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A new study says it's the culture of certain forms of online media, not the platforms that distribute news stories, that are to blame for fake news.

Columbia Journalism Review surveyed over 1.25 million stories between April 1 and Election Day and found that pro-Trump audiences paid the most attention to polarized outlets, meaning they were more at risk for encountering fake news. CJR argues this wouldn't exist if the same technology available to both sides was used the same way, and says that the media networks on the right are to blame for the modern culture of sharing misinformation that allows public officials to get away with communicating falsehoods to the public.

Why it matters: CJR's study confirms that the culture of misinformation was made possible by technology, but was propagated widely by right-wing media strategy to use social media over traditional outlets, to communicate with constituents. Other studies, like this one from Pew, this one from BuzzFeed, and a custom study created for Axios by Chartbeat, find that right-wing officials, and media, are savvy in using social media distribution to elevate messaging to likeminded audiences.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 deaths.
  3. World: England to impose stricter regional systemU.S. hotspots far outpacing Europe's — Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays.
  4. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  5. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.

Michigan board certifies Biden's win

Poll workers count absentee ballots in Detroit, Michigan on Nov. 4. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified the state's election results on Monday, making President-elect Joe Biden's win there official and granting him the state's 16 electoral votes.

Why it matters: Republican Party leaders had unsuccessfully appealed to delay the official certification, amid the Trump campaign's failed legal challenges in key swing states.

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