March 4, 2021

The media must take sides against liars and manipulators

The media must take sides against liars like Donald Trump, the manipulators or fanatics of the conspiracies, since "it is our task to make judgments" of value, assures Efe the journalist and American professor Jeff Jarvis.

Jarvis, one of the most prominent figures in journalistic theory in the digital age, insists that informants and media "must recognize" how governments, entities or politicians "use and manipulate us", in order to prevent them from achieving it.

He considers that given the greater presence of groups such as anti-vaccines, terraplanists or theoreticians of conspiracies, but also of politicians who openly spread lies, the press should not maintain its impartiality and should denounce this type of attitude.

In particular, he considers that the US president, Donald Trump, has taken this problem to a new level, counting "thousands" of lies, despite which he remains in power. "I am horrified that there are media in the United States that refuse to say that Donald Trump lies, when he clearly does," he admits.

The media "must clearly denounce the lies", and considers that the verification units put in place in recent years by numerous media to detect and denounce lies and manipulations are not enough.

"The verification is fine, but it is insufficient by itself", since it is also necessary to detect attempts to manipulate the media, he insists, so "we have to be smarter when it comes to detecting it".

Jarvis considers that the American society is very polarized, because of media such as the tycoon Rupert Murdoch, like Fox News, which in the USA. they have generated a feeling of "hatred and fear of all that is strange and unknown" in many white men, who instead of sharing political and economic power with other emerging groups "prefer to destroy the institutions".

But he blames the media for much of this phenomenon: "I think we are giving too much importance to the idea that social networks polarize society," he points out, and points out that there are studies that support that idea.

Despite his strong criticism of Trump and his supporters, he also expressed outright opposition to the proposals of some Democratic Party candidates for his party's presidential candidacy, such as Elizabeth Warren, to divide technological giants such as Google or Facebook.

"I think it does not make sense, what are you going to get by breaking Google or Facebook?" He asks.

This veteran informant and theoretician of the influence of technology in journalism participated today in a debate within the Congress that the International Association of Research in Media and Communication (IAMCR, for its acronym in English) held this week in the Faculty of Information Sciences of the Complutense University of Madrid.

Jarvis believes that the vast majority of media have not yet made the transition to a new business model to exploit the possibilities of the Internet, although there is progress, and are still stuck in old and unprofitable practices.

"Some news is like raw materials," he explains, but only in the media that operate with the old business model and take stories from other media, without worrying about making their own interesting covers that give real added value to their work.

The media "can not continue to offer garbage", as the content "clickbait" (cyberanzuelo), and instead must establish "a relationship of trust with the public" that leads to an improvement in their economic results, he insists.

As a professor of communication at the College University of New York (CUNY, the public university of that city), Jarvis insists that journalism studies and their tools must be adapted to the new possibilities offered by technology and the "enormous changes" that they wait for the profession in the future.

By Rafael Cañas

(tagsToTranslate) Jarvis (t) means (t) match (t) liars (t) manipulators

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