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News & Issues > Fake News in Action

Fake News in Action

I maintain some community group Facebook pages, so am always looking for news of local interest. Google Alerts very helpfully sends daily emails triggered by key words I have set up. It's interesting to see how far-flung newspapers cover events in our area, and how many obituaries mention that the deceased loved coming to Estes Park every summer for decades.

The past month or so I've noticed some odd sorts of internet news items from far-flung news papers, so-called journalism. Maybe they do it for copyright reasons, but they turn the language into awkward phrases.

One of my favorites was "fiery canine" instead of "hotdog" in an item about a county fair. It's has become a game for me to figure out standard United States phrases were in the original article circulated by a news service.

Here's a recent example about a high school here in Colorado - keep in mind that it's definitely a high school, not a college:
"Palisade High School shut down by widespread illness; health investigation underway
By preet - November 15, 2019 9

A Western Slope highschool has been shut down by in style illness, and it’s no longer anticipated to reopen unless Monday, college and successfully being officers acknowledged.

A minimum of 300 college students and about 20% of the staff at Palisade Excessive College hold change into in heart-broken health, and the college shut down at 10: 30 a.m. Thursday as a precautionary measure, acknowledged Emily Shockley, a Mesa County Valley College District 51 spokeswoman.

The faculty will be closed Friday to enable crews to neat and disinfect the campus.

County successfully being officers on Thursday were searching to substantiate the supply or aim within the relief of the illness. The major symptom is vomiting, and extra signs consist of fever and diarrhea.

“We feel that closing the college for cleaning and to enable college students and workers to rest and no longer continue to unfold the illness is within the supreme interest of the total college workers and student inhabitants,” acknowledged an announcement on the district’s internet web enlighten.

The highschool has about 1,050 college students. As of Thursday afternoon, Palisade became the handiest college within the district beset by such an illness."

Maybe they do it to avoid copyright laws, but it feels like the article was translated into some other language, and then back into English.

The other trend I'm seeing is where news sources dig up old news stories and put today's date on them. One that hit on my area was "Toddler Dies in Big Thompson River." Well of course something like that would catch my attention because it was just down the road from me. It actually happened in 2016, but the article was dated November 16, 2019, and there were no dates in the text of the article, just context that assured me it was that same incident from years ago. So why are they reporting it as if it just happened?

There have been other post-dated articles that are harder for me to pin down to as to when in the past they happened, and I have to think hard to not interpret them as describing current events. It concerns me that certain media outlets play loosely with time in a misleading way and a lot of people are not going to know the difference, similar to Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast.

posted on Nov 18, 2019 6:01 PM ()


That's pretty wild. I think you're right about it being translated one way then back again. Google translate does some weird things when you do that. I think they're not doing it for copyright laws, but Google penalties against duplicate content on a site.
comment by drmaus on Nov 19, 2019 12:59 PM ()
Possibly AI or Chinese writers? I can understand why useless outlets would use such methods in order to get their agenda across in one or two well-written articles. I know right-wing sources post real crap and I don't seriously doubt that the left does the same. I tend to stick with NPR and use other sources to validate what they report. Yesterday I exchanged comments with a left-leaning friend on fb about why it's only NPR covering Trump"s dismantling national monument lands for exploitation by energy companies. If the democratic candidates would concentrate on issues like this, the 2020 election would be a guaranteed win.
comment by jjoohhnn on Nov 19, 2019 7:48 AM ()
I have learned to check ALL stories from 4 different sources and even then you cant' be sure!!
comment by greatmartin on Nov 18, 2019 6:18 PM ()

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