I ran across a link to an old CNN Money financial news report from October 24, 2016. Every speculation made in this news report was wrong and illustrates how much “news” is not really reporting on events but is speculation about the future.
One week before the 2016 Presidential election, CNN Money’s report is titled
- If Donald Trump wins, U.S. stocks – and likely world markets – will “almost certainly tank”
- “A Trump victory would be “America’s Brexit.” It would shock U.S. and global markets, much like the surprise, June referendum in the U.K.”
- “Almost everyone on Wall Street currently predicts Hillary Clinton will win”
- “A Trump triumph would likely cause investors to flee stocks to the safety of gold and bonds”.
- “the market is already pricing in a Clinton win”
- Voters like a split government but “there’s a growing fear that the Senate — and even the House — could flip [to Democrats] if voters come out strongly for Democrats.”
- There is a 71% chance Democrats retake the Senate
- “All the ‘market metrics’ point to a Clinton victory
All of the key points were speculation and were wrong.
Do watch the CNN video at the link and do watch the reporter’s body language. (The reporter no longer works for CNN. She now works for the Washington Post.)
Impact on Social Media and Propaganda
These news reports are entertainment stories designed to occupy your time while pretending to inform you.
These stories become the basis for social media conversations as they are Shared, Liked and Commented on via Twitter and Facebook.
These stories whip some into emotional outrage. In reality these stories waste our time – we are not better off for having watched or read a story that ended up being 100% wrong. In fact, we may be worse off.
Speculative Stories Are Easily Spun into High Emotional Impact Stories
Large numbers of news reports are pure speculation about the future; none are ever a scorecard of whether past speculation proved true or false. Speculative stories are entertainment to fill a 24 x 7 news cycle, to keep our eyes glued for the delivery of advertising messages. Reporters can find an authority (“Appeal to authority”) to find any quote they want. Speculative stories are easily spun into high emotion grabbing content, which is perfect for Sharing – or merely to lull our brains into being more susceptible to advertisements.
Bottom line: Learn to recognize speculative news reports and do not take them seriously. Learn to think for yourself and question whether someone is spinning a story to persuade you of something. Avoid sharing speculation on social media – all that does is amplify that you’ve wasted your time and think your friends should waste their time too.
Disclaimer – The U.S. is so polarized that I am required to post a disclaimer: reminder, I did not vote for Trump and the above comments are not pro- or anti-Trump but are a comment about the use of speculation as an editorial technique to inflame our emotions and engage us into social media propaganda sharing.
All charts are from CNN Money, of course.