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How "Circular Reporting" Is Still Going On

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As explained in the TEDEd video How False News Can Spread, circular reporting occurs when publication A publishes misinformation, publication B reprints it, and publication A then cites B as the source for the information. It's also considered a form of circular reporting when multiple publications report on the same initial piece of false information, which then appears to another author as having been verified by multiple sources.

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Circular reporting is where a piece of information appears to come from numerous sources, but, in fact, comes only from a single source. This is often the way in which fake news in spread. Circular reporting can occur when, for example, publication A puts out a piece of false information and publication B reprints it. Publication A then cites B as the source of the original information. It is also considered to be a form of circular reporting when multiple publications all report from the same piece of false information. This information then appears, to another author, to be verified by multiple authors. This can make the tracing of sources nearly impossible. Satirical articles are also mistakenly picked up and published as factual.Journalists, media houses and information consumers are all affected by circular reporting and fake news

Journalists are required to be increasingly aware that cited information may not, necessarily, be true and, in order to avoid being discredited, media houses must ensure the information they publish is correct. To stop the spread of fake news, consumers also need to take matters into their own hands and ensure information is correct before sharing it.

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One such fake news that is politically instigated is Jon Stewart from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. The comedy discusses how a murder suspect went without any punishment for the crime of murder although it was clear that he killed someone. This show tries to bring out the fact that mainstream news are sometimes unable to capture the truth about some issues they report on, especially those that are sensitive in national cohesion. In this show, Jon Stewart is anchoring news on this murder issue. Jon Stewart selects some episodes as reported by the mainstream news, and makes the audience understand how some of the most important aspects of news are always ignored by the media. The show offers a critique of authority by challenging the decision that was made by the jury

Although the show is very humorous, it presents a serious political communication. It talks about a case where justice is tampered with because of the racial conflict that has affected this country for a very long time. It is a fact that Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis (Stewart, 2014).

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On balance, it’s difficult to quantify the prevalence of citogenesis incidents involving Wikipedia because the platform doesn’t require citations for new entry of information, so there’s no systematic way to identify each potential circular reference. Instead, many incidents are stumbled upon by users themselves when they come across an eyebrow-raising entry.

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Goodnow, T. (2011). The Daily Show and Rhetoric: Arguments, Issues, and Strategies. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Pub. Group.

Gournelos, T., & Greene, V. (2011). A decade of dark humor: How comedy, irony, and satire shaped post-9/11 America. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Stewart, J. (Director). (2012). From Comedy Central’s the Daily Show Discusses Michael Dunn and Jordan Davis (Motion Picture). The United States: Law Offices of John M. Phillips.

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