Fake News: The ease with which Americans are duped

I was forwarded an email by a distant family member. Her ex-husband who received it from somebody who received it from somebody told her to “Send this to any of our liberal friends regarding our dearly departed president.”

The text was from an op-ed by Matt Patterson, and the original emailer claimed it to be about President Obama’s departure from office. I won’t go into too many details, but it’s a litany of bogus/bigoted claims about Mr. Obama’s shortcomings.

The original emailer claimed it was the cover story of Newsweek’s final edition, and that the magazine would be going out of business after the issue was released.

Newsweek Closed Its Doors with a Slam at Obama

Newsweek Is Now History.  The liberal Newsweek Magazine is going out of business, but not before it attacks the President.  This is quite an article, even more so when you consider that NEWSWEEK finally had the guts to admit it. WOW!  Newsweek COVER!!!  It is their last cover before they fold.  Also read the article at the end. AMAZING!!!”

Here’s the cover that was attached to the email:

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Look closely, what’s the first sign that something is fishy about the email? Need a hint? Check out the date on the magazine cover: August 22, 2012. So it obviously isn’t/wasn’t Newsweek’s final issue, and it’s not coming out at the end of Mr. Obama’s 8 years in office.

What’s the next clue that the whole thing is bogus? Read the author’s name on the cover, Niall Ferguson, not Matt Patterson.

After five minutes of googling I came across the original Op-ed by Patterson on the website, The American Thinker, from, wait for it, August of 2011. I then found out that purveyors of fake news tried to peddle that the Op-ed was published by The Washington Post to give it credibility, instead of the Neo-Nazi blog with a picture of a Jewish boy in front of 1940’s Nazi’s and the word “Juderein” posted above it. The Nazi’s are covered over with “UN”, implying that the UN is/was the cause of the Holocaust? Or that the UN will cause the next Holocaust?

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Enlarged image:

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A quick search finds that Judenrein means “cleansed of Jews“.

OK, so how were people so easily fooled. First, they wanted to be. They’ve been listening to conservative talk radio so much that at this point they’re angry and willing to be violent towards others they don’t know. They’ve been wound up so tight that they desperately latch onto anything that gives them permission to hate. When people push anything that even closely resembles the hate in their heart, that believe it has to be true because they’ve been brainwashed to believe it. There’s a great documentary called The Brainwashing of my Dad that goes into great detail of how this all came about. OK, so that’s the hard part. Now comes the easy part.

So that’s the hard part. Now comes the easy part.

They go back into archives of obscure Neo-nazi websites, or fringe right wing nutter blogs and copy and paste gibberish rants and link it to cover stories of mainstream media outlets. It doesn’t matter if nothing matches up, because people who want to believe don’t check details, fact aren’t important to them.

Finally, they find someone who’s right on the edge of sanity. We all know people like this who post random rants on FB or send chain emails from obscure websites claiming it’s “news”. Their friends tell them to stop, but things only get worse the further down the rabbit hole they go. A Fake News purveyor loves these people, they prey on these people. These are the same types of people terrorists target. Once the purveyor of Fake News targets them with a link, these people blast it out to everyone they know. They post in on Facebook and Twitter and it’s all downhill from there.

And that’s how easily Americans are duped by purveyors of Fake News.

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