Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Stop Believing Clickbait And Fake News

My Facebook feed, like yours I am sure, is filled with articles about Donald Trump, Congress, and the Russians. To be honest, I have stopped reading most of it and I try to avoid getting involved in political conversations anymore. My tipping point came when that picture of Trump insulting a disabled person started floating around again and Trump supporters denied it happened. There's the picture, there is video if you want it, but I guess the truth is not your forte.

I have said before that I agree with Trump when he says that there is a lot of fake news out there. He was proven right again when rumors of a shooter positioned outside the hospital where the Manchester Arena victims were taken were shown to be absolutely false. In the meantime, several news outlets tried to cash in on the terror with fake news. But I am noticing that some of the fake news going around is actually the fault of the people who are not reading the content. I want to show you how to stop falling for clickbait and stop believing fake news stories.

Just now, I read again the story about how Trump is trying "seize power" from the librarian of Congress. The headline reads:

House GOP seizes power from first Black female librarian of Congress

First of all, this is an incomplete headline. One of the ways even "legit" news outlets get away with clickbait titles is they use real information, but only part of it. What is going on is that the House of Representatives passed a bill that would move the power to name the Registrar of Copyrights from the librarian of Congress to the president. Yes, the current librarian of Congress is African American, and she is the first African American female to hold that post. That information has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on. That is just the media's way of  using the inference that Trump and the GOP are racists to get you to click on the article. Don't fall for it.

While the power to name the Registrar of Copyrights is significant, it is not enough to start all of this hullabaloo about. This is probably another move where Trump wants to "make it easier to do business in America" by putting a business professional in as Registrar of Copyrights. No one is trying to "seize power" from anyone, and this isn't even a law yet. This is just a bill passed by the House.

This is the way government works. The House of Representatives introduces a bill, and then votes on it. One person can introduce the bill, or several representatives can collaborate on one. If the House likes the bill, then it goes to the Senate. If the House doesn't like the bill, then we all go home and watch Family Guy. If the Senate likes the bill, they will vote to approve it and then it goes to the president. If the Senate does not like the bill, then they vote it down and everyone goes home. If Le Grande Orange signs the bill, it becomes a law.

There are other things that could happen to a bill, but this is the most common example.

Here, this explains it better:

Media outlets have become very good at getting the public to believe that when someone in the House introduces a bill, that means that the content of the bill will automatically happen. They do this using clickbait titles that mislead the public. Every media outlet does it, and I think it should be illegal. The title we are talking about, for instance, is extremely misleading because no one has seized power from anyone yet. It is not until the Great Cheeto signs the bill that the librarian of Congress lose the ability to say who will be the Registrar of Copyrights.

If you find a clickbait title interesting, then please READ THE ARTICLE. In most cases, the title is misleading and wrong. Do not form your opinion until you have actually read the content of the article. And even after you have read the article, the media is preying on the lack of knowledge it assumes you have. Just because the House passed something does not mean it is a done deal. 

I have been seeing this a lot lately, and it is really ticking me off. The media is manipulating you, and you don't even realize it. Just take the time to read the content and ask the right questions before you form an opinion. Don't let clickbait titles and fake news turn you into the very kind of person that could ruin an entire country.

George N Root III is a Lockport resident and master of all he surveys! (Currently, he is in his office looking at the wall behind his monitor. Fake news.) Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at