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April 27, 2016

The Wonders of Fake News Sites

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

No, this isn’t another anti-Internet rant, but it could be! All too often, websites are touted as “news sources.” Their links are shared. Their articles read by people who don’t actually read them, but instead my cite the article’s title to justify some personal or political point. But the sites are a joke — on purpose!

Fake news sites are for fun. These are the same as those sites that copy-and-paste news from other sources. That’s truly the bane of the Internet: Try to find original content these days and you’re pretty much screwed. At least some of the copy-and-paste news sites source the original article, but most of what passes for original content on the web isn’t.

Still, just by being a fake news site doesn’t exempt someone from reading a lampoon article and somehow believing it to be true. These sites are basically April Fools 365-days a year. The problem is that the site names might trick you into thinking that an article about Donald Trump’s secret UFO base is fact. And of course, when people fall for such nonsense, then that’s hilarious as well.

The most popular fake news site has to be The Onion. I admire the site because they have the pattern of a serious news site, and they do it so well that it takes a moment for you to register that the article is fake. Here’s a headline from last week’s edition:

Out-Of-Control Angel Kills Dozens of Bystanders At Vatican Air Show

And The Onion excels at saying things that are true, but which no one would admit to. Here’s another headline:

‘Game Of Thrones’ Fan Rewatching Past Episodes To Remind Self Of What Character’s Breasts Look Like

I could go through and list all the various fake news sites, but the article at About.com does a much better job.

One of the fake news sites is my old favorite, the Weekly World News. I actually subscribed to that tabloid way back in the late 1980s. I called it “inspirational,” and used it as a creativity tool. In fact, I remember people coming over to my apartment and being shocked at the stack of well-read WWN magazines sitting on my coffee table. Even today on the web, fake news is fun, just don’t take it seriously.

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