So, I recently got a new iPhone and it comes with a nice app called “News” that aggregates news from across the web. Nice, I thought. So I subscribed to things like The Guardian, Slate, Salon, HuffPO, BBC News, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and Al Jazeera, as well as various newspapers like The New York Times, the LA Times, the Times of London, the Washington Post, and a bunch of tech and entertainment like Wired, Scientific American, and Rolling Stone, etc. Great, right?
Not so much. Because (apparently) I also made the mistake of subscribing to generic “Politics.”
Sure, I get interesting stories about new cars, space, computers, and movies, but I am also being literally bombarded by rancid right-wing “News” from the likes of Fox (five stories in the last few days), Newsmax (two stories just today), Breitbart (three stories just today), and others of that ilk. I also seem to get nothing but right-wing stories from other sources, like the New York Times (two Hillary hit pieces just today; no other stories from the Times, at all — though I assumed that at least a few decent stories from the Times would get through), and Staten Island Live with a sycophantic GOP puff piece. Oh, and I also got a puff piece about Tim Kaine speaking Spanish. So, totally fair and balanced, obviously.
In all, just today, I have seen seven positive stories about Donald Trump, three Hillary hit pieces, one “process” story that mentions them both, and one vaguely positive Hillary piece about how a fashion designer is dedicating a show to her. Not a single story about Hillary the candidate.
From my Apple-selected news feed you might easily assume that Donald Trump is running for president unopposed, and Hillary Clinton is public enemy number one and about to be sent up the river for a deservedly long, long time.
In ALL the news feeds I have gotten from Apple in the last two weeks (since I got the phone), I have not seen a single positive story about Hillary, not a single story about Trump that does not paint a glowing picture of him, and not a single story that covers any actual issues, other than immigration (woo-hoo Trump!) and emails and the Clinton Foundation (evil, evil Hillary).
But today marks a watershed.
Today I received to my “news” feed an incredibly vile, vicious, wildly racist “news” story from a site called “Girls ask Guys,” written by a pseudonymous blatherer who calls himself “Rational Male.” In it he defends the Alt-Right, and claims proud membership in it, tells me “Millennials” love Donald Trump because they are no longer buying the whole “racism is bad” or “white guys are the source of all evil in the world,” themes that “liberals” have been harping on for years. Oh, and naked Melania Trump is an icon that America can be proud of. There was more, but I worried I might actually vomit on my shiny new phone.
And the worst part is, there seems to be no way to block the sites I don’t like. You can subscribe, but you can’t block on Apple News (as far as I can tell). At least on Pandora, I can say, no, No! For the love of God, never send me anything by Spin Doctors or Nickelback ever again! And they won’t. Not so with Apple.
Oh, and in all these stories picked "just for me" I have not received even ONE random feed about Hillary (the good candidate who people ought to vote for), about the Democratic party (even though I do subscribe to the generic "Democratic Party" feed), or about about actual issues in the election, or candidate policy from a non-biased, non-pro-Trump viewpoint. Not one. Nada. Zip.
Apparently, in all of United States media, not one reporter has ever written a positive story about Hillary Clinton or the Democratic party. Not one. Ever.
So it appears that Apple only chooses to feed stories sourced from the vilest swamps of right wing trash conspiracy thought for their news feed. If you want to see stories that support Hillary, the Democratic Party, or a positive take on our national election, Apple is not your news source. Even when you subscribe to the news sources that you supposed would give you such stories (only the worst right-wing trash from the “liberal” media).
So, today I am unsubscribing from all political and “straight” news feeds. Goodbye generic “Politics.” Goodbye New York Times and Washington Post. Goodbye any and all news sources originating inside the United States. Either Apple is wildly violating an implied consumer contract that would suggest that they be unbiased in the stories they feed through their news feed, or the US press is even more infected with right-wing bullshit than I ever imagined.
I admit, I tend to hang out at places like DKos and The Guardian because I am likely to get my news from a viewpoint that I appreciate, and the Beeb and Guardian because I am more likely to get actual facts, devoid of opinion (right or left). But a dive into the fever swamps of Apple’s news feed has been an eye opener. No wonder Trump is gaining in the polls. The media (and Apple, apparently), is running his campaign for him.
And, yes, I am also writing to Apple to ask them about this. But I wanted to rant a bit and ask if anyone else is experiencing this same sort of biased and right-wing news from their Apple News feed? Anybody?