Fake News

Meditations in Motion

FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide,” read the headline of the post one of my friends shared on Facebook. The article, published by “The Denver Guardian” gave salacious details of a sordid conspiracy. It was shared half a million times.

And it was completely false, utterly spurious.

The Denver Guardian, it turns out, is one of the legitimate-sounding sites used by a company called Disinfomedia, whose sole reason for existence is to create fake news. And to make money.

The CEO of Disinfomedia lives a very comfortable lifestyle in a sunny middle-class Los Angeles suburb. He “employs” between 20 and 25 writers, all of them churning out stories which are patently false, but which could have the ring of truth if you are predisposed to believe them.

None of the writers know each other or the true identity of the owner and CEO of Disinfomedia.

The Denver Guardian is set up to look like a typical local newspaper, but it has published only one story – the one about the FBI agent.

Another (completely fabricated) story about customers in Colorado marijuana dispensaries using food stamps to buy pot actually sparked proposed legislation by a state representative banning the practice. Yes, this proposed law was based on an event that never occurred.

Here is a quote about fake news from the CEO of Disinfomedia: “Anybody with a blog can get on there and find a big, huge Facebook group…just waiting to eat up this red meat that they’re about to get served.

Are we so consumed with hate that we block out the truth we don’t like to believe more palatable lies?

Evil has never been so lucrative, so technologically savvy, so, so…justified by so many good people.

This dangerous rationalization, this ends-justify-the-means mentality is allowing evil to thrive. This insidious evil has seeped into our society because our tribal loyalties have become more important than morality, more powerful than doing what we know is right.

One more quote from the CEO of Disinfomedia: “Some of this has to fall on the readers themselves. The consumers of content have to be better at identifying this stuff. We have a whole nation of media-illiterate people. Really, there needs to be something done.

This is one time he is telling the truth.

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. Proverbs16:28

 

I am linking with Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth and Life at 139A for Post, Comment, Love. Please click on the following link to read more funny or inspirational one-liners. One-Liner Wednesday.

Meditations in Motion

 

 

 

75 comments

  1. It really is frightening on so many levels, Laurie.Frightening enough that these people deal in this insidious guff, but maybe more frightening again that there is an audience who give it credence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. It is scary that there are so many people (especially in my country) who seem willing to be deceived as long as they are reading something that suits their political views!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have read on several occasions about the fact that people grab tidbits of information, bite-sized news stories as they cannot settle themselves down long enough, nor settle their mind, to read an entire news story. So they read headlines, scan and give a cursory read to a news story. Woe is them for not reading more than a headline or a paragraph and living without, as the infamous Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.” I know someone that I rarely see now, but she never read the newspaper, nor listened to the news – local, national or international and it just amazed me. But she was a wonderful person nonetheless but it amazed me – not even popping onto social media news sites. I stopped the newspaper when the price was out of this world and I can subscribe to pertinent news tidbits for the local and daily Detroit newspaper online … the rest was fluff anyway, especially the Sunday local paper. I don’t have TV but listen to an all-news station religiously. I have no words for this world sometimes … today I heard so many bad stories that were happening locally that I finally just shut the news off … it was not hate that made me do it, I was just appalled at the stupidity … a ninth grade girls coach sending inappropriate text messages and photos to a girl he was coaching and asking her to respond in kind, and then there was a 13-year-old-boy arrested for threatening to shoot the school up and suspended before. This morning a man in a northern suburb was waving around a rifle at his family, police and neighbors … I’m sad that our world is like this and have often longed to be part of an earlier era … a kinder, gentler era.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an interesting point, Linda. We leave ourselves open to being preyed on by fake news by only reading the headlines, looking at salacious pictures and stories, and not really being willing to spend the time thinking about what we read. This is the post I was telling you about – the one I was not sure if I would publish or not. I don’t want to get into a political argument with anyone.

      Sometimes the best thing to do is to shut off the news. Sad stories like the ones you describe seem to be prevalent. I wonder if previous eras were actually kinder and gentler, or if the news then was not 24/7 then as it is today.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I thought perhaps this was the post you referenced Laurie. Not long after I replied to this post, there was a shooting in Detroit (which is about 15 miles from where I live) and a woman holding a baby was struck by a bullet after answering the front door. Her child was grazed by a bullet near the head. The baby is fine; the mom is is in critical condition.
        People shooting each other up and having no disregard for life has gotten much worse; animal cruelty as well. People beating their pets, or leaving unwanted pets outside a shelter in below-freezing temps – yes their intention was good, but having no sense that animals will freeze to death in a short time with no place to hide if confined to a cage/kennel and left on the shelter’s doorstep? It happens in sweltering heat too. Crime runs rampant everywhere – every single day, I am left shaking my head and yes, I do wonder too if the news is worse since we can tune in any time of the day as you say and receive the latest headlines … I tend to think it was a gentler era. Many people will tell you they left their doors unlocked (cars, homes) and never gave it a second thought. My parents did not do that as I recall. https://wwjnewsradio.radio.com/articles/news/woman-baby-shot-after-answering-door-in-detroit

        Liked by 1 person

      • How awful! That poor woman! We definitely used to leave our doors unlocked. We had a burglary a few years ago and my mother’s and grandmother’s jewelry was stolen, along with our TV. It almost would have been better if we had left the door unlocked. The burglar kicked our basement door in and we had to have it replaced.

        Like

      • That’s what I hear about people here in this City with their cars that are parked in their driveways or in the streets overnight. If the burglars or hoodlums cannot simply open the car and ransack it, they are mad and cause damage – the newest thing is spray painting it. Spray painting things, like a lot of graffiti in the Park, is hardly new, but spray painting cars is something new here according to the crime forums. I am grateful I have an attached garage (too small to access from the house however) and a pole sensor light outside, so they are reluctant to mess with anything. That is too bad, especially if the jewelry had sentimental value.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Recently, Bill’s wallet was stolen from his car! The thief broke into his locker at the gym, got the car keys, found our car in the parking lot and stole the wallet out of the car. There was very little money in the wallet but he tried (unsuccessfully) to use the credit cards to buy a $3000 computer.

        My mom’s jewelry had a lot of sentimental value. Here is a post I wrote (one of my first posts) about it: https://meditationsinmotion.wordpress.com/2018/03/21/white-horse-luck-and-a-special-ring/

        Like

      • What a shame that this happened, first getting into Bill’s locker at the gym and then gaining access to his wallet by using the stolen car keys. Did the thief leave the keys in the car or attempt to return them to Bill’s locker? Inconvenient to be sure, but not as bad as having jewelry that meant the world to you stolen. I’m glad you were able to find the grandmother’s ring – that was some consolation to you at least. It was there, waiting for you to discover it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • The whole thing was videotaped by the security cameras at the rec center. We saw the thief’s face and car. We thought we were going to be able to get his license plate number on tape, but he covered his license plate with a towel. This was not the first time he has done this. He locked the car and took the key so ww couldn’t get in the car right away. I had to go home to get my phone. The key was actually the biggest expense – it cost $250 to replace!

        Like

      • That is amazing, not to mention very nervy. I had no idea the replacement keys were that much. I guess your insurance would not cover that – that is a real shame. My car is 10 years old but only has 6,800 miles on it. I got an extra key for out in the yard, to keep the remote/key separate and I think it was $65.00 at that time and I thought that was terrible!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Our insurance paid $100 for the lost key, so we were on the hook for $150. A few years ago, we were in Baltimore and the valet at our hotel lost the key! They had someone drive up to Lititz (about 1.5 hours), get the spare key from our son, and paid for a new key. At that time it was $300, so the price has come down a little bit.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s amazing – no wonder there was controversy about some guy who is making keys (like one does in 3D from a printer) and he sets up these little kiosks to do so. Now I get why the dealerships were up in arms about it. They’d be losing a small fortune.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s true. Our key doesn’t really look like a key at all. You don’t insert it into the car to use it. It just has to be somewhere inside the car, even in my bag or pocket. It has to be programmed before you can use it – I think that’s why it was so expensive.

        Liked by 1 person

      • OK, I see – I had no idea about the keys nowadays. Even mine came with a bar code, but just a regular key. I don’t even have on-screen programming in my car Laurie. It is a 2009 Buick LaCrosse and, like I said, only 6,800 miles on it. I heard on the news that not only is GM not going to make the Buick Regal, after 2020 they will no longer make sedans, just SUVs and cross-overs. That surprised me, but I don’t go to the dealership. I am a few blocks away from a mechanic and trust them.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. We all need to be better consumers of news. I really fear for our future… too many people limit their media diet to stories that support their position. I’ve learned to be skeptical about almost everything, and that is not the way I want to be. Interesting that the CEO thinks that “something” should be done, yet he continues to put that garbage out there and profit from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We absolutely need to be better consumers. In the past, you could trust most news sources (like Walter Cronkite), but today, there is too much political influence and too much to be gained by putting a slant on what is presented. I thought the CEO was disingenuous too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great job, getting paid to write fiction. I suppose it could be considered satire, and at one point it would have been just that. Buying weed with food stamps. Thirty years ago we wouldn’t have fallen for that. Does Disinformedia have a political slant or are they a bipartisan deceiver?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The guy does run some websites that are out-and-out parodies of fake news – stories so outlandish that no one would believe them. Disinfomedia tends to write stories that right-wing conspiracy theorists would read, but the CEO says he is left-leaning.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow.

    I’ve learned about this some. Destin from Smarter Every Day (YouTube) has a three-part series on disinformation on social media that is really interesting. He goes to Facebook, Twitter, and Google to interview employees on what they’re doing to combat it and how we can discern what’s true and what’s not. And separately, MediaWise is an organization that aims to teach teens how to do the same. Their main page is on Instagram. Both worth checking out and sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I know there have always been liars, but it seems we’ve ramped it up to a new level in our accessibility to them. 😦 Thanks for shedding light on this, Laurie. May we all be more aware of where we are getting our news. It makes a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Lisa. These people are professional liars! I think it makes people more cynical, which is not good. It is important to check on our sources of news.

      Like

  7. A friend of mine was duped by this story and sent it to me privately. I had my doubts, because I didn’t see it elsewhere to corroborate it. It is so very sad how much misinformation is out there, without a thought to integrity, honesty, and moral responsibility. Our nation, and our world, need prayers more than ever. Thanks for sharing this, Laurie.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s unfortunate that people don’t really read anymore and don’t check to see if something is legitimate before passing it on.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. There are so many levels of deceit and malice in this type of lie mongering — among the most appalling is the “CEO” of Disinfomedia blaming the readers he’s worked so carefully to dupe for believing what he’s slinging at them. That is stomach-turning, self-serving cowardice of the lowest order. Fie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. It’s like blaming the victim and it is revolting. I can’t believe sites like FB allow it. I have another post I am thinking about that concerns truth in advertising laws. Did you know they don’t extend to political ads? Politicians can lie but cereal brands can’t!

      Like

  10. I’m shocked that this is happening though I guess I shouldn’t be. I can hear my grandma “we’re going to hell in a hand basket”. Scary that it’s come to this where dishonesty is rewarded. I’m sure the CEO makes a comfortable living. Sickening.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I often found that Jon Stewart of the Daily Show and now John Oliver of Last Week Tonight do just as good of a job, if not a better one, of providing factual news within a comedy show.

    I feel that most of this country has a literacy problem, not just a media literacy one, in that no one fully reads anything let alone comprehends what they are reading. It’s one of my biggest frustrations at work, having to answer the same emailed questions because no one reads policies or reads an email i send in full detail. It happens at my husband’s work and BFF’s work as well so I feel it’s widespread. I can only think some of stems from information overload and the constant stimulation from social media.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It is nothing short of dystopian. And given the ability in this day and age to spread disinformation so quickly on the internet, it is scary to think of the number of gullible people who read this stuff and blindly accept it without any fact checking or other rigorous investigation. And then there are certain politicians who label anything they don’t like as fake news, and cult-like followers believe it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Media literacy and how to research the validity of stories or data are skills that really need to be taught! Not that I mean to add more responsibility to schools, but people really need to understand how to not just take things at face value.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Laurie,
    I guess the bottom line is “reader beware”!! Once upon you could somewhat rely upon true and unbiased journalism. Not anymore. But, to think that someone is benefiting from lying so blatently and sucking people in with salacious headlines…it’s a commentary on where our society is heading. Thanks for blowing the horn on fake news. The only truly Good News is still found in His Word.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bev,
      Yes, but sometimes it is so hard to tell what is fake news. Where is unbiased journalism these days? Such a good point – Good News is where it has always been! 🙂

      Like

  15. Your article about fake news – that particular site, is one of the main reasons why people don’t believe the fake news about our President. Nobody trusts ANY of the mainstream media anymore. And rightfully so. We can’t pick and choose which media is good or right or wrong. One must thoroughly investigate any news stories even if they appear to be news stories in a legitimate source. It is the media that first went against the president and it is the media that will have the president re-elected. His opponents might not like this truth, but just watch what happens when the relection comes along. Blame the media for becoming an opinion site, rather than just being real journalists.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s