Monday, April 10, 2017

Fake news? You mean that not everything we read on the internet is true?!

Back in late February, while my dearest was watching a recording of the Doctor Oz show, something caught my attention: The term “fake news” was used to describe information presented by certain websites.  If you aren’t aware of the term, Wikipedia describes “fake news” as “a type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation…with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically.”

During the broadcast, Dr. Oz’s guest, Jestin Coler, admitted to creating fake news websites and profiting from them.  What surprized me most were the comments suggesting how and how many people are actually drawn into the scams.  In order to trick millions of people into believing and sharing content, the websites involved would copy the look of more reputable news websites.  This included creating web addresses that closely resemble those of the well-known websites, “banking” on the fact that many people only see the first part of the address.

Later in March, CBS’s show, “60 Minutes,” also looked into the topic of fake news.  Although Jestin Coler was again center stage, what came out of the interview with Michael Cernovich was significant.  Looking beyond the content of Cernovich’s stories, “the 60 Minutes team realized that the very definitions of words like ‘true’ and ‘false’ were not agreed upon by everyone in the room.”  The discussion on this topic suggests that “there is a basic fundamental disagreement right now in the country about what is false information.”

To me, the last comment really sealed the deal.  It is crystal clear that many people will choose to believe anything.  Why?  Well, either they are daft and will believe just about anything or they use the lies to push an agenda in one way or another.  The most recent presidential race in the United States is a perfect example.  It is sad to see that people will buy into it!

But where does this come from?  It’s simple: We live in a society that is built on “smoke and mirrors.”  What I mean is that the populace is willing to buy anything and everything.  Whether or not what is bought is real or good, it is that which appears to them as real or good that is most important.  Sad but true!  People simply believe what they want to believe.  The purchase of fast foods presented as “healthy”/“healthier” is another example of this reality.  I really think that fast foods have rotten our brains!  So what do I say in the face of fake news and people believing the fabrications?  Blame it on fast foods!

- B. J. T. Pepin

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