Fake news has become the newest term to enter the English language. There has been a long-running conversation about which blogs, both left and right, offer their readers the truth, and which offer them something else. Now, thanks to the election of Donald Trump, aided by fake news sites, that conversation has left the realm of bloggers and political junkies and is now in the spotlight.
There are few sites — other than those dealing in satire — that offer their readers nothing except outright lies. Many more present outrageous, “click-bait” headlines designed to draw readers in, and then give them a story that has little if any resemblance to the headline. One site that has proven to be a master at that art is Bipartisan Report.
Here are a couple of examples of stories Bipartisan Report is currently featuring on their homepage.
“Hurling?” Trump’s “meltdown” consisted of three tweets. Two were about the CIA report on Russian hacking. The third was about the Pentagon’s disastrous F-35 project, which had nothing to do with the first two.
The story under that headline makes no reference to Trump’s “shock” at all. That’s because as far as I can tell, there has been none: he hasn’t reacted to it. And the reason? Probably because he hasn’t seen the news. Most outlets are treating it like the non-story it is. But on Bipartisan Report the news is EARTH-SHATTERING.
That headline actually accompanied the second Bipartisan Report story about the treason complaint. The first was published on Sunday.
So what exactly is this big complaint all about? Scott Dworkin, who runs a group called “Democratic Coalition Against Trump,” tweeted on Sunday that his organization planned on filing treason charges against the president-elect, Mitch McConnell, Rudy Giuliani, and James Comey. The announcement appears to be little more than a publicity stunt aimed at attracting attention to the little-known outfit. But Bipartisan Report ate it up, then spit it out at their readers.
One liberal blogger saw the promotional post about the story on Bipartisan Report’s Facebook page. After she read McKinney’s article she had a few things of her own to say.
Rosie’s rant probably won’t sit well with some in the liberal blogosphere, for exactly the reasons she states — just like those on the right, there are liberals who are getting rich off selling this sort of thing. A mundane story that actually has some facts in it gets slapped with a sensationalized headline. What winds up happening is that story gets shared thousands of times, as this one has been.
And what’s really going on is that many of the people who share the post aren’t sharing the story — they’re sharing the headline. That’s exactly what sites like this want to happen. Because if people actually read the story first they would likely conclude that it wasn’t worth sharing.
Rosie might take some heat for her comment, but she’s exactly right. This type of behavior undermines the entire liberal blogosphere, and turns readers off, causing them to potentially miss important, real news that the corporate media doesn’t report.
We expect this sort of thing from the right. They are the ones who invented it, after all. But it shouldn’t be happening on our side. Thank you to Rosie Stone for saying what needed to be said!