Author: SANJA VASIC
Journalist and Editor in Foreign Affairs
False news is the only direct link between the American presidential elections and Macedonia. The headlines such as “The Pope endorsed Donald Trump for President”, “Hillary Clinton will be arrested on paedophilia charges”, “Michelle Obama is a man” and much more absurd news was created by false websites from the small Macedonian town Veles, mostly by anonymous teenagers. With thousands of shares on the social media, it flooded mostly the American media, but it was also published by the Macedonian media, mostly portals, without checking the facts. One 16 year old owner of such a website stated for the British Channel 4 that his main motive was profit, but he also realised that: “People are hungry for news”.
The public in Macedonia is hungry for news on the presidential elections in the USA and their geopolitical impact; it received sketchy information that is often not properly framed, and there was no thorough analysis in the domestic media. Stories taken over from the American and other foreign media were published without being contextualised for the domestic public. Such articles, as well as all other news items on foreign policy, unless it is a very big event, are usually aired at the end of the TV news or published on the last pages of the newspapers, while there is no specialised foreign policy show in the traditional media.
International reporting is practically omitted or minimised in the media which leaves space for sketchy information, as well as speculations and manipulations.
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