The guy in the Oval Office has recently made famous the practice of yelling “fake news” at real news articles that he doesn’t want to be true. But this is far from a new trend, nor is it limited to differences of political ideology. In fact this trend started a year ago, when certain liberal news sites began falsely accusing their liberal competitors of being “fake news” in an attempt at sabotaging them. Most people don’t fall for this crap, but some do. And the gullible victims of these scams are still making a mess of social media.
It’s gotten to the point now where if you post a news article on Facebook that comes from a liberal news outlet, at least one liberal commenter will automatically yell “fake news” or “this isn’t real” in the comments section. Why? They’re trying to show off. They’re trying to feel smart. They don’t have any idea whether the article is real or fake, and they certainly haven’t bothered to read it. They’re just relying on something vaguely negative they heard from someone else about that news outlet, or they’re randomgly gambling that it’s a fake news site. Because if they guess correctly, they get to the be the smartest person in the comment section.
Of course these types nearly always guess wrong. The reason they feel compelled to try to prove how smart they are is that they’re the type who wouldn’t be able to figure out whether the article was real or fake even if they did read it, and even if they did follow and scrutinize its supporting source links. All of the other commenters respond by pushing back against this phony “fake news” yeller, factually explaining how they know the article is real. But this only causes the “fake news” yeller to get defensive and start attacking the other commenters, which leads to that person getting blocked by everyone involved.
In nearly every instance, it’s liberals who are randomly and falsely yelling “fake news” at legitimate liberal news outlets. These “fake news” yellers are just the bottom of the liberal food chain. They’re overmatched and they know it, they’re desperate to prove they’re the smart one, they’re willing to risk smearing the reputation of a legitimate liberal news outlet to further their goal, and they’re willing to risk losing all of their fellow liberal friends on Facebook – all because they’re unwilling to back down from their “this is fake news” bender once they realize they’re wrong.
What these fools don’t understand is that there’s now an entire cottage industry of con artists looking to take advantage of them. Every time someone has published a supposed “list of fake news sites,” the list has (purposely) included a number of real news sites. The goal of these lists isn’t to help people; it’s to mislead them. Some of these con artists are wannabe political bloggers trying to harm the more popular and legitimate competition. Some of them are just trying to get page views out of the resulting controversy.
There are even multiple scam sites that pass themselves off as “fact checkers” just so they can falsely slap a “fake news” or “false” rating on perfectly accurate and perfectly sourced news articles. These sites hope that, by positioning themselves as an authority that provides good-natured warnings to people, no one will bother to scrutinize the dishonest nature of the attacks they’re launching at legitimate news articles.
There are legitimate and vital fact checking sites such as PolitiFact and FactCheck.org, as well as the fact checking departments of major newspapers. And we need legitimate fact checkers now more than ever. But these days most of the supposed “fact checking” sites or “bias rating” sites are scams themselves. Sadly, after a shift in its ownership structure, Snopes has dissolved into one of the most wildly dishonest fake “fact checkers” on the internet – a stunning fall from grace for a site that was a gold standard a few years ago, but now more closely resembles the National Enquirer. And proving just how dangerous this kind of thing is, many of the newer fake “fact checking” sites that have popped up are merely parroting whatever nonsense Snopes comes up with, using it for cover.
The irony is that Facebook blacklisted most of the actual fake news sites several months ago, and these days it’s very rare to see a fake news article on Facebook. In contract, dishonest “fact checking” articles are all the rage on Facebook. These phony fact checking sites are the new fake news.
And yet the most insecure and gullible of liberals just keep lining up to fall for these scams, because it’s an easy shortcut which saves them from having to scrutinize the article in question themselves – and again, these are the types who wouldn’t understand the article anyway. It makes them feel smart to think that, for once, they know something that no one else on their side knows. And then they melt down when they realize that, as usual, they’re the fool.
I don’t know the solution for putting an end to this problem. We can’t simply make dumb and gullible people go disappear. But I do know that it’s getting worse, not better. Oddly enough, whenever Donald Trump occasionally yells “fake news” at a real news outlet, these liberal bottom-feeders largely stop using the term for a few days, presumably because they don’t want to sound as stupid as Trump does. But then they eventually fall back into the same old trap, because they can’t help themselves. And no amount of humiliation from their fellow liberals can seem to get them to abandon the practice.
And so the left is stuck in an endless cycle of the dumbest liberals yelling “fake news” at every legitimate liberal news article that comes along, the smartest liberals having to waste time setting them straight, and the dumbest liberals retorting by quoting the fake “fact checking” sites that make them feel smart. Then the smartest liberals have to waste time picking apart the false claims that the phony fact checking article has made about the original article.
Casual bystanders come away from these exchanges with a tainted view of the news outlet being debated, because they figure maybe each side of the debate is half right. This vicious cycle is causing harm to the reputations of some of our most valuable liberal news outlets. It’s dividing liberals against themselves for no reason. And most importantly, it’s distracting liberals from causes and issues at the worst possible time. One way or another we must put these liberal “fake news” yellers out of their misery, because their stupidity has gotten liberal social media stuck in the mud.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report