Why fake news spreads

If the public would like to see how the fakest of fake news gets to the mainstream, look no farther than the Russian collusion story, which shows a pattern often repeated in other news stories.

Last fall, we started hearing from many sources that 17 out of 17 intelligence agencies agreed that Russia meddled in the U.S. election of 2016.

It has a lot to do with the pecking order of the press and the overwhelming monopoly power some media outlets have.  Once the Washington Post, the Associated Press, or the New York Times reports something, the other news outlets and news networks pick it up and report it as the truth.

Recently, the AP and the Times have quietly put out a correction saying it wasn't 17 agencies; it was just four.

This correction is not reported much in the media, not the same media that printed the original error from its source, whether the Times, Post, or AP.  So much of the public believes that 17 out of 17 intelligence agencies held a consensus on collusion.

So when the public reads that 100% of the U.S. intelligence community believes this, the public has a right to conclude that some actual research went into the claim before it ever managed to see print.

Obviously, this was not done.  They just made up a story.

Almost all current news on Russian meddling comes from this original story.  It's an echo chamber.  We also know from subsequent news reports that the Democratic National Committee never gave intelligence agencies the right to look at their computer.  Reporters haven't seen the computers any more than intelligence agencies have.  They have no idea if a third party got some access.

And something else the public should know: intelligence agencies show they had the capability of making what appears to have come from one place actually come from someplace else.

This is just talking, of course.  Yet if you look at what the media focus on next, all you will hear about is that President Trump gave a call to Vladimir Putin to get hacking.  I have no idea if it will be the news or the networks.  But the 17 out of 17 intelligence agencies claim was false from the start.

Al Franken is still repeating the 17 out of 17...