This week one of the biggest stories online is a list of Fake News Sites that Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor at Merrimack College in Massachusetts posted online.
The Fake News Sites spreadsheet that Zimdars created was quickly picked up by the media because, following Donald Trump’s win in the 2016 Election, and the news that he’s going to be elected the 45th President of the United States, the media has been going through a reset of sorts in the last week as they struggle with saving face with the world after a ton of evidence was released proving that news outlets like CNN were in collusion with the Hillary Clinton Campaign since day one.
The Ugly Truth Is That Nobody Trusts the Media anymore
Sadly, the media that our parents and grandparents once relied on for the real news of the day doesn’t exist anymore since the media of today is more often used as the publicity arm of the political establishment so that people are told what the media wants them to hear, rather than actually reporting on the truth.
Melissa Zimdar’s spreadsheet of websites that she and obviously the media as a whole considers Fake News Sites includes websites like zerohedge.com, but the ugly truth that the media won’t admit to is that websites like brietbart.com have been reporting real news this year while media outlets like CBS, NBC and ABC have been sitting on the sidelines, not reporting on the real issues that people are really concerned about.
The lack of the media’s desire to report the real news has led millions of people around the world to blogs, vlogs, social media and alternative news websites for news because the average person is tired of getting lied to by a media that no longer reports on the most important issues of the day affecting average people.
A prime example of this is the Hillary Clinton Email Server scandal that the media has gone out of their way to ignore since day one, even though many computer security experts agree that her use of a private email server, while she was Secretary of State, was a crime.
Fake News Sites? – Every Website Is In the Business of Clicks
One of the biggest reasons why Zimdar released her spreadsheet was so that people can avoid “clickbait” style websites but the truth today is that every website is in the business of getting clicks and views because if nobody is reading your content, you’re wasting your time online.
In recent years even “respected” websites like cnn.com use clickbait headlines for their articles or click bait advertisements because they all want a piece of the advertising revenue pie that smaller, “fake news” websites like zerohedge.com benefit from on a monthly basis.
Yes, writers who produce content for websites like infowars.com or brietbart.com are often paid thanks to the revenue earned when a website runs Google ads, PPC, and other sources but the big difference between the so-called “fake news” websites and the traditional media is that most of the writers for sites like zerohedge.com produce good content that’s backed by data and sources, unlike what you will find on the mainstream media news websites of today.
Another important thing that most people who search for news online don’t know is that most of the articles that you can find on seemingly respected news sources like Yahoo.com are written by the same people who write content for many of the Fake News Sites that were listed in Melissa Zimdars document.
Where Were You, Woodward and Bernstein?
In the early 1990’s I was going to high school in Southern California and was able to learn more about Woodward and Bernstein’s role in bringing down President Nixon following the Watergate scandal, and after watching All The President’s Men I admired the role that they played, and looked up to reporters of the 20th Century because I felt that they were reporting the news, and if my parents watched the news or read newspapers then I should too.
44 years later, Woodward and Bernstein were nowhere to be found during the 2016 Campaign of Hillary Clinton even though the press was literally handed a gift by WikiLeaks in the form of the Podesta emails and in spite of many damning revelations like Donna Brazile’s collusion with CNN, including her giving Hillary Clinton debate questions in advance, reporters like Woodward and Bernstein literally said nothing.
Many people within the press and Donna Brazile herself claimed that the emails released by WikiLeaks were fake, but cyber security experts have shown that the emails in question especially those where she passed off debate questions to Hillary Clinton’s people were indeed sent from her account and were real.
Thankfully, during the 2016 campaign people around the world could find the truth about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump online via websites like infowars.com and even YouTube.com since much of the evidence involving Hillary Clinton’s bizarre behavior during her campaigns was caught on tape and are still there for the world to see.
By the end of Clinton’s campaign Bob Woodward finally came forward and admitted that the Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Clinton Foundation was indeed “corrupt” and if she was to be elected President, the United States would be no different than a Banana Republic, but by the time he spoke up it was too little, too late since he and Bernstein had largely been silent during the campaign season.
Yes, both Woodward and Bernstein deserve to enjoy life since both men are now in their seventies but since they remain in the public eye and are still considered to be reporters, they remain a sad reminder of what news and journalism used to be like when the truth was really reported by news publications around the world.
Fake News And Facebook
Since Melissa Zimdars published her spreadsheet online just about every major news network has joined the “battle” against so called fake news, including Facebook.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg assured the world that his company is taking steps to make it more difficult for people to publish Fake News Sites including banning publishers of fake news from publishing on Facebook, but the reality is that Facebook’s hands are tied over this issue because Facebook has already been accused of censorship during the 2016 Presidential Election and any additional efforts to ban news that they consider to be fake will only cost them more advertiser revenue.
Zuckerberg seems determined about disrupting “misinformation” online but the sad reality about the world we live in today, especially following the recent election, is that one side can always claim that the other is publishing misinformation, even though the information in question can be backed up with facts and statistics.
A good example of this is emails published by Wikileaks which show Donna Brazille’s involvement in passing debate questions to Hillary Clinton’s team before town hall meetings. When she was questioned about these emails by Megyn Kelly during an October 2016 interview Mrs. Brazille went on to claim that the emails were faked even though there’s video from the town hall meeting with Hillary Clinton being asked the exact question that Brazille sent her staff via email.
What Happens From Here?
Following the 2016 elections, it’s encouraging to see publications like the New York Times promising to get back to reporting honest news but will their commitment to reporting real news again actually mean that we can expect the truth to be reported by the New York Times and the mainstream news media?
It remains to be seen if we can expect the truth to be reported by the mainstream news media again since most news media outlets like CBS, NBC and MSNBC are owned by corporations that also donate heavily to our politician’s campaigns so it’s unlikely that they will regain the credibility and relevance that they once had.
In spite of the clickbait headlines and so-called “fake news websites” I’m thankful that there are other resources, we can turn to online for news because without alternative news websites, blogs, vlogs, and other online media it’s unlikely we would ever know what’s really going on in the world.
Where Did Fake News Begin?
The battle against Fake News Sites is something that actually started with the birth of the Internet in the 1990’s when clickbait/hoax emails first started hitting the inboxes of millions of email users around the world so this controversy is not new by any means. What is new though is the technology that shady people are using to profit off others by spreading misinformation.
Back in the 1990’s spreading misinformation was as simple as sending a spam email from their Hotmail account and watching the profits roll in. Today scammers go to great lengths to scam others including creating realistic looking news websites in order to spread their misinformation and profit from it.
Yes, it’s true that fake news writers and companies can make tens of thousands of dollars online per month writing clickbait news, celeb death hoaxes and other forms of fake news sites but companies like Facebook are largely powerless to stop them because nobody wants to cross the line of overtly really censoring the Internet, even though it’s quietly being censored more every day by companies like Google as they have been doing things like censoring their autocomplete suggestions for years.
The best way for anyone to know without a doubt if they are reading fake news or not is for them to essentially become an investigator themselves and search multiple sources online to verify if what they are reading is false or not but the reality about today’s busy world is that most people don’t have the time to read the headline and first paragraph of an article so it’s likely that fake news will continue to be a battle that companies like Facebook and Google will be fighting for years to come.
As with the battle against cancer and other diseases money is made from fake news so companies will keep fighting it but as long as there’s money to be made from all sides of this battle we can expect fake news to continue.