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Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson slammed what she called "transactional journalism," calling it "wholly inappropriate."

"Transactional journalism" refers to inappropriate dealings behind the scenes some journalists have with political actors, the television host and author of the new book The Smear said.

"Virtually every image you run across, whether it is in the news or on social media or elsewhere, even on comedy shows is being put there, [the players I interviewed in the 'smear universe'] say, for a purpose by somebody who wants you to think something that may not necessarily be a consensus at all, or may not even be true," Attkisson told host Shannon Bream.

"Well-funded actors" with "fake accounts" on social media and "a ton of money" use them to manipulate how we think, Attkisson said.


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Attkinson offered some advice for anyone reading the news: "Trust your cognitive dissonance" when you see a story telling you everyone thinks a certain way.

News reporters are supposed to be the ones sorting through the mess of information so the public knows what to believe, Attkinson said. Instead, the news these days has "so many serious mistakes, even by formerly well-respected news outlets." People should do their own research to find out what is true, she advised.

"Who has time for this?" the author asked.


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