or is it b) a snapshot of what might be happening in the world distorted by desires to frame preconceived narratives and subject to manipulation?
Generally, it’s b).
As an example, if I want to perpetuate a narrative that Jeremy Corbyn is an unpopular leader of the Labour party I might pay a firm to hit google on the eve of the result of the Labour leadership voting with searches about how to leave the Labour party. Once I have that search pattern “trending” I would then get ‘sympathetic’ media outlets to run a story ‘reporting’ that people are searching how to leave the Labour party. The media outlets would not ‘report’ this ‘fact’ critically, they won’t ask the obvious question, which is why would people who are politically engaged enough to be Labour party members need to google how to leave the party.
Obviously, a Labour party member would, at most, go to Labour’s website to search for that information. Equally obvious is that, the narrative is intended to add a negative headline for a Corbyn win, which means those supposedly searching are Smith supporters and we all know that they are few in number. So few that even if all of them searched it is unlikely that their search numbers would exceed people searching for information about the Labour leadership voting result. It’s easy to see such a story is utter bunkum but ‘credible’ “news” sources are reporting it.
People need to think about how such narratives are formed and then consider that if such narratives are formed, as they have been in this instance, then what other “news” stories are anything but.
People have been abandoning “news” outlets in droves, it may not be because they are completely aware that the outlets are attempting to manipulate them but, on some subconscious level, people know. Apply some critical thinking and you begin to blow holes in most of what “news” is reported to us.