Computer

The fight against fake news just won’t end — but it seems like it’s going to be much harder to kill than we thought.

On Thursday, someone taped a 3-page article to the front of the newsroom’s refrigerator in the breakroom.

“If this doesn’t open your eyes,” the article declared, “nothing will.”

Ian Campbell

Ian Campbell

Coffee in hand, I leaned in, ready for my eyes to be opened.

What followed were 10 “facts” from The Los Angeles Times that had been highlighted red by the original poster.

Up first was this: “40% of all workers in LA County (10.2 million people) are working for cash; and not paying taxes. This is because they are predominantly illegal immigrants, working with a green card.”

Oh boy.

Whipping out my phone, I Googled the claim and quickly found an LA Times article titled “Internet immigration hoax” from November 2007. It appeared that some of the newspaper’s readers had forwarded the hoax, which was circulating as an email at the time, to the editors who took time to fact check the “articles” claims.

“No article has appeared in The Times with this list,” the editors wrote. “And some of these ‘facts’ appear to have been misleadingly edited from articles that appeared in the LA Times as long as 20 years ago and are now being cited inappropriately.”

In 2009, after the email made another round, Hector Tobar, a Pulitzer Prize-winning LA Times reporter, attempted to verify all of the claims made in the hoax. What he found was a “stew made up for the most part of meaty exaggerations and spicy conjecture, mixed in with some giblets of truth.”

“Two of the ‘stats’ are the musings of a conservative op-ed writer. Another takes its information from a government “report” that is, in fact, a work of fiction,” he wrote. “The last two items on the list are the most accurate — but they reveal more about the prejudices and fears of the people passing the list along than they do about the supposed effect of ‘illegals.’”

Snopes.com, one of many online fact-checking websites, independently reviewed a similar hoax letter credited to the LA Times that made some overlapping claims. It found that the information used in the hoax article “appear to have been gleaned from a variety of sources and vary in accuracy.”

There is undoubtedly more misinformation readily available at our fingertips with the advent of the internet. BuzzFeed News found that the top 50 fake stories in 2018 generated 22 million total shares, reactions and comments on Facebook.

But remember that the internet, approached with the appropriate amount of skepticism, is also a great tool for inspecting information for yourself. So keep that in mind next time you see something come across your Facebook page, your email account, or your company’s community refrigerator.

Ian Campbell can be reached at ian@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4209. Or follow him on Twitter @MrCampbell17.

React to this story:

7
3
0
1
2

Managing Editor

Ian Campbell is the managing editor for The News-Review, a former senior editor at the Emerald Media Group and a camping fanatic. Follow him on Twitter @MrCampbell17

(6) comments

my dixie rekt

I love how they try to use Snopes to back up their story and make it sound credible but fail to mention the founder of Snopes embezzled $100,000 of company money and spent it on prostitutes [beam]

Kirpi

Would have been nice if The News-Review had done some fact checking before they ran the AP story aboit the Covington Catholic incident on Jan 20. Where were the editors to debunk the media's narrative of "students in MAGA hats mock Native American," which was soon proven to be false and contrived? The paper still hasn't admitted they were duped. #DoTheRightThing

Willie Stroker

They aren't going to admit they were wrong. Its best to delete it and pretend it didn't happen. But that school is suing the MSM for libel so the News Review is just another media outlet that's going to be part of the lawsuit.

Mogie

That was like when a reporter from CNN showed us the winds of a storm were so bad he could barely walk and in the background two men in shorts causally strolled along the same sidewalk. Looks like a lot of folks lie a little to make their story more dramatic.

Willie Stroker

Also how CNN said Ralph Northam who posted a photo in "black face" and was a part of the KKK in his high school yearbook was a Republican. But it turns out he's the Democrat Governor from Virginia. The same state that is trying to make it legal to murder a baby seconds from being born. Which is called infanticide!

my dixie rekt

These media outlets think they can get away with libel. Americans are waking up and soon they will see the [end of MSM]. The news review has to be fake and clickbait to get page visits. We all know they get vary little traffic on their website. Facts dont sell.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.