Disturbing coded language in HubPages email

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  1. TimArends profile image89
    TimArendsposted 5 years ago

    It’s always worrying when an Internet property you participate in is bought out by another entity, and the  acquisition of hubpages is no exception.  In the past, I have seen the philosophy and concept of a community I participated in completely changed when it was bought out.

    The recent email I got entitled “HubPages Weekly: Maven Updates” did not alleviate my fears. In the email,  which describes the “3-Way Power Merger” in which “Maven to Acquire Say Media and HubPages; CEOs Talk About the Future,” said: “The goals of this powerful new coalition are to provide highly curated content of excellent quality for readers (while fighting fake news)”

    The use of the term “fake news“ is extremely disturbing, as this is a term that has become highly politicized, having become popularized after the 2016 presidential election. It is generally aimed as a weapon (or should I say a bludgeon) against conservative news and opinion.

    As background information, the term “fake news“ was popularized after the mainstream media so badly bungled their predictions on the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, with the Huffington post famously giving Hillary Clinton a 98% chance of victory.

    The mainstream media, which is heavily left wing and is seeing its influence diminishing in the wake of more conservative online media outlets, then responded by popularizing the term “fake news,“ and used other underhanded tricks as an attack on the competition in an attempt to undercut them.  These tactics included Facebook suppressing conservative outlets in members’ news feeds, YouTube demonetizing conservative videos or even videos with any controversial content whatsoever, and other disingenuous tricks.

    I see this statement by Maven as coded language meaning that conservative news and opinion will be discriminated against  by Maven. Surely they are not so ignorant or ill-informed not to realize the political nature and content of this term, So I can only assume their choice of this politically loaded term is deliberate.

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image90
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I think you're way off base here and are reading much more into that email than is necessary.  The term "fake news" began with Donald Trump's continual bashing of the news media and continues to this day.  Before that, we never even heard that term.  You make a lot of assumptions about the mainstream media which simply aren't true, so perhaps it is you who are the biased party and not all of the groups you mention.  i strongly doubt if Maven is going to discriminate against well written and well researched articles.  It would be against their financial interests to do so.

      1. Urbane Chaos profile image90
        Urbane Chaosposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        I agree with Timetraveler here. 

        To me, it sounds like Maven is looking for quality articles vs. those that don't offer anything of real value.  With a lot of my stuff, I've been requested to add sources and verify my topics before they can be moved over.  I do that anyway with for-print publications, just never thought of it here.  But, it makes sense.  People want to read content that can be trusted.

        I don't think either liberal or conservative views will be punished, but at the same time, those views have to be well thought out and researched, with verifiable information included. 

        I have concerns over the mergers as well, but it doesn't have anything to do with content.  My concerns have more to do with structuring, earnings, and ownership retention.  So far, my concerns have been alleviated for the time being.  Just have to keep watch and do what is best for your business.

      2. greenmind profile image96
        greenmindposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Agree, Timetreveler2.

      3. TimArends profile image89
        TimArendsposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        timetraveler2 wrote:
        The term "fake news" began with Donald Trump's continual bashing of the news media and continues to this day.

        Not true. Trump picked up on the “fake news” appellation AFTER the mainstream media started popularizing the term, as a way of attempting to “fight back” or use the media’s term against them. If you do a frequency search of the term “fake news” in the media/internet, I think you’ll find use of the phrase exploded after November 2016 (right after the elections) and it wasn’t due to Trump. It was due to the media trying to cover their rear ends for their very shoddy reporting and polling in the months and weeks leading up to the election. The term is pure politics.

        1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image90
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

          I researched this after seeing your post and found that "fake news" began with the Hearst corporation.  However, the term was not popularized or even recognized by most people until Trump started bandying it around.  In so doing, he has undermined the credibility of most, if not all, journalists, has confused the general population and has created innumerable problems for this country.

          I have seen things on FB and other social media outlets that clearly are wildly untrue, but to say that all journalism is false is ridiculous. 

          Any responsible person checks out information before widely repeating or supporting it...but therein lies the problem.  We have become a nation of sheep who are happy to take the easy road and make our decisions based on opinions rather than facts.

          What you have stated here is your opinion, but it is not fact.  I come from the age of Walter Cronkite and similar wonderful news reporters, and I continue today with those such as Rachel Maddow who makes it a point to show documentation for just about every thing she discusses. 

          I learned a long time ago that people who make sweeping statements about any group are always biased and way off the mark.

    2. TessSchlesinger profile image60
      TessSchlesingerposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Wow! My jaw dropped as I read that lot.

      Um. It was Donald Trump who, when the wires exposed his lies began to undermine them by calling them fake news.

      The media is predominantly owned by conservative and right wing billionaires. Because they're there to make money, they have newspapers that cater to both left and right.

      Wasn't it Sinclair Broadcast Group - a very conservative group - who has forced its journalists to repeat how fake news is destroying American's understanding of what is going on - and then proceeded to produce fake news. Evil.

      Not sure if you've seen this video, but it's from a British bipartisan publication showing how a far-right news channel that caters to one third of America is using propaganda to indoctrinate its viewers. That is pretty scary. Interesting video, though.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-ente … 85931.html

      That said, Maven is not talking about 'fake news.' It's talking about professionally written articles.  The reason it's necessary is so that advertisers can be assured that they aren't on spammy sites.

      1. theraggededge profile image96
        theraggededgeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        LOL, Tess, The Independent (and its readership) is far from being 'bipartisan'. It's firmly Liberal Left. Anti-trump, anti-Brexit, anti-Conservative.

        An Ipsos MORI poll estimated that in the 2010 general election, 44% of regular readers voted Liberal Democrat, 32% voted Labour,[49] and 14% voted Conservative, compared to 23%, 29%, and 36%, respectively, of the overall electorate.

        1. TessSchlesinger profile image60
          TessSchlesingerposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          The Independent (and its readership) is far from being 'bipartisan'. It's firmly Liberal Left. Anti-trump, anti-Brexit, anti-Conservative.

          Liberals are anti-brexit??? You have a short memory. Cameron resigned because he was anti-brexit and brexit one. Theresa May supported anti-brexit. The entire Tory party was anti-brexit and lost.

          On what planet do you live?

          If I recall, David Cameron stepped down because Brexit won..

          By being anti-brexit, the Independent supported the Tory viewpoit. Very much conservative.

          The Guardian is left. The Mail is Far-right. The Telegraph is right. The Independent is somewhere in the middle of all that.

          1. theraggededge profile image96
            theraggededgeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Yes, of course the Liberal party is anti-Brexit, Tess. Using multiple question marks does not change anything. The Liberals are still calling for either a 2nd referendum or for Brexit to be halted.

            And of course 'heir-to-Blair' David Cameron ran away because Brexit won. He was under pressure to hold a referendum by the eurosceptics in the Conservative party and the snaffling of 4 million Conservative (& Labour) votes by UKIP.  Even his £9 million overspend on a pro-EU leaflet didn't work for him.

            I said the Independent is anti-conservative, anti-Brexit... and that's plain to see by any one with half a brain, just by reading the headlines in their politics section. I did not say they outright supported the Labour party or even the Liberal party. It's far more subtle (not) than that. The tone of a publication is evidenced by its reader comments. Spend a little time at the Independent's comments and you'll soon learn exactly where it stands, politically.

            This is from the Independent itself,

            "On the eve of the 2010 general election, The Independent supported the Liberal Democrats, arguing that "they are longstanding and convincing champions of civil liberties, sound economics, international co-operation on the great global challenges and, of course, fundamental electoral reform. These are all principles that this newspaper has long held dear. That is why we argue that there is a strong case for progressively minded voters to lend their support to the Liberal Democrats wherever there is a clear opportunity for that party to win""

            Not so independent, eh?

            They even removed their front page banner in 2011 "Until September 2011, the paper described itself on the banner at the top of every newspaper as "free from party political bias, free from proprietorial influence"

            The Tories have always been split over the EU, right from the beginning.

            So, yes, Tess, I do inhabit planet earth. I do live in the UK and I do read the newspapers.

            The Independent is liberal-left leaning. And so is its readership. Has been for a long time.

            Oh and here's a quote from the liberal-left BBC regarding the Liberal party's stance on Brexit:

            "In short: The Liberal Democrats are strongly pro-EU, and have promised to stop what they call a "disastrous hard Brexit".

            How they see Brexit: Central to the Lib Dems' offer is another referendum - this time on the terms of the final Brexit deal - in which the party would campaign to stay in the EU.

            The Lib Dems also say they will fight with "every fibre of their being" to protect existing aspects of EU membership, such as the single market, customs union and the free movement of people."

            Anti-Brexit enough for you, my dear?

            1. TessSchlesinger profile image60
              TessSchlesingerposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              I'm sorry. I can't even read that.

              You're out of touch with reality.

              Cameron called for the referendum because he thought leaving the European Union. Cameron was a Tory - conservative.

              When he lost, he resigned.

              As the leader of the Conservatives, he reflected conservative values. Conservatives did NOT want to leave the European Union.

              Theresa May was Anti-Brexit before Brexit won.

              Sorry, Brexit and anti-Brexit are predominantly not liberal and conservative issues. They are accross the board. Partisans from both sides support either.

              Ciao. You're clearly a conservative who sees a liberal (not a dirty word) under every bush.

              1. theraggededge profile image96
                theraggededgeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                Wow big_smile Sorry you couldn't understand what I wrote. I even broke it up into small chunks.

                I'm 'out of touch with reality'? You are funny.

                Do remind me, how many Conservatives voted against the implementation of Article 50? Oh, it's okay, I remember now. It was one. Just one. Ken Clarke.

                I've only voted Conservative once in my life and that was a very long time ago, so I've no idea how you managed to extrapolate my political leanings. In any case, you are completely wrong. I vote for my best local candidate, whatever their party. I view mainstream politics as entertainment.

                So how come you turned a two line comment on the very obvious political stance of an online publication into a bunch of personal insults?

                Is it just because I happen to disagree with your word, 'bipartisan' to describe the non-indy Indy? Or because I pointed out that the Lib-Dems are about as anti-Brexit as it's possible to be? Or that the Conservatives are split over Brexit? All three are undeniable facts and you can easily check their veracity.

                Just because someone disagrees with you Tess, doesn't mean they are out of touch with reality. Or a Conservative, or that they live on a different planet.

      2. TimArends profile image89
        TimArendsposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        tessschlesinger wrote:
        “The media is predominantly owned by conservative and right wing billionaires. Because they're there to make money, they have newspapers that cater to both left and right.”

        Wrong, wrong and wrong. The establishment or “legacy” media of newspapers, magazines and TV news almost entirely leans left. Follow the trail of ownership and you’ll find that 90% of news outlets are owned by just 6 mega-corporations (none of which describes themselves as conservative). They are the ones who originally pushed the term “fake news,” a reference mainly to internet reportage.


        1. TessSchlesinger profile image60
          TessSchlesingerposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          These are all public companies. How are they left leaning?  Fox is owned by Disney, isn't it? How is Fox on the left. Sinclair is far-right. It is owed privately and caters to 1/3 of American households/

          All public owning companies cater to both left and right. That is how they make money.

          Rupert Murdock is about as far right as one can go.

          The Daily Mail is far-right.

    3. poppyr profile image94
      poppyrposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I actually agree with you,TimArends, but I'm willing to give Maven the benefit of the doubt here and hope that by "fake news," they just mean "incorrect information."

    4. Christy Kirwan profile image94
      Christy Kirwanposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      HubPages does not currently censor, and we don't intend to start censoring well-written, factually accurate content, regardless of what political perspective (if any) it is written from. The personal views of HP staff have never played into what type of voices we wish to allow on our platform (with the standard and usual exception that hate speech and threats are prohibited).

      We believe Maven shares this commitment to being an open platform, ideology-wise, which is one of many reasons we think the companies are such a good fit. If you look on their Politics/Causes page, you'll see that Maven provides a platform for everything from the Being Feminist blog to the Blue Lives Matter blog. We don't expect this to change when the companies merge.

      1. TimArends profile image89
        TimArendsposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Then I’m sorry Maven used the politically charged term “fake news.” The whole purpose of free speech and a free marketplace of ideas is in trusting the People to have the wisdom and common sense to determine what is fake news and what isn’t, without having establishment gatekeepers tell us what is and what is not before we have a chance to see it.

        This is why recent actions by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other tech companies to decide what is and is not “fake news” is so disturbing. That was originally supposed to be the whole purpose of social media, letting the users decide what is and is not true and correct in the free marketplace of ideas.

        The term “fake news”used to be perfectly legitimate, and referred to flat earth theories, “Batboy,” the Weekly World News and so on, but the term has suddenly exploded in use at the same time it was expanded to include political views some people don’t like, which means it has been politicized (like the term “hate speech”) and is now a worthless term.

  2. Cre8tor profile image92
    Cre8torposted 5 years ago

    I'll triple that notion and add that I believe they weren't referring to political content but unreliable content in general, regardless of topic. I think there will be a bit more insight from fellow hubbers here soon.

  3. Wesman Todd Shaw profile image84
    Wesman Todd Shawposted 5 years ago

    The mainstream media is exceedingly slanted towards nonsensical leftist uselessness. That said, I had thought they co-opted the term from Donald Trump, who is very correct in calling out US mass media for being crap. Trump is only saying what everyone already knew, and the sinking ratings of Hollywood self congratulations for nothing awards shows, and the lack of faith in news media in general just provide some data to back it all up.

    This Hubpages stuff is not news though. Oh, you can publish whatever you want within the accepted boundaries, but news is here today, and useless tomorrow. I've hated 'the media' my entire life. I have never felt like mainstream media represented me, my values, or my interests much at all. So I suppose I feel compelled to do my thing here in some feeble attempt to right the wrong.

    ....but I'm not going to waste my efforts writing news things. It's always been advised to steer clear of news type articles here. You can do politics without it being news.

  4. Chriswillman90 profile image89
    Chriswillman90posted 5 years ago

    Let's not turn this into another left vs. right  brute fest please. The fight against fake news is simply that, "fake" news meaning any article or video that provides false information, click-bait or alternative facts.

    The term may have been popularized by the Trump administration but it has been alive for way longer than that. A lot of it stems from social media and Facebook in particular that values engagement and clicks over factual information.

    Accurate, valuable information is quickly becoming a sought after asset with the spread of news-bots, biased media, and false claims online. That's what Maven and Hubpages were addressing.

    1. poppyr profile image94
      poppyrposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      You nailed it smile

  5. paradigmsearch profile image60
    paradigmsearchposted 5 years ago

    Here's a cheerful thought....

    Sooner or later, Google is going to figure out how MVEN-HP-SM are doing so well. And when Google does figure it out, Google will then kill them just like they killed HP in the past. Why? Because that is what Google does. It's only a matter of time, so enjoy it while it lasts.

    1. Wesman Todd Shaw profile image84
      Wesman Todd Shawposted 5 years agoin reply to this


      Maybe Google will be kept busy with their own infractions against decency. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/09/busi … laint.html

    2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image90
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Why would Google want to kill the goose that laid the golden egg?  They are making money from this site, so if it's successful, what's the problem?  I don't agree with your view on this, but time will tell.

  6. paradigmsearch profile image60
    paradigmsearchposted 5 years ago

    Same thing not only happened to HP in the past, same thing also happened to my website. It started doing extremely well, then suddenly a sharp and permanent drop. Bottom line is Google won't let any single entity dominate, not even Wikipedia.

  7. Dean Traylor profile image94
    Dean Traylorposted 5 years ago

    Fake news goes beyond ideology and often its poor quality if very noticeable. While many will debate when and where it started, I can say with certainty that I've dealt with it since I started writing on the Internet more than a decade.
    In fact, many of my articles derive from debunking some of the most outlandish stuff out there. My experience is that most of it is based on conspiracy theories, the paranormal, pseudo-science and questionable bloggers with dubious background. Most importantly, much of it can't be verified as being true.  And, yes, many of them are poorly written. Thus, agree with Urbane that this is more likely endorse and foster better quality of articles.

  8. UnnamedHarald profile image93
    UnnamedHaraldposted 5 years ago


  9. Kenna McHugh profile image88
    Kenna McHughposted 5 years ago

    The news media needs advertisers and the advertisers tell the news media what to report.  Started with Hearst and it's called yellow journalism.  Any smart individual has known about fake news before Trump coined the word. Why perpetuate the noise when we know who controls the news. Let it be and write truthful articles and shame the devil.

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image90
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      That's kind of our job as writers, isn't it?  Also, You're making a number of broad generalizations with your statement.  You need to read this article so that you get your facts straight.
      https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog … -fake-news
      Finally, since I think I'm a fairly smart person and have been around for almost 75 years, I take offense at you stating that "smart individuals" knew about "fake news" before Trump started using it.  I have a Master's Degree but apparently have been living under a rock (according to you) because prior to his ongoing bashing of the press, no, i did NOT know thee even was such a thing as fake news.  Furthermore, I think painting all journalism with the same brush is biased and unfair. ..and to those of you who have stated your mistrust of the media...I would advise you that undermining the credibility of the free press (which includes the media) is what the world's most heinous leaders do in  order to control their people.  Do you really want that for our country?  Do you really want to make everybody mistrust the press and the media?  If so, you might want to rethink your positions because I, for one, do not want to spend the rest of my days not knowing what is going on in my world because people like you have chosen to ruin the credibility of the press and the media to the point where nobody believes anything and the world becomes a place where chaos rules.

  10. Sue Adams profile image95
    Sue Adamsposted 5 years ago

    Why do you want to politicize?

    That means conservative news is fake news. But I thought the Donald meant that democrat news was fake news. Your statement doesn't make any sense. It sounds like it's coming from a paranoid conservative.

    Neither Maven nor Hubapes writers in general are into politics. On the contrary. Most of us here are trying very hard to deliver true (well written and thoroughly researched), non-political, new and interesting knowledge with articles in a large variety of subjects in an attempt to serve and educate the public.

    As long as people keep fighting between left or right, they will remain blind to more important things in life that need to be addressed, exposed and resolved for the good of mankind  as a whole.

    Unite, do not divide.

    1. Wesman Todd Shaw profile image84
      Wesman Todd Shawposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Pardon moi, but when you were anointed the person to speak for the majority, I must have been absent. When the word 'mankind' is used, and this has always been the case, women were included. Everyone was included in that term.

      This is not me speaking for anyone, it's just a fact. So who is being divisive here? From my view, it would be you.

      If you can point me to a time and a place where the word 'mankind' excluded any sort of humans, then I would be much obliged, and would then further consider your cosmology. Until such a time, I will go on believing the word always included everyone, and that by saying 'mankind,' and 'womankind,' that you have directly divided mankind into two sections, and from there, I'm sure, 99875 genders will also follow, and no, I shall not learn those pronouns.

      A united Hubpages network sounds like hell to me. It is the differences in views that make any sort of thing worth reading. If everyone had the same sodding view, then what point could there even be for reading anything?

    2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image90
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 5 years agoin reply to this


  11. Sue Adams profile image95
    Sue Adamsposted 5 years ago

    My statement about the majority of hubbers not being into politics (or religion for that matter) is based on the fact that we voted for the political and religious forums to be excluded from the main forum page long ago.
    I've taken the word "womankind" out of my post.

    1. Wesman Todd Shaw profile image84
      Wesman Todd Shawposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, a little bit.

  12. Sue Adams profile image95
    Sue Adamsposted 5 years ago

    I found this in my FaceBook feed:


    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image90
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      LOVE IT!  You've just allayed all of my fears about how to pay for nursing home care if it becomes necessary.  Great post!...very funny, too.

    2. liesl5858 profile image83
      liesl5858posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I like this.

  13. HoneyBB profile image92
    HoneyBBposted 5 years ago

    I'm sure you misunderstood the intention behind filtering out "fake news". It certainly cannot have anything to do with silencing conservative viewpoints as you would see if you go to the Maven's website. One of the websites they integrated into it is called The Resurgent and it's a website based on conservative viewpoints.

  14. Kenna McHugh profile image88
    Kenna McHughposted 5 years ago

    Thank you for the clarification, Christy.

  15. Wesman Todd Shaw profile image84
    Wesman Todd Shawposted 5 years ago

    Sweet. Roaming Millennial is a good one I'm familiar with, and Photography Is Not A Crime is something I've been familiar with for many years now, and it's very much the opposite of Blue Lives Matter.

    So I'm pretty satisfied that things won't be partisan or else.

  16. Dunbar Green profile image83
    Dunbar Greenposted 5 years ago

    Wouldn't fake news just be newspeak for propaganda or yellow journalism? How is it something that was just invented recently?

  17. Dunbar Green profile image83
    Dunbar Greenposted 5 years ago

    George Orwell has already exhaustively explained fake news in the novel 1984.


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