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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Clickbait: The Dumbing Down of Liberals

This photo popped up in my Facebook feed earlier today. It's a photo of Trump at the Western Wall, photoshopped into a collage with Obama, Bush, and Clinton, and shared by a page called Fight For Equality. Fight For Equality captioned the meme:

The White House puts out misleading news that Trump is the first to..... Until one of our friends digs up these images. You're being tricked with wordplay America . #theythinkyourestupid

This has been shared almost 14,000 times. And it's completely, 100% false. Here are some of the comments people have posted under the meme:

Larry Thatch He's the first sitting asshole potus to visit the West Wall. The other Presidents of the United States were at least respectful of the office they were elected to, unlike this man/baby who knows zero truth and even less human emotion. He is a pathetic human being and not worthy of any trust. In short he is the scum of the earth weighting it down from moving forward for the inhabitants.

Caitlin Rodocker Unfortunately, what many people do not understand about these photos is that Donald Trump, unlike the other presidents pictured, is actually trying to contact the contractors who built this wall.

Angela Burks Idk why news channels posted that to begin with. But just out of curiosity were those other presidents sitting presidents at the time? Idk and I can't tell. Every news channel ran the same story. Can't trust any of them anyway. Lol.

Holly Funger Dubin When I heard them say that on fox yesterday, I was like "Wait, whaaaat? That's not true!" Surprise, surprise!

Nik Sweeney I did find that statement impossible to believe. Didn't stop the morons on my national TV news bulletin repeating the spin verbatim. The WH might as well have released a statement saying, "Trump built this wall himself, from his own presidential sweat, because he's awesome. Fuck yeah."

Jan Allen-Valego Just more absolute BS from the egotistical twitter-in-chief.

This comment is my personal favorite:

Mardi Honaker Berry WHY do they want to spread the hatred and spread the lies?? Fox knows, I guess, their followers will not check and believe all the fake news they spread!

To be fair, there are quite a few people posting links to other news sources that prove Trump is the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall. This link, and this one, and one more. Has Fight For Equality removed the post, apologized for sharing fake news, apologized for using click bait? Nope.

Speaking of clickbait, Vox recently published an article about liberals falling for fake news about Russia, and called out one of the worst left-wing blogs in the country, Palmer Report. From the piece:

The Palmer Report, and its creator, little-known journalist Bill Palmer, is kind of a popularizer of the Russiasphere. It reports the same kind of extreme, thinly sourced stuff — for instance, a story titled “CIA now says there’s more than one tape of Donald Trump with Russian prostitutes” — often, though not always, sourced to Mensch and company. This seems to personally irk Mensch, who has occasionally suggested the Palmer Report is ripping her off.

Yet nonetheless, Palmer appears to have built up a real audience. According to Quantcast, a site that measures web traffic, the Palmer Report got around 400,000 visitors last month — more than GQ magazine’s website. The Russian prostitute story was shared more than 41,000 times on Facebook, according to a counter on Palmer’s site; another story alleging that Chaffetz was paid off by Trump and Russia got about 29,000.

This stuff is real, and there’s a huge appetite for it.

To complicate things further, bad satire is also rampant on the internet. Some of it is marked as satire, while some is not, but other than maybe five websites, all of it is awful. And the awful satire sites use clickbait, because people who consume clickbait rarely, if ever, read the article.

Which is the whole point of clickbait. You see a headline or social media post, you are immediately enraged and/or terrified, and you click share. Did you read the article? Did you research the article? Did you use Google to verify the social media post? If you "read" clickbait on a daily basis, can you feel your brain slowly dying?

Liberals like to ride around on our high horses, mocking right wingers for believing fake news. Well, guess what? Liberals believe fake news, too, and clickbait creators are making serious money off this disturbing trend.

Stephen Colbert once said "And reality has a well-known liberal bias." He was speaking at The White House Correspondents Dinner, and he was joking, but thanks to clickbait sites like Palmer Report, and false memes like the one posted by Fight For Equality, there's very little reality or truth around anymore.

So if you're a liberal riding through Facebook on a horse named Truth, and you devour Addicting Info, Palmer Report, or anything from Louise Mensch, watch out; it's a long way to the ground.

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