Truth and hoax: all’s fair in publishing?
by Susan G Holland ©11/24/2017
Despite Google’s and Facebook’s earnest promises to quit posting fake news, I am still seeing featured come-on-and-click pop-ups about Bill Cosby committing suicide, about Streep and Eastwood getting married and other such spectacular headlines. They stream along the gutter beside my Google News Page pretending to be breaking news. The most amazing sorts of news! This has been going on for months! Years! Why? Why?
Someone is counting clicks as currency.
More and more of the famous sexual fiends being outed are reported to have taken their own lives. Well… in a way, they have, because now life as they have known it has changed drastically to a different kind of life. But those who love or hate or envy or are just bored cannot help themselves. They click on these juicy offerings.
I suspect that publicity enterprises are trying to squeeze the last red cent out of the fame of these people before the opportunity slips away.
And the public do their part, to be sure. It takes a hardened soul to bypass a big juicy story about a big-time hero. The handsomer or more beautiful, the more vile or horrifying, the better. And I suppose it does the stars no serious harm when compared to the wide publicity if they are resting between movies, or whatever. The public eye is so important! Even the Queen and the Duchess get big press about purported quarrels, whether they like it or not. This is the essence of juicy gossip. It has always had its addicts.
Dirty laundry is always good for whisper-fodder.
But now, thanks to the same technology bringing us this unwanted (?)grief, we have ways to check the sources. We don’t even have to click the pop-up to check out the “dirt.” If we really want to clear up fake news, we can use snopes or hoaxbusters or other sites that aim to verify rumors that seem especially shocking. If we want. And if those sites don’t know, I am sure once could research more deeply into obituaries, or other official records. (But if it’s not on the personal website of the so-called dead, or guilty person, it likely is not true.)
Do we want to find out the truth? Or is it more stimulating in our boring lives to have sex, lies and videotape (photoshopped) to feed on?
And why is the press surprised when we don’t believe them?
Will Facebook and Google and other channels of twisted info crumble by erosion and lawsuits before we quit subscribing? Or will quitting these internet services become cool and popular before long?
Waiting to see…