Fall of Newspapers, Rise of Misinformation | 60 Minutes Full Episodes

Fall of Newspapers, Rise of Misinformation | 60 Minutes Full Episodes

The Paper (2013) (00:00:11)

  • The New Orleans Times-Picayune, a 175-year-old daily newspaper, has reduced its publication to three days a week, making New Orleans the largest American city without a daily paper.
  • The decision was made by Advanced Publications, the paper's owner, to prevent its complete closure due to economic challenges.
  • The shift towards digital news platforms and the decline in print advertising revenue are significant factors contributing to the challenges faced by newspapers.
  • The restructuring of the Times-Picayune involves a focus on its 24-hour website, resulting in job losses for over 200 employees.
  • Despite an offer from local billionaire Tom Benson to purchase the paper and keep it in print, the owners declined, citing their commitment to preserving quality journalism and the newspaper's tradition.
  • Concerns were raised about the reduced paper's ability to provide the same level of news coverage and watchdog journalism, with critics arguing that an online-only format may compromise the quality and timeliness of reporting.
  • The decline of newspapers has led to a rise in misinformation and has negative consequences for society, as it reduces the watchdog role of the press.

Headlines. Deadlines. Bottom Lines. (2022) (00:12:55)

  • The newspaper industry in the US is declining due to the loss of advertising revenue to tech giants and the acquisition of newspapers by hedge funds and financial firms, which prioritize profits over quality journalism.
  • Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund, has acquired over 200 newspapers, implementing severe cost-cutting measures that have resulted in a significant reduction in newsroom staff, weakening communities by eroding shared experiences and diminishing accountability.
  • The absence of local reporting has been linked to increased corruption and the rise of polarizing and opinionated content from national cable news and social media.
  • Initiatives like Report for America aim to address this issue by sending journalists to underserved communities, while non-profit digital news outlets like the Baltimore Banner are emerging to provide local news coverage.
  • Despite challenges, journalism remains a vital profession with the power to positively impact society, as demonstrated by the work of local reporters like Chris Jones in covering significant events like the January 6th insurrection.

The Facebook Whistleblower (2021) (00:26:08)

  • Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen revealed her identity as the Facebook whistleblower and accused the company of prioritizing its own interests over public well-being.
  • Haugen presented internal research documents showing that Facebook knew about the negative impacts of its platform, including amplifying hate speech, misinformation, and political unrest, but failed to take effective action.
  • Facebook's algorithm change in 2018 prioritized engaging content, even if divisive or polarizing, leading to increased anger and misinformation on the platform.
  • Facebook's prioritization of growth over safety during the 2020 US election contributed to the spread of misinformation and the January 6th Insurrection.
  • Internal Facebook documents reveal that the company's algorithm changes forced European political parties to adopt more extreme policy positions to remain competitive on the platform.
  • Facebook's own research shows that Instagram harms teenage girls, particularly in relation to eating disorders and suicidal thoughts.
  • Haugen filed complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), alleging that Facebook misled investors by not disclosing the negative impacts of its platform.
  • Haugen plans to testify before Congress this week and believes the federal government should impose regulations on Facebook due to its repeated prioritization of profit over user safety.

The Right to be Wrong (2024) (00:39:28)

  • The Supreme Court is considering whether social media platforms have the right to decide what users can say on their sites or if they are more like telephone companies that merely transmit everyone's speech.
  • If the laws are upheld, the platforms could be forced to carry hate speech and false medical information, which they have spent years trying to remove through content moderators.
  • Conservatives claim that big tech companies have engaged in a conspiracy to suppress their speech, leading to downsizing of fact-checking teams and an increase in misinformation on social media.
  • Research has found that there was more misinformation spread by conservatives during the 2020 election, and this misinformation contributed to the events of January 6th.
  • Congressman Jim Jordan believes that the bigger problem is the attack on First Amendment liberties and that there is a censorship industrial complex involving the federal government, tech companies, and academic researchers.
  • The White House has been accused of pressuring social media companies to take down certain tweets, raising concerns about government interference in private companies' content moderation decisions.
  • Social media platforms often ignored researchers' suggestions to remove misinformation, with Twitter responding to only about 30% of flagged content and Facebook likely having a similar response rate.
  • The rise of misinformation threatens democracies worldwide, with the potential to influence elections and undermine public trust in institutions.
  • The right wing in the US has been accused of flooding the internet with misleading information to confuse the public, while also attempting to silence academic researchers who study misinformation.
  • Researchers argue that they are being "chilled" in their work by demands from lawmakers and the potential for legal action, which they see as a violation of their First Amendment rights.

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