A contributing factor to confusion is the way news articles often lose their context when spread on Twitter feeds and other social media, Jamieson said. Opinion and news stories live in the same space, sometimes clearly marked, sometimes not.
One Facebook feed, for example, linked to a Los Angeles Times article with the headline, “In a strikingly ignorant tweet, Trump gets almost everything about California wildfires wrong” and gave no indication that it was an opinion piece.
For many people, the editors and news producers who were once media gatekeepers have been replaced by opinionated uncles and old high-school classmates who spend all their time online. Russian trolls harnessed the power of these changes in news consumption before most people realized what was happening. “The truth,” Ward says, “is no match for emotional untruths.”
News organizations have never been particularly good at either working together or telling the public what it is that they do. The first collective effort by journalists to fight back against Trump’s attacks came this week, when a Boston Globe editor organized newspapers across the country to editorialize against them. That collection promptly was assessed by some as playing into Trump’s hands by suggesting collusion on the part of “mainstream media.”
In an ideal world, Ward says, people would have an opportunity to learn media literacy. And he’d have fewer uneasy cocktail party encounters after he meets someone new and announces that he’s an expert in journalism ethics.
“After they laugh, they talk about some person spouting off on Fox or something,” he says. He has to explain: That may be some people’s idea of journalism, but it’s not news reporting.
Prominent cartoonist Satish Acharya quit Mail Today as the editor decided to drop his cartoon on Modi and China. Acharya rose to prominence as a cartoonist for Midday tabloid and enjoys a wide reach among the masses and even politicians. On Sunday, he said in a Facebook post, that has since gone viral, that the editor chose to carry a photo instead of his cartoon titled ‘Claws!’, which showed China’s red dragon talons spreading across South Asia while Modi stands listlessly.
In 2015, Acharya was featured as one among 24 thinkers named by Forbes India as the best India-based intellectuals who are well regarded outside India. His cartoon on the Charlie Hebdo attack was carried by many popular international media houses.
In an interview with Sabrang India, Acharya spoke about the current trend of attacks on journalists, freedom of expression and the BJP IT Cell.
“I don’t know if the editor was influenced by the BJP IT Cell where people monitor the media but I have seen a pattern in editors rejecting cartoons pertaining to cows, lynching, Modi, Amit Shah and more,” he said.
He also said that when he made similar cartoons on the UPA government, something on this scale never happened. “I made many cartoons on the UPA regime when they were in power and something on this scale never happened. The amount of abuse I have received online is nowhere close to some criticism I used to receive back then. Maybe it is because Congress did not have an IT Cell. The attacks are very organised on social media. They pick someone and target them relentlessly. I have blocked so many abusers and reported countless others on Facebook and Twitter, but they come back with different names and id. When you’re living under surveillance state, you’re being watched all the time,” he said.
The Government of India today informed the Supreme Court that it has withdrawn plans for setting up a Social Media Communications Hub. This comes just weeks after the SC had raised concerns about monitoring online data terming the proposal akin to creating a ‘surveillance state’. The apex court had issued a notice to the GOI on a plea by TMC legislator Mahua Moitra.