PCB007 Magazine

PCB-Jan2017

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74 The PCB Magazine • January 2017 This month's column was written a month after a historic U.S. presidential election that pit- ted a business billionaire that previously never ran for public office versus a 30-year public ser- vant who was the first female nominee of a ma- jor political party. As the state-by-state results rolled in late into the evening and stretched into the wee hours of the morning, most major media outlets begrudgingly declared the win- ner. Like a hanging chad blowing in the wind, each outlet's entourage of political pundits was bewildered and began questioning, "How did the polls get it sooo wrong?" To a much lesser and refreshing extent, admissions of honesty were expressed that ranged from, "We blew it," to "Let's see if the boss renews my contract." Many hypotheses were and continue to be offered as to the "surprising results." Several invoked the fragile reliability of casino betting odds (no joking!), whereas most revolved around the media and "fake news," as reported by The New York Times. On this last prognostication, claims flourished that fake news posted on Facebook (and spread to other social media channels) potentially influenced the election results. Given that well over 50% of those eligible to vote in the U.S. obtain all or part of their news via social media, such claims are disturbing at a minimum when you consider that anyone can write "news" and post it for virtually anyone that chooses to read—and believe—it. by Barry Lee Cohen LAUNCH COMMUNICATIONS Fake News: It Could Happen to You LAUNCH LETTERS

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