Fake News!

“Fake News” is everywhere. While it should be uncontested that “Fake News” does surely exist, what it is exactly is a little harder to answer. The thing about “Fake News” is that it is completely arbitrary and lacks a true definitive definition. Is it the Collins English Dictionary definition of:
“False, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting”
or could the counterfeit quality of deemed “fake news” come from not complete falsehood of information but biased and spun journalism that presents a corrupted perspective of stories. Whether your definition of “fake news” is Eddie Murphy dying years ago in a skiing accident, or an overwhelming amount of negative press covfefe these writers are smarter and cunning in their craft then we’d like to admit. With that in mind, we have to become smarter news consumers to beat the “fake newsers” let us become the “fake newser”.

Fake It To Make It

To anyone interested, In grabbing the full experience of being a fake newser, go to this website here with an interactive game by Amanda Warner. So, let’s follow the journey of Tommy News-Worthy (Which is my actual name, not a terrible pun. My mother fought for that hyphen maiden name thank you.) And we are going to raise that cash to start our dream band. It’s interesting that for this game however, that we don’t actually start by writing our own articles but rather get our foot in the door with straight plagiarism. So our site, most easily [insert location name, Insert press jargon] can use other people’s legitimate work to bolster our own sites integrity.
What the library of options of click-bait article we steal do we learn and begin to understand that successful article are intentionally manipulating us to perform some sort of emotional response. The essentially can target a complete range of emotions from feeding into our desires to be happy with “Look at this Puppy” or to other emotions of anger and even fear.
What this not so accurate demonstration of a comment section does it come apparent that we respond and react to the news we receive and how that news is presented. While we don’t necessarily think of it as in the same terms as shows, movies, and other content, we consume and subscribe to the perspective narrative of our news as well. The visceral reaction a fake news story can generate the more life we bring to it.

Circulating Content

The Idea of people aligning with certain news narratives is valuable to these con-artists as they try to sell their versions to the right crowd. See Tommy News-Worthy doesn’t just post slanderous content and hope that the ants come for the picnic. Rather he can run a proper business model that with the help of Facebook targets the right demographics. Whether creating your own, or using other profiles can you sell your articles to the right crowd. Even Facebook’s Ad features gives the ability to limit or broaden your demographic to assure the appeal of those who read it. Pose as a fan of Doctor Who, you could gain access to a commuinty page and then link your article there. Fans who already enjoy Doctor Who are more likely to click on your article then those not interested so by specifying your population have you keen on a more successful rate of clicks. Essentially a fake newser can take advantage of a psychological theory known as Confirmation bias which is described as:

” our brains have the tendency to prefer sources that match what we already believe, discarding those that are in conflict” – Dr. Joe Pierre

With confirmation bias and demographic targeting those who consume that piece of “fake news” are those most likely to believe it.

Not a Tactless Approach

While people can certainly people can be dumb and gullible the most effective “fake news” capitalizes on the catharsis of emotions, draws the attention of the right people but also has a carefully crafted tactfulness to create a veil of “believably”. Argument has been broken down into the three categories of: ethos (ethical), pathos (emotional), logos (logical) appeals. We are more attuned to evaluate and deconstruct arguments a believe the side that presents a sense of authority over the subject matter or provides statistics or logical information. However, I could say:

” 8% of Emperor Penguins have drowned due to global warming affects of the past decade” – Dr. Julius Erving

Don’t worry, the penguins are okay this is only to prove a point but until either we decide to either confirm legitimacy of what we are being told by checking sources or just take every bit of news with a grain of skepticism does this quote really take the same value as the other quotes above which are real, or fake as well?

How Do We Not Get Fake News-ed?

The List of generated Fake News

“Fake News” is an issue of viral media, the internet is sporadic and random and the problem at hand is inherently abstract so what do we do? The advice that Joe Pierre of Psych Unseen gives goes as follows:

“My advice is to read news from multiple sources from both ends of the political spectrum that have a good track record of objective and reliable reporting. Consume editorials and opinion pieces in moderation and understand them for what they are – don’t mistake them for news”

Amanda Warner, creator of this fun educational game gives some sound advice as well.

“I recommend Snopes, Politifact, and FactCheck.org, all of which regularly debunk fake news and other types of misinformation… If you use Chrome, try the plug-in Fake News Monitor, which will alert you if you are visiting certain sites known to distribute questionable news.”

I think it’s important to share this information on this platform because we are in the position to both benefit from how savvy these people are operating but as the consumer as well. “Fake News” is more than just a buzz word that got you to click on this article but a practice and an interesting thought on how we consume our media and build our own perceptions. At the end of the day, there is always two sides to a coin, and you’ll never know the truth by flipping it once. I would encourage you to play the game at: http://www.fakeittomakeitgame.com/about its a fun time, that will give you a better understanding of the subject with your own application. Thank you for reading, hope you learned something… not about penguins though but hope you are more aware of how “fake news” gets circulated. Maybe my next post will be less experimental content and back to a typical movie review, I don’t know but I will see you at the movies.


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