The Proliferation of Fake News Helps No One

Facebook and other social media platforms have always had a bit of a wild-west feel—one never knows who is going to say what or what nonsense is going to peddled as fact. But to The Shad, the increase of fake news or unreliably sourced material is troubling. This presidential election cycle has been off the charts as far as bizarre and weird developments. It doesn’t help anyone when your “friends” are posting items from “Conserva-Crud.com” or “Progress-a-crap.net” or anything similarly named.

It’s hard to tell sometimes whether the poster knows the item they put up is wildly misleading or patently false or they are completely naïve as to what drivel is out there.

I first noticed this trend when Bernie and Hillary were battling it out in the Democratic primary. I actually started to support Hillary because I couldn’t stand the baloney that was coming from the “Bernie Bros.” Otherwise reasonable people swallowed the whole everything-is-free-if-we-just-tax-Wall-Street-enough malarkey (to quote Joe Biden). That’s was one thing. But when they started to post every anti-Hillary story they could find—irrespective of the reliability of the source—it really started to gnaw at me. I defriended a number of people when they continually violated the “truth standard.”

When the general election got underway, the fake news proliferation got ridiculous and continues today, The most recent for me was when a Trumper posted a graphic of a map of the country with nearly every state colored red. The “friend” that posted it I already knew to be a knuckle-dragging mouth-breather so it was a good bet he thought the map was accurate.

I politely pointed out that there was no way that Trump was going to win 48 states and no poll would support the ridiculous map he posted. He wrote back and said “Trump in a landslide and Hillary in prison.” Brilliant. Defriend.

One of the latest tricks to post a graphic screaming “BREAKING NEWS!” or “WIKILEAKS” and then link to a ridiculous story from a highly dubious source. Trying to dress up drivel doesn’t change the fact that it’s nonsense.

breaking-news

We also have to be aware that many of these “sources” have an agenda and will push it anyway they can—and this applies to both sides of the aisle. For every DailyKos, there’s a Breitbart; for every OccupyDemocrats, there’s a Hannity.com (Sean Hannity, btw, has lost his mind and knowingly puts out pro-Trump propaganda that has no relation to facts).

It would be great if for the next six days we check, then double check our sources before posting.