I don’t know about most people but I’ve often wondered why people would believe everything they read that is presented as news. A wonderful example of this phenomenon can be seen nearly at any time on any given day by clicking the following link:
For those that don’t know already the Onion is a satirical news website that tends to post hilarious but unfortunately believable stories about the US and the world. The reason these are unfortunately believable, as opposed to just believable, is that they show just how far down news has come. 24 Hour news (an entity that I dislike) has degenerated into a profit reaping misinformation factory.
That last sentence might have been the most melodramatic thing I’ve written in a while. Let’s take a breather. I’m sure people who frequent Reddit or Failbook have seen the following image.
Since this image came up there have been a lot of people poking fun and laughing. It’s actually funny to read the trolls of the trolling. But I think people are overlooking a very important part of this. These folks are likely voters, this is not something that should be passively laughed at. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed on the national level.
Easily manipulated and gullible people are the absolute best people to pander to, it requires very little effort to get them to vote and once you’ve established a ‘fact’ for them they’ll basically never accept information to the opposite. A wonderful example would be birther conspiracy theorists, these are people who believe that Obama was not born in the US and they comprise 51% of the Republican party. But why do they believe that Obama is a foreign national who managed the largest and most ridiculous conspiracy that I’ve ever heard? Well because the super douche, Phil Berg, filed a lawsuit accusing that Obama was a foreign national.
There was no evidence and the case was thrown out. But it just took one person to present it as fact for it to be taken as such. Fox in particular saw a very large opening for ratings and profits and drilled (and still drills) into it frequently.
While this is funny and it is a fantastic troll, something the Onion does exceptionally well, I hope that American’s can look at it as a warning of a problem that needs resolution and not merely a funny incident.
Just keep in mind that the article that tricked people was this ridiculous.