By Phil Richardson
The Sunday newspaper has a special section that we seek out every week. The Arizona Daily Star declares it “Not Real News,” and then in larger font “A LOOK AT WHAT DID, DIDN’T ACTUALLY HAPPEN THIS WEEK.” Here is one example of fake news published on the Internet last month. “Slaughterhouse Employee Accused of Murdering 71 Coworkers over 17 Years.”
The Facts: As I read it, some miscreant set up a hoax web site, “World News Report,” featuring a totally phony story about a serial killer of dozens of workers of a plant in a Texas town.
The plant exists. None of the rest is real. According to the Arizona Daily Star, which now points out numerous like fictions each week, even the photo used in conjunction with the fake news story of the “serial killer” was a lie. It actually is that of a child molester from another Texas city.
The Chief of Police in the city named in the fake news story declares there is no truth whatsoever to the made-up story, and worse, this is the second time around for this fiction. it having been circulated several years ago on yet another slimy web site.
I can’t put a name to people who set out to do harm with these viscous stories planted on the World Wide Web. No doubt those who engage in like cruel practices are sadists suffering from a severe premature sexual maladjustment.
The big problem is that they are making the entire internet haywire. How does one separate the “wheat from the chaff,” the actual real from the fake?
Television humorist Stephen Colbert was the first to articulate the theory of a divided nation: “people who think with their head and people who think with their gut.” All of us are apt to believe a hoax if it reinforces any prior bias— good, bad or otherwise.
Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller, is a retired broadcast executive residing in Tucson, Arizona. He is the author of three books – “Water Dream,” “The Prosperity Coal Company” and “Miguel: Narcotraficante.” All are available at Amazon.com.
“He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself.” – Joseph L. Menchen
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