Fake news is nothing new.
Fifty years ago this week, the world reeled with the news that Paul McCartney – the really cute Beatle – had died and been replaced with an imposter! For those caught up in the Beatlemania of the mid’60s, this was shocking news.
Here’s a fairly sane summary of those times from Rolling Stone, if you’re of a mind to know more. It’s not what this post is about though. Given our current dance with “alternative facts” and the relative certainty that our social media has already been invaded by forces eager to undermine our democracy, I thought it a good segue to a post on just that – FAKE NEWS.
We all know we hate it, we know it’s dangerous, and we know we’ve also been guilty of getting caught up on occasion. (Ideally, not too often and, hopefully, with full acknowledgement of our faux pas once it’s discovered.)
Urban legends, conspiracy theories, alternative facts … they seem to have evolved as I’ve grown up.
Last week, as I was preparing this post on the faux news phenomenon of which we are all far too well aware, using Paul McCartney’s urban legend death as my jumping off point, Shirley Showalter (you’ll remember her from my first Chincoteague writers’ retreat post) shared a Huff Post article to her Facebook page.
The timing was great. Here’s the lead image from that story, written by Nick Robins-Early, which I’d missed.
Not bad, huh?
Shirley’s followers added more tips on how they weed through the myriad stories that fly our way, which gave me a better idea.
You don’t need me to tell you how to do it. You’ve got your own ideas, I’m sure. And I’d love to hear what you do, what you watch out for, what you guard against.
Use the COMMENTS section here or the CONTACT form on the website to add the various links and tricks you’ve collected. I’ll combine them with mine and add a follow-up to this post the first Wednesday in November.
How do you judge what to believe and what to disdain? Is that even the right question?