Remember in high school when you heard a rumor that was so crazy you could hardly believe it? Remember asking, “Who says?” Do you remember believing it if you heard it from your best friend but not from that one person who was always spreading trash talk? Yeah, well today’s fake news is like that. Where does it come from? Where did they get their information? What was the context? In other words, “Who says?”
Here’s the biggest problem with fake news, NO ONE IS CONSIDERING THE SOURCE! If you overheard something in a coffee shop, from strangers, who behaved suspiciously…would you tweet out what you heard as fact? Would you write a story promoting the story as truth? Of course not. But this is what is happening. Every. Single. Day. With so-called “news” blogs and on line “news” sources like The Drudge Report, Infowars, Vox, Life-Zetta and many, many others spewing out daily rumors and innuendos and outright lies, it is no wonder that fake news is running rampant. What these sites fail to do is check their sources. They just repeatedly and consistently churn out garbage…and for their efforts, they are rewarded with SEO…click bait. So they don’t care. Now, it is leading to possible violent acts. See the whole “Pizzagate” fiasco which leads all the way to PEOTUS Trump’s transition team. It’s completely insane and out of control.
There was another popular trend way back when in high school. It was a game called “telephone.” People would line up and the first person in line would whisper a phrase to the person next to them. This was repeated down the line until the last person in line received the message. Never, ever, did the original phrase make it unscathed through the line. By the time several people had repeated it, it was something else entirely from its original phrase. This also happens with fake news. It morphs and changes, it becomes bigger and more distorted. It becomes exaggerated and blown out of proportion. And it can cause harm to a person’s reputation, career, and their very lives. As proven in the case of the Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria, it is potentially dangerous.
The solution is simple. When a “news” story breaks, consider the source. Is it a reputable writer? From a reputable outlet? Do they have an agenda they are pushing? Are they in it for sensationalism or is it actual news? Is it NEWS or is it opinion? Does the source have a track record of trustworthiness? And, it seems obvious but, think through it….Does it make sense? If any of these are questionable, don’t feed the mania by passing the fake story on. Check the facts for yourself, research and source it independently to find the truth. After all, don’t you still want to know, “Who says?”