In the wake of the 2016 election, a lot of media coverage has been given to fake news websites. People from California to Macedonia, and around the rest of the world made a lot of money posting highly exaggerated or completely fake news stories. Now we’re paying the price as Donald Trump has been officially confirmed as our next president by the Electoral College.
Leading up to the election, spammers representing a myriad of fake news websites infested nearly every Facebook group I belong to. People in these groups then turned around and shared these stories as factual, because they wanted to believe in what was being stated, even if there was no truth to them at all.
A number of pro-Bernie Sanders groups were hit by spammers from Macedonia, and at least one owner of a group was paid off to allow these fake news stories. The Hill, Salon and Huffington Post weren’t immune to this either by allowing H.A. Goodman to publish one article after another pumping false hope to Bernie Sanders supporters, and then encouraging people to vote for Jill Stein once it was clear Bernie wasn’t going to get the nomination.
Fake news isn’t something new. The power of the press has been harnessed to push false stories for one agenda or another for centuries, but in the era of social media, it can spread faster than ever before. Thanks to internet blog platforms, anyone anywhere in the world can create a website, create content, and then profit immensely with a little luck and networking with Facebook page owners. Even Ed Schultz got his thirty pieces of silver and now works for Russian state media. And if you still think Russia has our best interests in mind after this past election debacle, I have some timeshares in Siberia I’d like to sell you.
I’ve been in the business of political blogging for over 6 years now. I do not call myself a journalist, nor does Modern Liberals claim to be a news organization. We are a political blog that also does political satire, which is clearly marked as such, if people aren’t too lazy to read past a headline.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few websites out there with large Facebook pages posting their links that do not stand up to a quick fact check. I’m not going to talk about the plethora of fake sites on the right, because we should already be able to recognize them, but I’m not ruling out doing an article on that subject in the future.
Whether you realize it or not, running a website is usually done to make a profit. In the interest of full disclosure Modern Liberals barely breaks even, but that’s because we do not have special interest funding, nor do we publish fake news or steal other people’s content to get easy traffic.
In my time writing, I’ve come across a number of sites that have either lifted my content without proper credit, or have been attacked for calling them out for publishing exaggerated or completely fake news.
The following is a list of Facebook pages and websites on the left that utilize a number of shady practices, including playing fast and loose with the truth for profit. If you call yourself an informed liberal, please stop sharing from them if you haven’t already.
*EDIT* Some folks are quibbling over the term “fake news” and I should add that any site which poses as a news organization when it is not is still “fake news.” This includes websites that derive most of their content from other sources and add hyperbolic headlines like Raw Story does.
Some of these sites use fake news stories to cater to bias confirmation on the left, and others like Cop Block or Natural News pretend to be advocacy organizations while pushing anti-government conspiracy agendas.
We’re in for a long four years of a Trump presidency, and we need the truth at our backs like never before. Eliminating these fake news sites from our news feeds is a necessary first step. This is not about jealousy or trying to reduce “competition” – it’s about demanding the left hold ourselves to a higher standard of truth.
If you want to subscribe to honest reporting on national issues in the United States, there are many reputable and mostly neutral sources like AP, Reuters, BBC out there.
Here are a few of the websites I go to for news or opinion articles.
Nola.com (New Orleans)
New York Times
The Advocate (Baton Rouge)
Buzzfeed (Yes, their political reporting is top notch)