Until about six months ago, it was a piece of cake for me to distinguish fake news from "real news." since then, the fake news sites have changed markedly:
These days fake news is a bit more difficult to discern. The fake news sources are more sophisticated, there are a lot more of them, and there is a lot of clickbait ad money being generated by them. This fiscal intake is going to just push ‘improvements’ in the subtlety of phoniness. Though one may argue that improvement is hardly necessary; you can put just about anything up and it will be seized upon and circulated as though it were the word of God.
There’s so much of this now that Snopes and other fact-checking sites have no way of keeping up with it all.
The average John Q. Public doesn’t seem to get it. Is this because our fellow citizens are actually, when it comes down to it, none too bright? Or is it that much of this garbage ‘resonates’ emotionally, and not only does John Q. Public not want to look for the truth; John Q. Public couldn’t handle the truth.
We all have biases. Add to that a pretty high level of ignorance regarding the validation of sources, and you have … endless clickbait garbage being posted, and reposted, and reposted even more.
There is no sense of ‘truth’ to any of this.
It would be bad enough were it just political, but much of it is directly linked to religious perspectives. This is how Trump became a Christian moral imperative. Stir in a good dollop of racism, a pinch or three of religious bigotry and arrogance, and you have a recipe for divisiveness that blows off the top end of the scale.
One of my personal Faves d'jour is the one circulating about how the Clinton Crime Syndicate (Hillary specifically) was going to 'dismantle the NRA.' It said so, right there in her interview in the Des Moines Register!
The problem is, she never gave an interview to the Register; no interview was published; she was not even in the state the day of the alleged interview; she never said, anywhere, anytime, that she was going to 'dismantle the NRA.'
The most cursory of research efforts shows this.
Yet ... there it is, on millions of FB pages.
I tell the boys - and the grandkids - never take any of that as truth; almost all of it is not, and it requires, despite an increasing sophistication, relatively little effort to show this.
But we have a president who 'reads very little.' Though unlike almost all of his supporters he is extremely wealthy, and pays no taxes ... he does seem to have that much in common with his supporters.