Accuracy in Media

After the Iowa Democratic Party delayed the state’s caucus results by almost a day due to an app’s failures, the media’s attention turned to cybersecurity and online disinformation rumors. The media quickly blamed Republicans and conservatives online for spreading false rumors about alleged voter fraud in Iowa’s caucuses, as in the case of NBC News.

NBC News published an analysis headlined, “Wake-up call: Iowa caucus disinformation serves as warning about 2020 election,” which analysis admitted that their prior narrative of foreign interference and disinformation was flawed because “Americans proved perfectly capable of spreading disinformation on their own” during the caucuses.

According to NBC News, the most notable disinformation claims during the Iowa caucuses were floated by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch.

Judicial Watch claimed eight Iowa counties had more voter registrations than the number of citizens in those counties. The Iowa secretary of state debunked the claim, but the Epoch Times and other outlets still published content on the claim.

The news outlet also blamed the Trump campaign for spreading disinformation by hinting that the Iowa caucuses were “rigged.”

But NBC News briefly acknowledged a disinformation rumor started by liberal and progressive activists online.

“The Judicial Watch claim was far from the only piece of misleading news to circulate around the Iowa caucuses,” the report said. “Just days earlier, conspiracy theories were pushed by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and entrepreneur Andrew Yang over the canceled Des Moines Register poll.”

The piece dedicated multiple paragraphs to the rumors started by conservatives, but only one sentence to the progressive rumors.

The news outlet did not go into as much detail about these rumors compared to those started by conservatives. NBC News exhibited unfair treatment and a lack of balance in focusing on the disinformation rumors began by conservatives.

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