Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fact, fiction or fake news?

Did you know that Kurt Cobain predicted back in 1993 that “someone like Donald Trump” would one day be elected president? Or that President Obama and Michelle have secretly been divorced for a year because she is gay? You’ve probably read the latest on Hillary, so you know that she and Bill murdered Justice Scalia and the FBI has it on video.

Those and more stories were shared with me recently by readers, friends and acquaintances via social media. Friends who obviously don’t check sources … because stories like this are pure hooey. They come from fake news sites that publish false information and outrageous “facts” about people or issues on the internet. They look and sound like real news outlets, but the stories they peddle are completely unsubstantiated crap.

Millions of gullible readers share this outrageous stuff every single day thinking that it’s real. They can create hoaxes with just a retweet or “share” – or worse, they actually believe it and send it on to others who fall for it, too, and they share. To be convincing, some sites mix some real news with stupid reports. Fake news sites like National Report and World News Daily Report are utterly shameless. Recently, someone shared with me the “first successful head transplant” and the 76-year-old mom “getting kicked out of KFC for breastfeeding her 42-year-old son.”

A few are truly satire, like The Onion. It’s published by a “news satire” company and describes itself as a “farce.” You know when the story is about millions of deceased Cubs fans drinking and rioting “in Heaven” following the World Series win – it’s probably a joke. The New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz Report is also satire, although that one has fooled a lot of people.