2 Different Looks at How Bogus News Proliferates
Creators of one website call themselves the 'new yellow journalists'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2016 11:05 AM CST
   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

(Newser) – With the controversy over fake or deliberately misleading viral stories making headlines, the Washington Post and the New York Times each have interesting features on the topic:

  • The Post profiles two twentysomethings who were unemployed restaurant workers six months ago but have since struck it rich by creating the fast-growing LibertyWritersNews website. Paris Wade and Ben Goldman churn out quick stories from their couch with headlines like “THE TRUTH IS OUT! The Media Doesn’t Want You To See What Hillary Did After Losing," promote them via their Facebook page (now with 805,000 followers), then watch them go viral. They collect money from a slew of ads on everything from Viagra alternatives to acne solutions. "We're the new yellow journalists," says Wade, at another point explaining their headline-writing process thusly: "You have to trick people into reading the news." Read the full story.

  • The Times, meanwhile, deconstructs how one false story in particular went viral. The difference is that this one wasn't intentionally fake. It began when 35-year-old Eric Tucker in Austin, Texas, posted an image of parked buses near an anti-Donald Trump rally on Nov. 9, after leaping to the conclusion that the protesters had been bused in. (Turns out, the buses were completely unrelated.) He had just 40 followers on Twitter, but his tweet suggesting the protests were manipulated got picked up on Reddit, then on conservative forums including the Gateway Pundit, and, soon resulted in headlines like "They've Found the Buses!" ricocheting around the web. (Trump himself seemed to buy into the sentiment.) Looking back, "I might still have tweeted it but very differently," says Tucker of his original image. "I think it goes without saying I would have tried to make a more objective statement." Read the full story.

 

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