By Chand Bellur
February 10, 2020 at 6:51 p.m. PDT
- News organizations are typically operated by corporations or funded by corporate donors.
- Apple, Google and Facebook have all pledged to verify accuracy of news content.
- Corporations often slant news coverage to enhance profitability.
Apple, Google and Facebook to Verify News Accuracy
We live in a time where much of the news media cannot be trusted. Online, amateurs create news content, often pulling facts from thin air. Professional journalists often lack fundamental academic understanding of concepts such as political economy, macroeconomics or international relations.
It gets worse. Beyond the clueless, inexperienced or under-educated, there are news purveyors who begin with an agenda, producing nothing but deception. They take advantage of the public’s inclination for linear thought. If the economy is slightly better, these pundits claim it’s due to the work of one individual. Economies are far too complex to be credited or blamed on any one individual.
Rising to the occasion, corporations like Apple, Google and Facebook pledge to keep our news free of bias. Unfortunately, these corporations benefit from policy that’s often antithetical to public interest.
Apple’s 2020 Election Coverage
Apple’s latest foray into news involves the News app. The Cupertino company promises to give readers an unbiased view of 2020 election coverage. Providing news from trusted sources, Apple’s News app claims to provide reliable and accurate coverage of the election.
Unfortunately, Apple is part of the 2020 election. The company actively donates to political campaigns, albeit indirectly, usually catering to every politician that stands a chance of holding office. Most notably, the News app offers little to no coverage of Andrew Yang. The candidate has been largely ignored by the corporate media, due to his radical policies and Asian heritage.
Furthermore, the News app provides simplistic profiles of candidates with campy caricatures. Bernie Sanders is repeatedly called a socialist or “the ‘S’ word”, with the “democratic” prefix diminished. His profile is substantially smaller and less appealing than Biden’s or Trump’s, yet polls indicate the Vermont senator is extremely popular.
In 2016, Apple indirectly donated to both Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s campaign. Although the Apple affiliated donors gave over 100 times more to Clinton, Trump took a sizable contribution from Apple donors.
2020 once again has Apple’s affiliated donors providing funding for everyone from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump.
It’s important to note that Apple does not directly donate to these candidates. Donations are made through affiliated political action groups (PACs) and employees.
Foxes Guarding the Hen House?
The problem with tech corporations curating news is that they stand to profit from political manipulation. Any candidate that may be harmful to their bottom line could become a media target.
Tim Cook himself is known to intrude into politics. For years, he has sought a reduction in the corporate tax rate. In 2016, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump supported a decrease in corporate taxes. He has also championed LGBTQ issues, which pits liberals against religious fundamentalists and conservatives.
Apple News gathers 2020 election coverage mostly from corporate sources. All of the major networks are participating, with the exception of public broadcasting, which is considered to be the least biased source of news. Aside from ProPublica, Apple News is simply a wrapper around the corporate news media. Unfortunately, this shiny wrapper may have Americans unwittingly trusting biased news.