Fake news gets real

Fake news is a hot thing and trendy topic right now. But as we’ve shown through the years, and is now COMPLETELY obvious, fake news is bad for society, kind of like street drugs, it comes with some nasty side effects that touch everyone in the community.

Here are the dealers, making money like crazy because people like news crack.

And here are the real world results that hurt innocent people.

A pizza shop in Washington was the subject of dozens of made-up articles about Hillary Clinton kidnapping, molesting and trafficking children in the restaurant’s back rooms. The articles were propagating via Reddit, Facebook and YouTube picked up by various pop-up fake news sites.

None of it was true. While Mr. Alefantis has some prominent Democratic friends in Washington and was a supporter of Mrs. Clinton, he has never met her, does not sell or abuse children, and is not being investigated by law enforcement for any of these claims. He and his 40 employees had unwittingly become real people caught in the middle of a storm of fake news.

Over the weekend, Comet Ping Pong received dozens of calls from people screaming obscenities and threats. Mr. Alefantis got 50 nasty Instagram direct messages, including one that warned, “This place should be burned to the ground!”

So, in this post-truth world, anyone can plant anything online about you and you have no recourse. It’s a dangerous world out there. With the popularization of pseudo-news and the population eagerly visiting the putrid cesspool spaces on the Internet, the disease spreads.
internet cesspool

  11 comments for “Fake news gets real

  1. Perry
    November 22, 2016 at 12:09 PM

    An open internet produces widespread fake news, misinformation, disinformation and propaganda, and so does an internet controlled by authoritarian regimes. I can’t see any solution to this problem. It’s getting harder and harder to glean nuggets of true information from the cesspool of false information.

  2. November 22, 2016 at 12:32 PM

    The “dealers” referenced in the DN article are truly among the despicables. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether someone is hoaxing the news for (presumed) comic effect, for some kind of dramatic satirical effect (like when I photoshopped a Pinocchio nose on a certain politician)…or when it’s despicable fakery intended to promote an agenda through out and out deception — the equivalent of cutting key words out of an otherwise innocuous quote.

    But there are so many variations and flavors though that it’s hard to know what is in the mind of any given hoaxer.

    Take the person who took a perfectly legitimate, if somewhat bizarre, story about the state of Michigan threatening local beavers with a $10,000 per day fine for failing to remove their dams. http://www.snopes.com/humor/letters/dammed.asp. It’s an amusing, pretty true story of governmental bureaucracy, but some guy with a grudge in Pennsylvania wanted to localize it to make a point about Penn. bureaucracy… so he simply changed all the locations, using actual Penn. place names (that I’m well familiar with). Of course his report went out in mass emails and untold numbers of people are now mis-informed. The guy who sent it to me said, “Hey, I just pass these things along to people who might be interested. I leave it up to you to decided if it’s true.”

    In the middle ground of fakery is Eric Tucker, a 35-year-old Trump supporter in Austin, Tex., who saw buses coming into town the day after the election and declared in a tweet that the cavalcade of buses were carrying paid protesters to disrupt a Trump rally. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/business/media/how-fake-news-spreads.html?_r=0. In his defense, when faced with the correct information that the buses were taking conventioneers to a totally separate event, Tucker said, “I’m also a very busy businessman and I don’t have time to fact-check everything that I put out there.” That bell will never be un-rung.

    On the other extreme, a few years ago after an Obama visit to Russia, a true dirty trickster (to use the Watergate terminology) literally re-edited a legitimate 2009 news video to show the president being snubbed by Russian diplomats in a formal greeting line. When you see the full video, it’s clear that Obama is simply gesturing for his own diplomatic counterparts to step forward to shake hands. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/snubbed.asp

    I don’t know what the answer to all this…besides vigilance, I guess. And reading the DN.

  3. Rob
    November 22, 2016 at 12:36 PM

    And additionally, Trump complains about the media when they report on him accurately, and thinks the media should be reined in. His preferred form of news seems to be “A lot of people are saying….” which feeds whichever narrative he wants to push.

    We can’t let fake news or thin skinned presidents trick us into suppressing a vibrant news media.

  4. Graham
    November 22, 2016 at 6:47 PM

    According to Coast2Coast AM’s ‘Science Advisor’ Breitbart has now started claiming that the biggest purveyors of Fake News are what I’ve heard both progressives and alt-right types refer to as the “lamestream” media.

  5. November 25, 2016 at 9:16 AM

    It’s easy to verify the source of the article or search who else is sharing the same information.
    If the claim is only coming from alternative sites, chances are it isn’t verified news.
    Here is a good link, with a lot of tips on critical thinking, to learn how to assess the information and not be fooled by sketchy sites.

  6. November 25, 2016 at 7:45 PM

    That page is a bit out of date. It includes some sites that aren’t active anymore, or not trustworthy at all – like Web Of Trust. http://www.pcmag.com/news/349328/web-of-trust-browser-extension-cannot-be-trusted

    We’ve been here since 2011 explaining exactly what is suggested in this piece. We have had a list of no-go-to source for several years (http://doubtfulnews.com/beyond-doubtful-sources/). Yet, DN is not mentioned in this piece from 2015.

  7. November 26, 2016 at 9:48 AM

    Reddit banned the community group that was promoting this story. http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/38088712/reddit-ceo-steve-huffman-admits-changing-posts-made-by-donald-trump-supporters

    Tangential outfall from that is was that Reddit’s chief exec, sick of being called a paedophile himself, edited some posts to redirect the accusations to others. Reddit is ground zero for the lowest of low in humanity – where horrible slurs are common speech.

  8. Perry
    November 26, 2016 at 5:38 PM

    “It’s easy to verify the source of the article or search who else is sharing the same information.”

    Thanks for the link, but my comment was mostly concerned about “fake news, misinformation, disinformation and propaganda”, not necessarily articles referencing science issues, although those do apply as well. For example, last spring when Russia was meddling in Ukraine and annexed Crimea it was very difficult to discern the facts. Mainstream media couldn’t be trusted, as none I saw reported certain important facts. I found Democracy Now to be most helpful, but even in their reporting there were dissenting views, and I recall a very heated debate between two quests, as to what was really going. This Mother Jones article on “the four Ds of propaganda” speaks to what I was getting at:

    “The Kremlin Would Be Proud of Trump’s Propaganda Playbook – The Donald is a master of these four techniques of misinformation.”


  9. Chris
    December 4, 2016 at 6:28 PM

    “And here are the real world results that hurt innocent people.”

    Today someone entered the Comet Ping Pong restaurant with an assault rifle:

  10. Chris
    December 5, 2016 at 2:29 AM

    Statement by the owner for the news:

  11. Chris
    December 13, 2016 at 4:06 PM

    Welch, the PizzaGate shooter, is now facing federal charges. Which means the FBI is looking into his behavior, including the sources of his “info.” One of those is Alex Jones, who is now scrubbing his online pages of anything to do with PizzaGate:

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