The fake news phenomenon exploded in 2016, leading up to the election of Donald Trump. The biggest culprits in this clusterfuck were Reddit and Facebook, both of which allowed foreign spammers and trolls to infect the social media feeds of millions with stories that were completely false, and very likely turned the tide in favor of The Donald.
However, the fake news campaign wasn’t just aimed at right-wingers. Even though self-professed and informed liberals loved to tout how they didn’t fall for silly stories like Pizzagate, they lapped up stories from sites like Occupy Democrats or Palmer Report.
What these self-proclaimed “news sites” have in common is that they use half-truths, sensational headlines, utter falsehoods, and reinterpreted analysis from legitimate sources (or not), to drive traffic to their websites.
These individuals are not real news reporters. They are not people with media badges or special access to our government officials. They are opportunistic parasites who recycle or even plagiarize content from real news sites, and then spam social media with their links, for a lot of profit.
Many of the sites aren’t even based in the United States. We saw an explosion of fake news sites in 2016 originating in Macedonia, which have now spread to nearly every country on this planet.
This will likely piss off the Rivero brothers who own Occupy Democrats, and work with other fake political organizations like The Other 98%, but they have built a media following greater than MSNBC, by stealing content from MSNBC, along with small-time creators like me. When they are called out on their nonsense, they will sometimes hire internet bullies like Thomas Clay from American News X to stalk, libel, harass their detractors.
Palmer Report is another site popular with gullible Hillary supporters. Much of their content is taken from Claude Taylor and Louise Mensch. Louise Mensch is a former employee of Rupert Murdoch who claims to have inside sources, just like Bill Palmer.
The problem is that as much as liberals love to laugh at people who lap up propaganda from Breitbart and the hundreds of fake news sites designed to cash in on gullible conservatives, many low-information liberals are doing the very same thing.
The left is hungry, desperate for anything and everything they can throw at Trump. The groups I have named are happy to give them alternative or distorted facts that will be shared virally, because it results in a fat ad revenue check for them every month, from a number of ad agencies.
We have to do better than this. We need to fight the right with facts, rather than hyperbole, exaggerations, and outright falsehoods promoted by for-profit organizations who pretend to be political groups. If we can’t fact-check ourselves, we have no right to call the right out on their bullshit.