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How truth lost its meaning in Trump's America

The conservative news media and the mainstream are at war over who is “fake news” as Americans' trust the press hits a record low.

by Olivia Awad
Mar 30 2018, 6:00pm

In Trump’s America, half the population lives in a world where the “crooked media” tells “fake news” made up of “alternative facts,” while the other half fights to maintain public trust in traditional media.

Much of the conflict stems from the parallel online universe that led up to the 2016 election: Clinton and Trump supporters really don't listen to each other on Twitter, according to an analysis from the Electome project at the MIT Media Lab provided exclusively to VICE News.

“At least on Twitter, we see that there is a separation of where the journalists, and who the journalists are following, and no one is really listening or plugged in to this Trump-supporter graph.” Eugene Yi, a data-scientists at the lab told VICE News.

Political opinions have always been polarizing, but the 2016 election saw the divide grow as formerly fringe bloggers, like Milo Yiannopolus and Mike Cernovich, seized the golden opportunity to speak directly to Trump supporters, flooding the internet with false information.

And on a larger level, the now-infamous data targeting company Cambridge Analytica allegedly used mass amounts of personal information on the internet to manipulate voters and spread pro-Trump news, no matter the factual evidence, which may have helped win the election for him.

With Trump in office, the conservative news media and the mainstream are now at war over who constitutes “fake news,” as Americans' trust in the press hit a record low of 32 percent. And President Trump's personal crusade against the traditional press is only deepening the public divide.

However, "the president doesn't get to decide what the truth is," CNN's Jim Acosta, a common target of Trump's criticisms, told VICE News. To decide who does, VICE's Isobel Yeung met some of the people on the front lines in the battle for truth.

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