A Layperson’s Guide to Fake News

So a little bit about me, I have a degree in deciphering fake news. My degree is in Media Literacy. I received it from Webster University in 2002. I did such a good job of it that I got some honors distinctions and a nice little check from The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. I received the check at the local Emmy’s in the form of The Walter Cronkite Scholarship. Later I was kind of run out of journalism for refusing to fake news regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It’s a long story and I know you’re busy so I won’t waste your time with it. Anyways, let’s trust I’m not a random moron and get to the point. Fake news is best viewed as a tiered system. Here’s some basics to help you get started.

Category 1: Not very

Some organizations that practice not very fake news are The New York Times, The LA Times, etc. They mostly follow strict rules of reporting however they cover up or alter stories that hurt the extremely rich and powerful. They don’t want to fundamentally upset the current structure and therefore jeopardize their jobs or their ability to go to fancy parties. They usually report properly unless it involves inevitable wars or pre-selected political candidates. It’s takes real work to separate the fake from the truth but it’s buried under fancy words from time to time.

Category 2: Rather

This is like CNN, MSNBC, and The Washington Post. They just kind of chase money and power without breaking any specific rules but bending so many they almost completely ruin the product. Similar to The New England Patriots. Anytime big money becomes available they just look the other way and print the stories that print the money. The Washington Post used to be a category 1 organization but a somewhat recent ownership change decided they belonged in category 2.

Category 3: Almost

Fox is so uniquely gifted at creating fake news they get their own category. This is chasing money and power combined with a very specific political agenda. Fox just creates exactly what it’s viewers want to hear except they intentionally avoid criticism of conservatives. They would fall into the category of just rather fake news but they can’t stop themselves from kissing all that conservative booty. CNN really tries to pretend to be objective. Fox kind of tries but not really. Like they just make sure the viewers that created their agenda can claim objectivity. This is weirdly more honest though also more fake.

Category 4: Breitbart

I’ve never read it, but I assume there is a reason people do. Not entirely fake just slanted to the point of absurdity. The headlines are so obviously designed as click bait I just don’t want to encourage them by participating. Though I do think it’s funny when category 2 organizations treat the headlines like they are real to piggyback on the click bait. Again, fake news real money.

Category 5: Straight Fake News

This is just random websites that rarely end in .com saying random things that people want to hear. Usually shared by people that are emotionally attached to a very specific set of ideas. There are slightly more conservative Fake News sites than liberal Fake News sites but who really cares when it’s all just garbage designed to jerk you off.

As far as how all this is determined it’s important to remember that any article that uses an unnamed source is fake until proven otherwise. There are examples of using unnamed sources effectively but they are rare. Also, anytime the reporter’s opinion enters into an article it also becomes fake news. Also, any headlines that don’t just describe the issue are fake news. And any organization that makes decisions based on money rather than information is creating fake news. And anything in with Opinion written at the top is not news. Like this thing I’m writing now falls into the category of opinion and is not news.

As far as actual news we haven’t had that for a long time. There are a couple throw back sites like The New Yorker and The Intercept that still do news. I think The Intercept is the closest thing we have to a modern news website and I read it almost every day. Some sites like The Atlantic do a mixture of news along with various forms of fake. Regardless, real news is something you have to diligently seek out. It doesn’t just pop up via Google. You have to know who wrote it, and who paid them, and be diligent for a thousand more steps to get a slice of truth in this world.

So anyways, this list is far from complete and there are many other categories of fake but I hope it gets you started. Oh and by the way I don’t think my degree is what makes me smart. If you don’t have one I don’t want you to believe in this list just because I got a old timey piece of paper from a St. Louis commuter school. I want you to believe it because even though it’s opinion, it’s an honest attempt to express some truth. And that’s what we should all be looking for in our own attempts to better understand the realities around us.

Thanks for your time and have a great day. Please don’t hesitate to ask me any follow up questions I’ll do my best to answer them when I’m not at work.