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Thread: Cashing In on Left/Right Outrage

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    Moderately Moderating Michinokudriver's Avatar

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    Default Cashing In on Left/Right Outrage

    Buzzfeed | This Is How Your Hyperpartisan Political News Gets Made

    BuzzFeed News traced a group of liberal and conservative websites back to the same company. “The product they’re pitching is outrage,” said one liberal writer.



    After CNN reported White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was “sidelined from television appearances,” both sites whipped up a post — and outrage — for their respective audiences. The resulting stories read like bizarro-world versions of each other — two articles with nearly identical words and tweets optimized for opposing filter bubbles. The similarity of the articles also provided a key clue BuzzFeed News followed to reveal a more striking truth: These for-the-cause sites that appeal to hardcore partisans are in fact owned by the same Florida company.

    ---✂---

    Jonathan Albright, a professor at Elon University, published a detailed analysis of the hyperpartisan and fake news ecosystem. Given the money at stake, he told BuzzFeed News he’s not surprised some of the same people operate both liberal and conservative sites as a way to “run up their metrics or advertising revenue.”
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    Liberal Society’s story about Conway’s alleged TV ban ran with the headline, “White House FINALLY Gives Kellyanne Conway The Boot, Are You Glad?” Things were more grim over at Conservative 101: “White House Just Gave Conway The Boot, Prepare To Be Infuriated.”

    Both stories talked of her being given “the boot,” and both underplayed the fact that her absence from TV was temporary, given she was due to be on Fox News that very night.

    The stories unfolded in tandem from there.

    “Kellyanne Conway has been a terrible communications director for Donald Trump,” were the first words of the story for liberals.

    “Kellyanne Conway has been the go-to communications director for Donald Trump,” said the one for conservatives.

    They embedded the same tweets from Conway and MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski. They used the same quotes from the CNN story. They chose almost the exact same wording to talk about Conway being “banned” from major TV networks. But, critically, the conservative version inserted a reference to the “mainstream liberal media”:



    ---✂---

    The stories read like they were stamped out of the same content machine because they were. Using domain registration records and Google Analytics and AdSense IDs, BuzzFeed News determined that both sites are owned by American News LLC of Miami.

    That company also operates another liberal site, Democratic Review, as well as American News, a conservative site that drew attention after the election when it posted a false article claiming that Denzel Washington endorsed Trump. It also operates GodToday.com, a site that publishes religious clickbait.


    Liberal Society, Democratic Review, and God Today all have the same Google Analytics ID in their source code, which means they are connected. Domain registration records show that American News LLC is the owner of God Today. (The other two sites have private ownership records.)

    Conservative 101 and American News have the same Google AdSense ID and domain records show that the latter is also registered to American News LLC. Corporate records list John Crane and Tyler Shapiro as officers of the company, and Crane is listed in domain ownership records. They did not respond to three emails and a phone message from BuzzFeed News.

    ---✂---

    Grant Stern is a progressive who writes a column for Occupy Democrats and is the executive director of Photography Is Not A Crime. BuzzFeed News sent him American News LLC’s liberal and conservative sites and asked him to comment on the fact that they’re run by the same company.

    “Those websites are marketing websites,” he said after looking at the content, “and the product they’re pitching is outrage.”

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    Senior Member Ambrose Mark's Avatar

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    Default Re: Cashing In on Left/Right Outrage

    Wait, she got fired? News to me.

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    #throwback mikec's Avatar

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    Default Re: Cashing In on Left/Right Outrage

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrose Mark View Post
    Wait, she got fired? News to me.
    Gotta read the article.

    That's pretty interesting Michi, and not completely surprising that it's happening like that. Also a tad disturbing, but it's exactly the world we live in now where people want not "the" news but "their" news.

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    Moderately Moderating Michinokudriver's Avatar

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    Default Re: Cashing In on Left/Right Outrage

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrose Mark View Post
    Wait, she got fired? News to me.
    Like mikec said, it's right there in the article.

    Both stories talked of her being given “the boot,” and both underplayed the fact that her absence from TV was temporary, given she was due to be on Fox News that very night.

    But it also points to another problem -- since this company is pretty clearly just trying to cash in on outrage (they're not true believers but they know how to market to those who are) getting the story up first so it can be shared first is far far FAR more important than, y'know, accuracy.

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