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How Reliable is the Mainstream Media?

It’s no secret that blockchain has become a frequent conversation topic. Just a couple of years ago finding a cryptocurrency or blockchain related news article in the mainstream media was practically impossible. However, nearly everyone is talking about it today, and almost every news outlet is writing stories covering these topics. With news and information having such a significant impact on cryptocurrency prices, and some contributors turning to these sources for information that may eventually influence their decisions – it is important to ask ourselves just how trustworthy the mainstream media is. In the following article we explore some of the factors affecting their reliability.

Loss of Trust

A lot of recent research shows that when it comes to news, more and more people distrust the mainstream media. When asked why, comments include biases, fake news, and alternative facts as well as a general lack of credibility and the reality that reporters often base the news on their own opinions or emotions. Sensationalism and “clickbait” are also given as negative factors that influence the general lack of trust. Media ownership is also increasingly becoming a problem due to owners trying to push their own agendas onto unsuspecting consumers of news and information.

The situation is even worse when it comes to mainstream media and crypto or blockchain related news. Blockchain is a particularly complex technology, and most news about it is highly specialized. Even the people who are deeply involved in these topics tend to not agree from time to time. So, it is hard to trust reporters who have been simply directed to write about blockchain due to its current popularity and have not dedicated enough time to do their research properly.

Timeliness

Which brings us to our next question – Is the news published by mainstream media really up-to-date? Most mainstream journalists aren’t necessarily informed on the subject, even if they are otherwise familiar with tech content, which is not a surprise given that blockchain and cryptocurrency only recently became mainstream. Before that it was considered an interesting technology, but the general public wasn’t really involved in it, at least not to the extent they currently are.

The news in the cryptocurrency and blockchain community travels at the speed of light. The importance of any subject could quickly change at any time.  And we are not overreacting. Due to slow and rigorous mainstream media editorial policies, news frequently plays catch-up with the actual state of things.

Biases

Research focusing on the tone and frequency of cryptocurrency coverage by the mainstream media in the past shows that some media outlets tend to be biased against cryptocurrencies. When it comes to these topics, a lot of them spread uncertainty and doubt that is often unfounded. This was the case with Bitcoin as coverage by the mainstream media reached its peak at the time when the currency fell from its all-time highest price at the beginning of 2018. While coverage was still high during the build-up to this moment, it wasn’t nearly as frequent as after prices crashed. This pattern can be spotted during other notable price declines as well.

It’s interesting to note that well-known and established mainstream outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Financial Times, and The New York Times were especially severe in their negative reporting on cryptocurrencies. Conversely, the business and financial news outlets that cater more to a younger audience, such as Forbes and Business Insider, had a more positive sentiment in their reporting. The data also shows that conservative media is considerably more negative in their coverage of cryptocurrency topics than their liberal counterparts.

Fake News

As we have already said, the cryptocurrency markets are an ideal target for price manipulation. Therefore, fake news can have very real consequences and can even send whole markets tumbling down. In such cases, even the mainstream media can play its role in spreading misinformation. If we take into account the fact that they have little real knowledge of the blockchain technology, and they seem to report more on negative news, we should probably be very careful when relying too much on conventional news outlets.

There’s a Better Option

In the crypto community being up-to-date is everything. Mainstream journalists often don’t have a real handle on where things actually stand, at least not to the extent where they can write articles to literally help contributors. With that being said, contributors should be very careful of the news they consume. This is even more important if a topic is new for the contributors as well. Doing proper research by yourself can make all the difference.

Nowadays, the Internet gives you the power to actually educate yourself. There is a lot of quality blockchain and cryptocurrency material online. If you combine it with knowledge gained from thought leaders and influencers, you are well on your way to success. But combing through all the sources and all the news out there is hard work, and you can soon find yourself in the information overload trap. That’s where news aggregation comes in. With BLOCKBIRD and our advanced AI algorithms, you can get all the important news tailored exactly to your needs in one place. Combining blogs, social media feeds, and other news sources, you are sure to catch the next crypto project before it blows up. Check out our website and become a part of the BLOCKBIRD movement.  

January 6, 2019, Nejc Horvat