In the 1950s many scholars believed that newspapers could sway public opinion toward a particular view favored by the publisher, just as advertisements convinced consumers to buy a particular product brand. Perhaps this reflected still fresh impressions of Nazi Germany, where the Ministry of Propaganda would put out a story, often a “big lie,” that was obligatorily repeated in the German media and supposedly accepted by the German public. An abundance of modern research has made clear that news organs cannot effectively lead readers or viewers to an intended position (nor are advertisers very effective in persuading shoppers to buy a particular brand, beyond giving it visibility). For one thing, people are selective in their consumption of news, choosing sources and stories that roughly agree with their existing positions, and ignoring or not believing those of opposite persuasion. For another, people are highly swayed by their personal associations – family, friends, and colleagues – far more than by impersonal mass media. Altogether, mass media by themselves do not have much power to push people to positions that they are not open to anyway, and that is probably true of social media too.