Fake news, not just for Fox News anymore.

It makes me so darn angry how the liberals in this country are secularizing Christian holidays right out of existence, when Jesus celebrated Easter with his disciples there were no Easter bunnies or egg hunts”   – Sarah Palin

I read the report, Sean, and there’s nothing in there at all that says we tortured these terrorists. If anything we fed and cared for them, just as Jesus would have.  -Michele Bachmann

1508609_904675299565741_8695985613542046741_nWhat do these quotes have in common? Well they both come from conservatives well known for saying crazy things. They were both shared in meme form through a Facebook page entitled “Stop the world the Teabaggers want off” Oh…also they are both fake. Yes, that’s right neither one of these things were actually said by the person they are attributed to.

I did a bit of digging, and by digging I mean I did 10 minutes of goggling, to find the source of these quotes. The first one comes from a “news story” from the satire site The Daily Current.

The second I could find no references too at all. She made a goodbye speech in congress recently. However, according to the Meme I found making this claim she made this statement on Sean Hannity’s radio show yesterday, (12/10/2014) yet I can’t find any proof she even appeared on his show on this date. In fact I checked her Facebook page, and while she regularly posts links or info about her public appearances there is no reference to her appearing on Hannity at all on that date.

I actually attempted to reach out to “Stop the world the Teabaggers want off.” I.E. I posted in the comments of the second photo pointing out that the quote appears to be fake, and they refused to respond in any meaningful way. When I asked them if they would fact check the quote themselves and remove it if they could not find proof the quote was real I got complete silence from them. I’ll update this post if that changes, but this Facebook page is hardly the only offender.

This lackadaisical engagement with fact checking is especially troubling given how many people are depending on social media networks like Facebook to get news and information. That being said I have several recommendations for those who want to help change this.

  1. Fact check things yourself. When you see a meme or story involving someone saying something stupid, crazy, or crazy stupid, it’s tempting to just click share or retweet. I certainly can’t claim I’ve never done just the same thing. I started being more careful when I noticed, or others pointed out, that I had shared untrue statements. I’m not suggesting hours of research, you can usually find out whether or not these quotes are real by spending a couple of minutes searching Google.
  2. Assume that others care about sharing correct information until you are proven otherwise. When you notice that something is fake let the person or page that shared it know that it is fake or suspect information.
  3. If they are not responsive to those reports or continue to post fake information regularly un-follow them and let those who do care about factual accuracy know that they are not a trusted source of news. If posting fake articles and quotes stops attracting followers then maybe we can force those who do it to care despite their inclinations.
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  • LouisDoench

    There’s a difference between this and what Borowitz does at the New Yorker, or the Onion.

    • http://www.skeptimusprime.net/ Dylan Walker (Skeptimus Prime)

      Certainly, I don’t have a problem with satire, but these sites mix truth with fiction without separating the two or really giving any indication that there is a difference. Further, good satire is crafted in such a way as to make it clear to most readers that it is lampooning an idea by representing it in a comedic way. Quotes like these are less like satire and more like libel.

  • http://www.dailykos.com/user/shpilk shpilk

    In what respect, Dylan?

    {I do get your point, but had to drop that one in.}

    • http://www.skeptimusprime.net/ Dylan Walker (Skeptimus Prime)

      I’m not sure what your question is.