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Harvard University Smears Websites that Aren’t Hard-Left as ‘fake news’

“As previously reported, liberal journalists have struggled to come up with a concise definition of ‘fake news,’ even as they declare war on it. Some liberal journalists have lumped in legitimate news organizations with objectively false websites, leading to concerns that a crackdown on ‘fake news’ will be used by liberals to silence their conservative counterparts.”

Exactly so. There are real fake news sites on the Harvard list, sites that publish wholly false or unsubstantiated stories simply as clickbait in order to generate revenue.

But to add to them The Daily Caller, The Drudge Report, Breitbart News, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Free Beacon, Independent Journal Review (IJR), The Blaze, and The Weekly Standard (Never-Trump hysteric Bill Kristol must be climbing the walls over that one), as well as Judicial Watch, The Geller Report, FrontPage Magazine, Jihad Watch and others makes the agenda clear: Harvard, and the Leftist intelligentsia in general, is trying to stigmatize and marginalize every point of view except its own.

Merrimack College’s Melissa Zimdars and those who take her list seriously at Harvard and elsewhere apparently think that if they call every perspective they dislike “fake news,” they will be able to destroy the influence of such perspectives, and attain the hegemony of their own point of view. The only problem with this is that their own point of view contains so many obvious falsehoods and fallacies (Islam is a religion of peace, poverty causes terrorism, etc.) that it will continue to falter at the bar of reality, and people will continue to look to these so-called “fake news” sites for the truth.

Note also that Zimdars labels Jihad Watch as “Unknown.” This classification she explains thusly: “Unknown (tag unidentified): Sources that have not yet been analyzed (many of these were suggested by readers/users or are found on other lists and resources). Help us expand our resource by providing us information!”

So a site that purports to identify “fake news” relies on unsubstantiated rumor, hearsay and innuendo to make its classifications. Doesn’t that make Zimdars’ Harvard-endorsed list a quintessential example of…fake news?

“Harvard Smears Conservative Media As ‘Fake News,’” by Peter Hasson, Daily Caller, March 10, 2017:

A list of “fake news” websites recommended to students by Harvard University labels almost every leading center-right website as an illegitimate source of news.

The Daily Caller, The Drudge Report, Breitbart News, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Free Beacon, Independent Journal Review (IJR), The Blaze and The Weekly Standard are all on the list, deemed illegitimate for reasons such as “clickbait,” “bias,” or “unreliable.” Liberal news sources like BuzzFeed, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Vox.com and Salon aren’t on the list.

The list, compiled by Merrimack College associate professor Melissa Zimdars, is recommended to students as part of a Harvard library guide on “Fake News, Misinformation, and Propaganda.” The list is linked under a banner titled, “Identifying Fake News Sites.” A comment next to the link calls the document a “Huge list of fake news sites.”

As previously reported, liberal journalists have struggled to come up with a concise definition of “fake news,” even as they declare war on it. Some liberal journalists have lumped in legitimate news organizations with objectively false websites, leading to concerns that a crackdown on “fake news” will be used by liberals to silence their conservative counterparts….

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