The Curious Debate Over “Fake News”

This is an FYI piece……I do not expect those who “know” the facts to employ any of these suggestions…..but I had to try.

So….One More Time……

There has been lots written about the use of “Fake News”…..some of it not so pretty….and then there are the ever popular diatribes about what is fake and what is real…..

Basically in our society we are at the point where the only “real” news is the news that supports one’s small thoughts…..it is kinda like propaganda….

There are so few that know what a propaganda piece is or is not……I have tried to help my readers discern what is what……several years ago I wrote a couple of posts that pointed out the characteristics of propaganda….

https://lobotero.com/2013/01/11/what-is-propaganda/

https://lobotero.com/2014/01/06/propaganda-2-0/

I bring this up because there is a way to tell what is fake and what is not…..well it works for me and that assumes that the reader wants to know the difference….but I am starting to think that that is a wrong assumption on my part.

Some readers have asked how does one know what is fake and what is not….for those that actually want to know here is the formula…..

  • Crazy claims. We’ve been told for years that the best way to spot a con artist is to remember that if the outcome he promises is too good to be true, it probably is. The same concept is applicable here: If a “news” story is too crazy to be true, it probably is.
  • Incredulous introduction. Watch out for phrases in the top of the story that acknowledge the incredible, unbelievable nature of what’s coming. Examples are “As preposterous as it might appear,” or “Unimaginable as it may seem.”
  • Audacious repetition. Consider this scenario: Your coworker walks into your office with a stunned look on his face and says, “Are you ready for this? Santa Claus is sick!” Your natural response is to roll your eyes and say something like, “Go away, I don’t have time for this.” But then he looks at you with a troubled expression on his face and says, “No, I mean it, Santa’s really sick.” The moment  he says that, he has suddenly captured your attention, and you find yourself asking something like, “What do you mean, Santa Claus is sick?” At that point, without realizing it, you’ve begun the process of buying into the fake story. You’re now asking a question about it, whereas just a moment earlier, you were telling the guy to get out, because you were too busy for this nonsense. Suddenly it matters in your life, because while Santa is fictitious to you, he’s not fictitious to your kids—it has some relevance to you. Writers of fake news stories have learned the value of leveraging the psychology of repetition—the more something is repeated, the more believable it becomes. Consider how Madison Avenue advertising works: The magic number is three. If the consumer receives the message three times, research has shown that he may not buy the product immediately, but the door has been opened to his willingness to at least consider buying it.
  • Hyper hyperbole. Over-the-top statements of degree permeate the story. The news isn’t just “significant,” it’s “absolutely astounding.” Similarly, if the story has to do with some misfortune, it’s not just “serious” or “bad,” it’s “the worst thing we have ever seen.”
  • Validation void. Invariably, fake news lacks substance in terms of sourcing—the sources tend to be vague and unidentifiable. At the same time, there tends to be no actionable information in the story, in the sense that there’s nowhere within reason to go to attempt to validate it.

This works well….but I have NO illusion that there will be those people that bend over for whatever confirms their thoughts…..without checking them out…..outrageous claims only fires them up more…..and then there are those “trust me” moments……that is when I start to roll my eyes…..trust without validation is STUPID!

Me?  I dig for answers…but I seem to think ALL news is fake until I check it out in detail…..I think that is what we all should do….but sadly most are too goddamn lazy for any work….they prefer to rely on CRAP for their “knowledge”.

So you continue to believe crap…..I will do what I do best…..DIG!

You see I refuse to read only partisan bullshit…… and make NO mistake it is bullshit……but then I do not expect others to put in the time to learn anything……it takes a special kind of person to look at all sides….and there are damn few of us anymore.

This will be my last post on the subject of “Fake News”……(to everyone’s relief I am sure)

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15 thoughts on “The Curious Debate Over “Fake News”

  1. All the things that I do to a certain extent. Once I hit two clues that the news is leaning “fake”, I just stop reading and move on. My wife on the other hand gets sucked in like dust into a vacuum, then again, she’s still on Facebook too. It takes time (and energy) to do the work required to debunk fake and stupid news, neither of which most people have in large supply. That is precisely why I read your blog, and others, that help with filtering out the crap and get to the root of the story. If you were a news outlet, I’d subscribe 🙂

  2. It’s the crazy trending-effect at work, myths and farces spread like wildfire, and the truth is slow to catch up. Even when it reaches the truth gets through the heads of the “patient zeros” of the farce-spreading, how many hundreds have passed it along? This is why I hate social media so much–people get the news they want to read catered to their beliefs and whims. How is one supposed to evolve if they’re being coddled in their own safe little bubbles where they’re always right–and the news reflects it?!

    I admit, on my feed I get updates from “The Atlantic” (yes, leans liberal, I know), but partly it helps counter the various FOX news posts that other people spread around and it ends up on my wall. It’s about 50/50–I like to glimpse at the topics, write a few down, then go dig when I’m not in the middle of something.

    Scary how every snippet of news is thrown around as if it’s the most dire and important piece of information in the history of the world. I’ve even gotten to the point when I see the words “trump” and “tweets” or “clinton” and “e-mails” in the same segment, I delete and move on with my life. My headaches and blood pressure have gone down quite a bit since I figured out how to do that.

  3. chuq… very good post and I like your elements you’ve outlined that work for you. I may just hang on to this idea since you’re the only one to apply a decision-making dynamic into filtering possible fake news. I’ve always grouped your entire idea into one umbrella… it’s called the “rule of reasonableness”, which in essence utilizes all of what you say. I like this… good post.
    I very much agree that there is a large segment of the population that finds their “factual” information on the other end of the latest “friend” that pops up on Facebook or the latest Twitter tweet.

  4. A good enhancement to explain what Twain noted so many years ago…

    “A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” — Mark Twain (Samuel

    I’ll also note, when one USES their ingrained crap detector, it becomes more efficient; it goes off every time I hear an assertion made without any evidence to justify it. Handy….

    gigoid, the dubious

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