Why Fake News Works

#pizzagate has brought the “fake news” front and center again.  It leaves most of us saying what the hell?  I had no clue what #pizzagate was until yesterday.  Here’s somethings about “fake news” we should know.

Who has the time to sit around and make up horrible vile stories and take the time to spread them around the internet?  Turns out you can make money on this crap.  It’s a growing cottage industry according to NBC News.  The writers of this junk get paid advertising dollars every time a gullible person clicks on a story.   One negative Clinton story made $8,000 and it wasn’t one of the more popular ones.

It’s not just the money, fake news is a really effective tool to use against an opponent, political or otherwise.  It’s been used since the U.S. was founded.  Heck, the second President of the United States, John Adams passed the Sedation Act in part to combat fake news.

How easy is it to check if the story you just clicked on is fake or real?  Most of the time it’s pretty easy.  Remember Snopes.com is your friend.  Check some of the main stream news sites (gasp!). I mean seriously have you ever know the New York Times or Fox News to pass up a juicy real news story?  FactCheck.org  has a handy but extremely boring guide if you are having trouble sleeping.

The big question: Why is “fake news” so believable?  I have a saying “people see what they want to see”.  In other words, if you see Obama as a bad president you tend to believe bad news story about him.  It’s much easier to say Obama is a bad president because he wasn’t born here than going to the trouble of explaining why the latest trade agreement is bad for the U.S..

Honestly, most of us just don’t have time to check if something that looks like a news story is fake or real.  Maybe the rule should be if you don’t have time to fact check it, don’t share it on Facebook or retweet it or if your old school, repeat it at the grocery store.

UPDATE: Disturbing Politico story on Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn’s use of fake news.  Flynn has been tapped to be PE Trump’s National Security Advisor.