Like the rest of you, I’ve been hearing about how big of an issue so-called “fake news” is. I never really understood this, though. Sure, I’d seen outright lies posted on so-called news sites, but no one I knew personally took them seriously. How could anyone believe these lies? Clearly, it’s being made out to be a much bigger issue than it is. Sure, the media lies on occasion, but does anyone actually buy into these lies? I doubted it.
Until I started debating with this board’s very own Jim Peebles, over in this thread.
Jim hopped into the thread with this little bundle of joy:
Of course, that doesn’t sound like the real world at all. It sounds like the delusional parallel universe that some of us apparently live in. This got me interested. So, I asked Jim to put his money where his mouth is:
Initially, Jim claimed that Trump’s speech to the UN was actually awesome, and how dare the Liberal Media make it seem like he was a fool! Except that the article he linked didn’t claim that Trump was a “laughingstock” as Jim claimed. Instead, it presented Trump’s speech as vague, jumbled, and jingoistic; but much better than his Fire and Fury speech from last time.
I pointed this out to Jim, who decided to up the ante, linking to an article by a website called Mediaite which purported to show how CBS’s radio report on the kidnapping and torture of a disabled white boy by a group of four black teenagers was purposefully misleading, implying that four white teenagers attacked a black teen.
The article, at first, was very troubling to me. If true, then CBS Radio was guilty of exactly the same kind of bullshit that I criticize Fox News for pulling. I was disappointed in CBS, and almost couldn’t believe that they would do such a thing.
And that’s when I realized: they didn’t. This was the fabled “Fake News” I had heard so much about.
But of course, people are, by nature, good, and if I pointed out the flaws in the article to Jim Peebles he would surely realize the error of his ways. Ha, I was being naive…
Over the next few posts, I broke down the flaws in the article, showing that the hyperlinks on the page were misleading; that Mediaite supposedly found this story on Reddit, but no such post on Reddit actually exists; that the clip they posted not only doesn’t work now, but has never worked at any point and in fact uses a format that does not match the URL format of any other clip posted to that site; that people in the comments section were complaining about the file not existing on the day that the article was posted; and pointing out that even if the clip isn’t misleading, and CBS Radio did in fact screw up and not mention the race of the attackers, this clearly wasn’t a liberal conspiracy to fake the truth, since CBS articles posted on the same day state the race of the attackers and victim in the first sentence.
Jim’s only counter-arguments were to:
Post a hate-filled YouTube rant about the incident, as if this is some sort of cite, claiming that the video would have been taken down if it was wrong (WARNING: Don’t watch the video at work. At around 1:40, the YouTuber goes off on a tangent about how black people shouldn’t get away with saying the N word just by dropping the ER at the end. Disgusting video…)
Admit that he wasn’t able to find the original video, or any information on the incident other than what Mediaite claimed, but that he believes that this is a clear example of fake news on the Left anyhow
Claim that fake citations in an article are no reason to distrust it; claim that the most reasonable explanation is that the websites the hyperlinks went to changed, despite proof that this wasn’t the case (one of the links WAS bad because the website changed, and I was able to show this using the WayBackMachine. The other links were always bad); and reiterate that Racist YouTuber Mark Dice couldn’t possibly say something false in a video without having it taken down
Let me reiterate that one. Jim Peebles admitted, apparently with no awareness of the implications, that he is not interested in whether or not an allegation is true. He simply chooses to believe it, despite little evidence backing the claim and lots of evidence showing that those who made the claim are bald-faced liars, because it lines up with what he’s already decided: That the Liberals are conspiring to make it seem like minorities are under attack for their own nefarious purposes.
So thank you, Jim Peebles, for demonstrating your willful ignorance and thus helping to fight mine. No longer will I doubt whether fake news is effective. No matter how obvious the lie, there will be thousands of people just like you who have already accepted the articles before even reading them. I believe that this is literally true, because you’ve demonstrated little knowledge of your own cites, beyond the headline. For example, you claimed that you couldn’t find a video of CNN’s actual segment earlier in the thread, despite the video being available in the very page you originally linked. You saw that Fox News is telling you that Don Lemon and CNN are the REAL racists, and needed no convincing to believe it.
I wonder if Fox News knows how much money they can save. Why publish a whole article full of lies? Just post the headlines, and make them link back to the Fox News main page if clicked. I wonder how many people would even notice…