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Wednesday
Oct112017

Toward a taxonomy of "fake news" types

Likely this has occurred to others, but as I was putting together my umpteenth conference paper (Kahan 2017b) on this topic it occurred to me that the phrase “fake news” conjures different pictures in the minds of different people. To avoid misunderstanding, then, it is essential, I now realize, for someone addressing this topic to be really clear about what sort of “fake news” he or she has in mind.

Just to get things started, I’m going to describe four distinct kinds of communications that are typically conflated when people talk of “fake news”:

1. “Fake news” proper

2. Counterfeit news

3. Mistaken news

4. Propaganda

1. What I principally had in mind as “fake news” when I wrote my conference papers was the sort of goofy “Pope endorses Trump,” “Hillary linked to sexual slavery trade” stuff.  My argument (Kahan 2017a) was that this sort of “fake news” likely has no impact on election outcomes because only those already predisposed—predestined even—to vote for Trump were involved in meaningful trafficking of such things.  (Most of the bogus news reports were pro-Trump).

These forms of fake news were being put out by a group of clever Macedonians, who were paid commissions for clicks on the commercial advertisements that ringed their made-up stories. Rather than causing people to support Trump, support for Trump was causing people to get value from reading bogus materials that either trumped up Trump or defamed Hilary.   Because support for Trump was in this sense emotionally and cognitively prior to enjoyment and distribution of these stories, the result in the election would have been no different had the stories not existed.

2. But there are additional species of “fake news” out there.  Consider the fake advertisements purchased by Russia on Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. These were no doubt designed in a manner to avoid giving away their provenance, and no doubt were professionally crafted to affect the election outcome.  I’m inclined to think they didn’t but all I have to go on are my priors; I haven’t seen any studies that disentangle the impact of these forms of “fake news” from the Macedonian specials.

I would call this class “counterfeit news” based on its attempt to purchase the attention and evaluation of real news.

3. Next we should have a category for what might be called “mistaken news.”  The category consists of stories that are produced by legitimate news sources but that happen to contain a material misstatement.

Consider, e.g., the report by Dan Rather near the end of the 2000 presidential campaign that he was in possession of a letter that suggested candidate George W. Bush had arranged for a draft deferment to avoid military service in the Vietnam War. Rather had been played by an election dirty trickster.  This error (for which Rather was exiled to retirement) was likely a result of sloppy reporting x wishful thinking.  At least when they are promptly corrected, instances of “mistaken news” like this, I’m guessing, are unlikely to have any real impact (but see Capon & Hulbert 1973; Hovland & Weiss 1951-52; Nyhan & Reifler 2011).

4. Finally, there is out and out propaganda. The aim of this practice is not merely to falsify the news of the day but to utterly annihilate citizens’ capacity to know what is true and what is not about their collective life (cf. Stanley, J. 2015).  If Trump hasn’t reached this point yet, he is certainly well on his way.

So this is my proposal: that we use “fake news,” “counterfeit news, “mistaken news,” and “propaganda” to refer, respectively, to the four types of deception that I’ve canvassed.

 If someone comes up with a better set of names or even a better way to divide these forms of misleading types of news, that’s great.

The only point I’m trying to make is that we do need to draw these kinds of distinctions. We need them, in part, to enable empirical researchers to figure out what they want to measure and to communicate the same to others.

Just as important, we need distinctions like these to help citizens recognize what species of non-news they are encountering, and to deliberate about the appropriate government response to each.

 References

Capon, N. & Hulbert, J. The sleeper effect: an awakening. Public Opin Quart 37, 333-358 (1973).

Hovland, C.I. & Weiss, W. The Influence of Source Credibility on Communication Effectiveness. Public Opin Quart 15, 635-650 (1951-52).

Kahan, D. M. Misconceptions, Misinformation & the Logic of Identity Protective Cognition. CCP Working paper  No. 164. (2017a), available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2973067.

Kahan, D. M. & Peter E. Misinformation and Identity protective cognition. CCP Working Paper No. (2017a). Available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3046603

Nyhan, B. & Reifler, J. When corrections fail: The persistence of political misperceptions. Polit Behav 32, 303-330 (2010).

Stanley, J. How Propaganda Works (Princeton Press. 2015).

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Reader Comments (31)

Claire Wardle has tried something similar, which might be useful: https://firstdraftnews.com/fake-news-complicated/

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Dan - your first category is known in the trade as pure clickbait. Advertisers pay for eyeballs, and if stories on sex rings run out of pizza parlors attract eyeballs, then they can be monetized. All Macedonian tales belong here.

Your second and fourth categories are identical or at least have massive overlap. The Russians are not a whole lot better than these groups
http://freebeacon.com/politics/donors-anti-trump-resistance-group-revealed/
which spent orders of magnitude more. The two can therefore be combined under "primarily propaganda".

Then there are stories including false data. Some are deliberate, others are genuine errors. Intent is hard to prove without getting trapped into conspiracy theories, so giving the benefit of doubt in all cases as a first pass seems advisable. My favorite in that category is the Daily Stormer, now domiciled in the Philippines. It was the first to report the correct autopsy results of Heather Heyer, dead from a heart attack, not by a car accident. You do have to wade through various fantasy memes (this is a satirical site run by gamers - they communicate in memes, not Aristotelian syllogisms) but they print what Breitbart, for example, cannot. Their coverage of the Vegas shooter has been spot on so far.
https://dailystormer.ph/

Breitbart certainly belongs here, and they are known to have been in close contact with Andrew Auernheimer, technical genius behind the much-banned Daily Stormer. Much of this Buzzfeed article is accurate, with some exceptions, like calling Heather Heyer's death "murder".
https://www.buzzfeed.com/josephbernstein/heres-how-breitbart-and-milo-smuggled-white-nationalism?utm_term=.xv0MGoEv0#.gqqlLyDGp

I would place the entire mainstream press here also, with the honorable exception of the Wall Street Journal, the only publication to clearly distinguish factual data from polemics.

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

The taxonomy seems rather vague to me. I can't see where the boundaries lie, and expect that there would be a lot of stories that crossover between categories

What about stories describing Clinton's Parkinson disease? How would they fit. Keep in mind that it wasn't merely clever Macedonians that were promoting this story - complete with video "analysis" of Clinton's eye movements. For example, here are some sophisticated climate "skeptics" weighing in...

My argument (Kahan 2017a) was that this sort of “fake news” likely has no impact on election outcomes because only those already predisposed—predestined even—to vote for Trump were involved in meaningful trafficking of such things.

Seems to me that the more meaningful question is whether people who weren't "involved in meaningful trafficking," but who were targeted by and the recipient of such stories, were effected. It seems to me that you think that activists promoting identity-associated stories related to climate change creates?, or certainly measurably exacerbates, polarization. But are you saying that there's a different dynamic taking place here? If so, what do you see as the distinguishing components?

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

link drop:
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3048994

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

How would you categorise the stories and claims being discussed here?

http://www.aei.org/publication/18-spectacularly-wrong-apocalyptic-predictions-made-around-the-time-of-the-first-earth-day-in-1970-expect-more-this-year-3

or this one?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7139797.stm

Or a certain film?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7037671.stm

I'm not sure that any of these fall into the categories you describe. They're not clickbait for advertising revenue, they don't disguise their provenance, they're not simply accidental mistakes, but they're not exactly out-and-out lies, either. The authors probably believed them at the time, albeit not with the level of justified assurance they claimed.

I think they're best described by Schneider's description of their media tactics:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

You might call them "effective-versus-honest" news items. A new category?

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

@all--yes, this scheme is lacking. So what would you say the categories should be? And why?

October 12, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@Jamie-- thanks, very interesting

October 12, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

" So what would you say the categories should be? And why?"

You only need to make a division if the effects you're measuring or the mechanisms involved differ, so that you're not mixing up data on different effects in studying them. Until you have a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms, I don't think you can do so sensibly yet. The best you're going to get is to try a wide range of hypotheses, break it down as much as you can, and see what you find.

October 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

@all--yes, this scheme is lacking. So what would you say the categories should be? And why?

Yes, well, all models are wrong....and (presumably), some are useful. It seems to me that a taxonomy (or typology) is, essentially, a model - and as such it is doomed to be flawed as a fully accurate organization of the complexities of reality. So then is your taxonomy useful? Without seeing it context (of usage), I couldn't really weigh in. Does it help to convey information is some fashion or facilitate analysis? Again, I couldn't say whether it helps me in those regards without seeing its use in a context.

FWIW, it seems to me that there is one fairly concrete form of "fake news" that is distinguished from the others: that is, news (or propaganda, or rhetoric) that is created and at least initially disseminated by "fake people," such as fictitious identities created purely to promulgate information for political or financial gain. That, it seems to me, to be a fairly clean and verifiable designation (although, obviously, it is something difficult to identify...a task for which facebook and others are spending gobs to work on through machine learning).

Beyond that, the determination of what is "fake news," it seems to me, is almost inevitably subjective. Take Ecoute's pronouncement above, as a statement of fact, that the WSJ is " the only publication to clearly distinguish factual data from polemics." Now that statement seems to me to be certainty that hides a conflation of (highly arguable) opinion with fact. (perhaps there is some objective measure that shows that the WSJ is less polemical and more factual than other media, but without having seen such, my guess is that such a statement ignores what we know about motivated reasoning - that it affects us all - to reach an conclusion that isn't actually evidence-based but certain nonetheless). If iEcoute's statement were to come in a different form, say as a headline at the WSJ, some might consider it to be "fake news," but perhaps he wouldn't. In this "post fact" world where people in the most powerful positions in our country stake out a claim to "alternative facts," how do you create a taxonomy that relies on a determination of what is factual and what isn't? How do we measure what is counterfeit versus propaganda versus mistaken.

Beyond that, we might argue 'till the cows come home as to whether any particular statement by any particular person is "out and out propaganda." Consider the explanation that we've seen in these very threads, when Trump 's statements of dubious veracity have been challenged, that what he stated was what he actually believes, or are in line with what he thinks that his followers believe. It seems to me that with such a view, one could argue that what you might call "probpaganda" is aimed at a different purpose other than to utterly annihilate citizens’ capacity to know what is true and what is not about their collective life. For example, if Trump really believes that the crowd size at his inaugural was as large as he depicted, then is it an attempt to annihilate truth?

It seems to me that the very notion of creating categories of "fake news" is inherently problematic. It might be a useful exercise, but like I said above, it seems to me that it would depend on what purpose was being served. But, it does seem to me, that it is useful to discuss the various questions that can be asked about fake news, independently of whether they can be answered. A descriptor of the various idealized forms is useful in that sense. But, maybe, trying to operationalize a taxonomy is somewhat futile, because it requires cramming entities into somewhat arbitrary categorizations to answer questions that can't really be answered.

October 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

On the power of motivated reasoning (and, IMO, more evidence of how ideology, or world view, or values or morals, don't fully explain why people align in the ways that they do). Also more evidence of why I question whether"science communication" is a particularly unique context for examining the dynamics of motivated reasoning, cultural cognition, identity protective cognition, etc.


https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/11/upshot/trump-nfl-polarization.html?_r=0

About three weeks ago — before President Trump said that N.F.L. owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem — Democrats and Republicans held relatively similar views about the league. About 60 percent said they viewed it favorably, while about 20 percent said they viewed it unfavorably, according to daily online surveys conducted by Morning Consult, a polling, media and technology company.

Since Mr. Trump’s remarks, though, many of his supporters have changed their attitudes.

Trump voters are now much more likely to say that they view the N.F.L. negatively, reflecting a sharp change around Sept. 23, when Mr. Trump criticized the players at a speech in Alabama. The views of Hillary Clinton voters have not changed appreciably over the last few weeks.

October 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

IIMO, it would be interesting to see if people who follow football more closely have recently moved more towards polarization in their ideologically-influenced views on the NFL than those who don't follow football closely. And then to use scores on cognitive reasoning assessments as a comparison measure in assessing movement in views of the NFL. My guess is that scores on cognitive reasoning assessments wouldn't explain movement in polarization on the NFL very well- which, IMO, would raise some questions about whether those who score higher on such assessments are more polarized because they are "better" at defending their views. I would also guess that people who follow football more closely have moved towards polarization less than those who follow football less closely, so it also wouldn't be knowledge about the game that explain movement towards polarization.

October 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Link for Dan (likelihood ratios in court):
https://phys.org/news/2017-10-nist-urges-caution-courtroom-evidence.html

October 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

The web security services are good at identifying and shutting down the fake news networks motivated exclusively by profit generation:

https://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/us/security/news/cybercrime-and-digital-threats/fake-news-cyber-propaganda-the-abuse-of-social-media

Problem is that these same networks can also be hired by political actors, some of whom are controlled by foreign governents. Kaspersky's back door on its antivirus is a recent example, so it really comes down to picking the least distasteful agent you will allow on to your systems.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Dan,


But arguably the most important result was Allcott and Gentzkow’s finding that study participants did not reliably report their exposure to fake news. Allcott and Gentzkow planted “placebos”—or fake fake new stories—in the lists of articles that they showed their study participants. The participants, Allcott and Gentzkow report, were just as likely to report having seen one of these placebos as they were to report having seen a genuine (as it were) fake news article.

Allcott and Gentzkow conclude that who claimed they had seen and agreed with fake news stories were more likely reacting to the coherence of the fake-news story headlines with their predispositions to consume information consistent with their support or opposition to the main party presidential candidates. If so, it can be inferred that misinformation did not drive voting decisions; instead already-made decisions drove the consumption of misinformation by citizens hungry for corroboration that their preferred candidate was in fact more virtuous than his or her opponent.

Is this what you use to conclude: “fake news” likely has no impact on election?

Since presidential elections in this country are impacted entirely at the margin (this one especially), it seems to be that the "likely no impact" conclusion doesn't follow, unless the total population of those impacted by fake news is such that the minority that were swayed is too small to create such an impact at the margin.

Also, the faulty memory of fake news (tested by the placebo fake fake news items) seems to me to be more likely to warrant that tests based on memory of such things don't work - hence no conclusion at all about the (non)efficacy of fake news could follow.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Remember "Carbon dioxide is a necessary nutrient for plant life, acting as the catalyst for the most essential energy conversion process on planet earth: photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is an odorless, invisible, harmless and completely natural gas lacking any characteristic of a pollutant."?:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/10/13/trump-taps-climate-skeptic-for-top-white-house-environmental-post/

Maybe Kathleen White is just trying to single-handedly disprove Dan's knowledge-promotes-motivated-reasoning thesis.

I wonder if any highly knowledgeable skeptics will publicly disapprove of this appointment?

I also wonder how she (and those with similar justifications) would react when reminded that one can drown in water.

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Speaking of highly knowledgeable skeptics:
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-grandfather-of-alt-science

So, suppose Art Robinson gets this appointment, and he and Kathleen White are in a meeting with Trump about climate science policy - would Robinson call out White's mistaken justifications or not?

October 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

"Is this what you use to conclude: “fake news” likely has no impact on election?"

The problem is there's a lot of motivated reasoning backing the theory that fake news swayed the election. Nobody wants to believe they might have lost the election because they had bad policies, a bad candidate, or bad electoral tactics. That would make it their fault. It's much more comfortable to believe that nasty outsiders did it to them by lying to the public about them.

I've seen exactly the same phenomenon in the climate debate. Despite the politicians and campaigners mobilising all the levers of Authority they can lay their hands on - governments, experts, scientific organisations, climate scientists, the media, environmentalist charities, and all the most influential "right on" political commentators - they've still failed utterly to get their favoured policies enacted. What can possibly explain this? It can't possibly be that they didn't have a convincing argument, could it? Or that they got caught faking the results? That while people keep up a politically correct facade of support where people can see them, that nobody really takes them seriously? No, it must be that the secretive cabal of power brokers and corporate fat cats who secretly run the world spent lots of money on propaganda and misinformation to confuse the public and turn them away from the truth. It's a much more comfortable belief than that they're just another set of crazy guys on the street telling us all "Capitalists repent! For the end of the world is nigh!" being roundly ignored by the public. :-)

It's strange, but there really are people who think you can control the world with advertising.

"I wonder if any highly knowledgeable skeptics will publicly disapprove of this appointment?"

What are we supposed to be disapproving of?

"I also wonder how she (and those with similar justifications) would react when reminded that one can drown in water."

You're arguing that we should classify water as a dangerous pollutant, tax it, ban it, and refuse public office to anyone who does not also argue that we should ban it?! :-D

Sometimes I'm not entirely sure whether people are joking or not. Are you perhaps working for the campaign to ban dihydrogen monoxide? It's also a far more powerful and significant greenhouse gas than CO2! Two thirds of the predicted coming climate change catastrophe is directly because of it!

It's not the craziest idea I've ever come across, but it's a contender...

So, does that answer your question about how someone like that would react? :-)

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

NiV - why break the news gently by saying "two thirds"? Around here only brute force has some chance of working. Tell the truth, water vapor is 80% of atmospheric greenhouse gases mass, 90% of the volume. And all that warming will increase evaporation. It will also increase cloud formation, one datum the IPCC models handle as an input - an input! - instead of calculating it endogenously, which they have signally failed to do.

I'm looking around for a comparison of total CO2 / particulates generated by the California wildfires and the totals "saved" by the tens of billions spent by California on solar panels, electric cars, and related follies. Will update.

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

From this:

Is this what you use to conclude: “fake news” likely has no impact on election?"

To this:

The problem is there's a lot of motivated reasoning backing the theory that fake news swayed the election.

Interesting transition. Why do people build arguments on straw men? Could motivated have an impact?

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Meanwhile, back to tracking "fake news". Here is one proxy for "alleged" fake news: banned news.

Sample at this link
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2017.1369037
of an article that was banned after being read by more than 15,000 people in only a week in which it stayed online (I still have the .pdf in case anybody wants it). Here is what the publisher had to say about it:

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Abstract

WITHDRAWAL NOTICE

This Viewpoint essay has been withdrawn at the request of the academic journal editor, and in agreement with the author of the essay. Following a number of complaints, Taylor & Francis conducted a thorough investigation into the peer review process on this article. Whilst this clearly demonstrated the essay had undergone double-blind peer review, in line with the journal's editorial policy, the journal editor has subsequently received serious and credible threats of personal violence. These threats are linked to the publication of this essay. As the publisher, we must take this seriously. Taylor & Francis has a strong and supportive duty of care to all our academic editorial teams, and this is why we are withdrawing this essay.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Maybe Robinson and White are interested in working at the White House because of the extra security?

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Btw,

I've seen exactly the same phenomenon use of straw men in the climate debate.

It's also sometimes interesting to speculate about why people pick out particular points of comparison, among myriad of potential points of comparison, to draw analogies. Sometimes you get the feeling that maybe they are just looking for a context to voice preexisting arguments. Sometimes, the use of straw men to create those points of comparison indicates a hint of contrivance.

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"NiV - why break the news gently by saying "two thirds"?"

Because according to the models, CO2 alone causes about 1.1 C/2xCO2 warming, but with climate feedbacks, of which water vapour feedback is the largest, this is multiplied up to 3.5 C/2xCO2. A little over two thirds of the claimed warming is therefore due to the predicted increase in water vapour.

Of course, it's a non-linear effect so you can't properly ascribe causal proportions like that, but it gets the general idea across in a way accessible to the scientific layman. Water vapour is a greenhouse gas, a product of hydrocarbon combustion, and so the arguments for regulating it as a "pollutant" are the same - as Jonathan (unintentionally) just pointed out.

I wouldn't waste a lot of time with the wildfire comparison - plants take the CO2 out of the atmosphere that they release when they're burnt. As soon as they regrow, the effect of the burn is cancelled. (There are similar feedback mechanisms for controlling levels of water and fossil fuel-sourced CO2, of course, but it's a more complicated argument.)

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

"I've seen exactly the same phenomenon use of straw men in the climate debate. "

Are you claiming that nobody in the climate debate has ever used the argument that a bunch of rich oligarchs paid for advertising to persuade the public against a policy position they didn't like, and that's the main reason the policies failed to be enacted?

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Impressive: Build a straw man to defend the use of a straw man.

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"Impressive: Build a straw man to defend the use of a straw man."

So, are you claiming that nobody in the climate debate has ever used the argument that a bunch of rich oligarchs paid for advertising to persuade the public against a policy position they didn't like, and that's the main reason the policies failed to be enacted?

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

I followed the link that Jonathan provided, to read a bit more about Robinson. I had read of Robinson through material about the Mercers, but nothing much in depth. From that link, I clicked through to the Maddow interview of Robinson (quite entertaining, IMO), and then I was automatically linked to a series of Maddow interviews (it would be interesting to know the workings of the linking algorithm) to a clip where Pat Buchanan was talking about Obama's hubris and arrogance, because of misquotes where Obama was portrayed as talking of his own power to create change when what he actually said was on the order of "this isn't about me." Which got me thinking about motivated reasoning, because the very same person who was outraged, outraged I say about Obama's arrogance thinks that Donald "I alone can fix it" Trump maybe the "heir to Reagan."

Which got me to thinking about why Buchanan has such a double standard (are Obama's and Trump's race a factor?), which got me thinking about a discussion I had recently with a bunch of people who were arguing that Clinton lost the election because of sexism - their view being that the attributes that people judged negatively in Clinton, as a woman candidate, would likely not be similarly judged negatively in a male candidate. My position was that while I don't doubt that there is a double standard often applied to male vs. females in such contexts (e.g., a forceful persona in the male candidate might indicate a "strong leader" whereas in the female candidate it mean she's a bitch or "shrill." ), it is essentially impossible to know that sexism explained Clinton's loss because there's no way to accurately quantify the effect of various factors that contributed to her loss. Which got me to thinking about just how difficult it is for people to not allow their motivations to conflate "is a factor in' with "causes" when discussing cause and effect, which got me to thinking about strawmen (such as the one where asking whether Russian fake news was a factor in Clinton's loss elicits a response that the problem with that question is that it reflects motivated reasoning to avoid believing that other factors were also involved) - which got me thinking about the kind of rhetoric that Trump regularly employs (so often when he's asked about Russia's interference in the election, he responds that such questions are an outgrowth of unfair persecution of him because people can't face the reality that Clinton was a bad candidate) to talk about "fake news," which got me thinking of just how incredibly difficult it is to construct some kind of objective taxonomy to organize what might be considered types of "fake news."

So speaking of "fake news" (Russia involvement in promoting political messaging through false accounts) becomes "fake news" because of "fake news" accounts that speaking about Russia's "fake news" is simply an attempt to avoid dealing with the reality of why Clinton lose the election, which actually can't be accurately quantified to begin with!

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"... a discussion I had recently with a bunch of people who were arguing that Clinton lost the election because of sexism - their view being that the attributes that people judged negatively in Clinton, as a woman candidate, would likely not be similarly judged negatively in a male candidate. [...] it is essentially impossible to know that sexism explained Clinton's loss because there's no way to accurately quantify the effect of various factors that contributed to her loss"

Have you seen this? You might find it interesting.
https://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2017/march/trump-clinton-debates-gender-reversal.html

We heard a lot of “now I understand how this happened”—meaning how Trump won the election. People got upset. There was a guy two rows in front of me who was literally holding his head in his hands, and the person with him was rubbing his back.

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

I had seen it. Thought it was interesting, although I thought it leaves a lot to be desired by way of being a terribly instructive analysis.

One of the points that I made I the discussion I mentioned was that to determine how much negative impact their was from sexism on Clinton, you'd necessarily have to control for the number of people who voted for her even though they didn't think she was a good candidate but wanted to vote for a woman to be president. All unknowable.

This all reminds me of Peterson and Weinstein asserting (with certainty) that women don't do as well in business because they aren't as adept at self-advocacy (a genetically-based attribute, doncha know), somehow ignoring that they haven't controlled for the potential influence that it isn't that women aren't as good at self-advocacy, but that women who self-advocate are judged negatively for doing so in comparison to men who self-advocate.

All this stuff runs in both directions.

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"One of the points that I made I the discussion I mentioned was that to determine how much negative impact their was from sexism on Clinton, you'd necessarily have to control for the number of people who voted for her even though they didn't think she was a good candidate but wanted to vote for a woman to be president."

I agree. From the point of view of figuring out what would have happened had their genders been reversed, then there's more going on in the background (not to mention history...). I just thought it shed some interesting light on whether "the attributes that people judged negatively in Clinton, as a woman candidate, would likely not be similarly judged negatively in a male candidate." It's possible that Trump won *despite* the sexism that biased many against him, rather than because of it.

Or then again, it might just be because they were *different* faces, and so the audience were judging them purely on the debate, and not on their preconceptions of the candidates. In other words, if a *different* man had replaced Trump, and a different woman Clinton, it might have had the same effect.

"ignoring that they haven't controlled for the potential influence that it isn't that women aren't as good at self-advocacy, but that women who self-advocate are judged negatively for doing so in comparison to men who self-advocate."

Or that women do do well in business, but it suits them to pretend they don't, because that buys them compensatory advantages. (And good luck to those that do, if they can get away with it! There are no rules on this.) Definitions differ on what "doing well" really means. It depends what you want, and what you're willing to pay for it.

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

It's possible that Trump won *despite* the sexism that biased many against him, rather than because of it.

And it's possible that monkeys might fly out of his butt during his next speech, or even unicorns?

Or that women do do well in business, but it suits them to pretend they don't, because that buys them compensatory advantages.

Seems rather contrived to me, but maybe you should write Peterson or Weinstein with your theory? I was speaking to their cause and effect explanation (complete with a evolutionary/genetic explanation just-so attached) for why they feel that women don't do as well.

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"And it's possible that monkeys might fly out of his butt during his next speech, or even unicorns?"

?!

If you say so, Joshua.

"Seems rather contrived to me,"

It's a pretty standard "self-advocacy" tactic in game theory. It would be more surprising if they *didn't* try it.

" I was speaking to their cause and effect explanation (complete with a evolutionary/genetic explanation just-so attached) for why they feel that women don't do as well."

Sure. And I was agreeing with you that it's only one of many hypotheses, with not much evidence to pick between them. I was simply adding another hypothesis - indicating that it's not even certain they're asking the right question, let alone providing the right answer.

October 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

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