Today, a tipster sent me this story dated Jan 9, 2014: Student expelled for casting a spell | firstcoastnews.com.
Outrageous, right? Indeed. Great story! Except this EXACT story is from the year 2000. You can spot clues in the piece (which quotes the YEAR) even if you don’t remember the made-for-TV movie in 2006 about it.
This has been happening a lot lately. Old stories gain new life when one site (usually Reddit, which was so in this case as well) posts old news as new news. This happened with the Jenny McCarthy thing last week. And I can typically find it almost every week. Outrage is good for hits. For some odd reason, 2014 has started off chock full of bogus news – hoaxes, hype and old stories vomitted up again to stir a whole new audience into outrage (and garner clicks).
From Reddit, this bizarre story of a girl expelled for a spell in Oklahoma went to Godlike Productions, a popular outrage forum and then to various religious sites and other postboards and aggregates like Topix. All the while, there were clear indications in the comments that this was a 14 year old story, not news, but it still got passed on.
So, do local news media get their stories from Reddit? And do they do ZERO fact checking? Look at the recent Rick Dyer story. That hoax has been growing for a year and he was caught hoaxing back in 2008. The Melba Ketchum stuff was reported as new when it was old. But this one is particularly bad to be so well known but no one seemed to NOTICE.
It takes very little time to scope these out. Usually just reading the comments are getting clues from the story are enough but since I’ve started posting stories, I do tend to double check them more often. Always check the date and make sure they pass the sniff test.
I guess it’s just one of those things… a story will hit the Net and go off on its merry way again and again and again. Just like urban legends. The media seem stuck on keywords. They just post outrageous stories based on certain themes. There is no thought given to them at all. This is the REAL news story.
And look, another story from 1998:
Is there nothing new under the Sun?