Plea to the traditional news media : make your content free and accessible to all again in order to fight the spread of misinformation

Internet news media are more and more adopting subscription based model. Understandably, news media need to survive to operate online, faced with the decline of the print medium. And most papers I would consider absolutely reasonable and affordable, $50 / year for Atlantic (thats $4 / mo) its a no brainer for someone who enjoys sharp journalism.

But can’t help to wonder if this shift, how ever founded it can be as a business model aimed to survive amidst the decline of traditional news media, doesn’t contribute to the rise of misinformation and fake news through social media. Unfortunately when sharing articles from such newspaper, most people can’t access the content of these articles. But whatever is free (and potentially fake) is available to all to read.

In these dire times, ahead of November which is so crucial to the democracy of this country, and in light of these pandemic times, I’d urge the Times and others to revery to a free internet model.

On the front-page today is an inspiring piece about Maya Moore who sacrificed her career for social change, to help free an innocent man from Prison. And the piece rightfully asks what are we all willing to sacrifice for a cause, in the name of change. Because it is the only way to see change happen.

Equally pertinent, pieces written about Social Media platforms and their contribution to the misinformation and fake news scourge. And how advertisers are pulling out their budgets from Facebook amongst others, in order to fight these platforms complacency to let lies spread.

So i’m asking you, the NYT and other pillar outlets for ethical journalism, what are you willing to sacrifice in order to play your part as a trustful news entity in these special times and fight the spread of misinformation.

I’m an avid reader, and always thankful for the level of intelligence displayed by its readership along its editorial board. But I sulk as I read through the articles, knowing that unfortunately we are all, just preaching to the choir. And without an open door policy, this thoughtful reflection and much needed accurate information, will stay just here, where its the least needed within our closed door. When it should be reaching out to those who only access news and information through the lens of social media, littered with false information.

It isn’t just here. Mexico for exemple, in the light of this pandemic is grappling as well, along with America with the entropic rise of misinformation to no avail. How can we reverse the course of this scourge once again, as much as I would prefer not to use a war analogy, this looks just like it in terms of urgency.

Or we can be complacent too, believing that everything is going to work out comes November and in the future, that we can trust the American people to make the right choice for themselves. That would be true, if they weren’t consistently exposed to lies, manipulated by a powerful propaganda blinding their sight. We need a wake up call, to open their eyes and expose them to the truth. Just like the Resistance played a role in Europe to fight nazi propaganda and inform the people about what was really going on behind the lies, free underground newspaper then was one of the tools they had to diffuse the information that people needed to make the right choice for themselves. And so likewise now, it is really the only way to reach out to all the American people and expose them to the truth.

If I share a traditional news media article on social media now, only a few with a subscription will be able to read it. Most likely only those, who already know the truth. Find the error.

So I thought about creating my own resistance news entity to diffuse the truth. But it’d be like a drop in the ocean at this point with no traction. I’ll still try, but if traditional news media were willing to take up the fight, their original fight and what news media stands for, the purpose it serves, it will undoubtedly be more powerful, efficient and successful.

If anything, I’d ask you to authorize sharing articles as PDFs or copy / paste of the text with a link to your original content as all of us take the fight into our own hands, to share your content and spread the truth. Thank you

Another request or suggestion to the traditional news media like the New York Times, would be to have a free section on your sites dedicated to debunking misinformation and disinformation / propaganda that takes the form of fake news distributed mainly through social media, but on other websites as well. With the traction of your established and heavy traffic websites, it would at least allow Search Engines to quickly reference your content. The research to debunk the mis- and dis-information is probably already done by journalists to feed their articles, so why not publish and diffuse this part, like a public database of facts check that can benefit from your high traffic traction, and make it accessible by all. Meaning free for all and without login required for data capture.