The Fake News Wars

I’m in a lot of anti-Trump Facebook groups.  A lot of them.  And something I’ve noticed recently is people who, without bothering to research, shout “fake news!” when someone posts a news or opinion article to one of those groups.

It’s been happening quite a bit lately.  I even had it happen when I posted an article from a House member’s Capitol Hill site, and the guy who made the accusation would not back down.  Not only that, he used the juvenile and snarky, “I’m sorry, but this is fake,” which with me is like waving a red flag in front of the proverbial bull.

Luckily for him the group moderator stepped in and backed me up (otherwise it would have ended badly) and someone else took the liberty of saying the “fake news” claimer was “FOS.”  Sorry, but that’s true.

The point is, don’t claim “fake news” without doing your own research first.  It doesn’t make you look smart, discerning, or well-informed.  And don’t confuse news sites with opinion sites, hard as that may be in the era or MSNBC and Fox News.

While right-wing groups thrive on fake news and exist only because of it, among middle and left-leaning groups, posting fake news has become something of a minor felony.  It’s a very serious charge. Someone tried to soothe my ruffled feathers by saying that shouting “fake news” has become a game for some just to get a reaction, but to me that’s like shouting “fire” in a crowded theater (which is illegal).

Plus it’s bullying, not discourse.  To put it simply, it’s something trolls do.

Anyway with that in mind, I’d like to post a short list of often-cited “news” sites that do post fake news, or at least misleading and inflammatory headlines.  The first four are my additions to the list provided by Wikipedia, and then there’s a link to the Wikipedia article and (4/27 addition) yet another unbiased list of sites I just found.

learn progress
realtimepolitics
bipartisanreport
progresstribune
Wikipedia list of fake news sites

another list of fake/misleading/satirical sites I found recently

Another thing that you may want to watch out for is any news article posted by someone with an unlikely-sounding name (you know, like “Mortimer Guessalov” or “”Fatima McHenry,” or something like that), and if on Facebook, if their profile is filled with nothing but stock photos (and they appear to have almost literally been born yesterday in FB terms).  You might also look at the URL of the “news” they are offering to see if the URL reads something like, “mybackyardpool.com.”  It’s almost a dead giveaway that both the article and the “person” who posted it are fake, and if you click on that site, someone may be gathering info on you.

(BTW, almost any URL that includes “lo” is a satire site.  That is to say, by definition the articles they publish are not true, but make fun of the truth.  An amazing number of people seem to be unable to distinguish between satire and actual news these days — almost as many as can’t distinguish between fake news and real news, or real news and commentary.  Do not be one of them.)

Also, these bots/trolls often post articles with inflammatory headlines, from never-before-heard-of sites, without commenting…or with a brief pro-Trump comment or something else equally weird if you’re in an anti-Trump group.

In addition, watch out for any article that has a headline written in all caps or that includes exclamation points.  If you click on a tantalizing headline and find out that the article underneath has little or nothing to do with it, that’s another red flag.  Realtimepolitics and bipartisanreport are often guilty of that, and especially for bipartisanreport, which actually does contain good info once in a while, it cuts into their credibility.  (I have never seen anything worthwhile in realtimepolitics, Learn Progress, or progresstribune.)

Before anyone snarks that this blog is itself “fake news,” please read the disclaimer page at the top of the screen (“How this blog got here, and a word to the wise”).  I’ve never claimed this is a news site.  What’s written here is just my understanding of what’s going on.  If I may pat myself on the back, I sometimes latch on to minutia just a bit before it becomes national news.  But no, I do not have my own private sources, nor do I seek them out.  My sources are like yours: national news, and some opinion blogs.

That said, the role of this blog in the foreseeable future will be to become a sort of one-stop shop for those overwhelmed by Russiagate news and related matters.  I’ll try my damnedest to pull it all together for you into a coherent story.  But I’m not guaranteeing anything, because this story is anything but coherent.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: