Saturday, February 18, 2017

How can you tell if a website is fake news?

Although many people continue to take the fake news bait, determining whether a website is fake or not is frequently as easy as looking at the about page. This is especially true for websites that deal in satire. Here are several examples.
“The Onion is the world’s leading news publication, offering highly acclaimed, universally revered coverage of breaking national, international, and local news events. Rising from its humble beginnings as a print newspaper in 1765, The Onion now enjoys a daily readership of 4.3 trillion and has grown into the single most powerful and influential organization in human history...
The Onion supports more than 350,000 full- and part-time journalism jobs in its numerous news bureaus and manual labor camps.”
Funny stuff! No intelligent person could read that and think it was serious.
“NewsBiscuit was launched by John O’Farrell in September 2006 with the noble aims of eradicating global poverty, creating a lasting peace in the Middle East and providing a daily dose of humour to bored people at work. And in many respects we have already achieved so much more.”
Like The Onion’s about page, this is very tongue in cheek.
“The Enduring Vision is an award-winning satirical webpage. It has been around in some form or another since the dawn of man; early forms of the site's logo and layout have been discovered in caves where human ancestors were known to live. This makes The Enduring Vision the original news satire publication, even though now there are about 100 million others.”
Again, funny.
“R. Hobbus J.D. is an internationally acclaimed independent investigative journalist specializing in international politics, health, business, science, conflict resolution, history, geography, mathematics, social issues, feminism, space travel, civil rights, human rights, animal rights, fashion, film, astronomy, classic literature, religion, biology, paranormal activity, the occult, physics, psychology, and creative writing… He has received numerous awards for his work including the prestigious Stephen Glass Distinction in Journalistic Integrity (2011), The Oscar Mayer Award for Journalistic Excellence (2003), three Nobel Peace Prize nominations, one Pulitzer in Investigative Reporting (1998), and two Pulitzer Prizes in Commentary (1996, 2008). He resides comfortably in his modest home overlooking the coast of Nantucket surrounded by his wife and twelve cats.”
Although CAP News doesn’t have an about page, at the very bottom of the webpages it clearly says, “All material is satire.”
Some satirical websites have highly visible slogans at the tops of the pages that tell readers what they’re in for.
News Mutiny: Satire for the wise. News for the dumb.
So, if you find yourself reading something and you wonder whether it’s real or fake, take a look at the about page and you’ll probably be able to figure it out.

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