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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, August 02, 2016

 

Pumping out the bilge

by Tom Sullivan


The still-intact aft bilge pump of the Swedish 17th century
warship Vasa as seen from the upper gun deck.
Photo by Peter Isotalo via via Wikimedia Commons.

Donald Trump said something outrageous and incoherent again yesterday. Somewhere. Fareed Zakaria called him "a bullshit artist" on CNN. In other news....

David Mikkelson of Snopes.com, the internet fact-ckecking site, is having trouble keeping up with the propaganda, disinformation and raw sewage spewing out of social media in the post-truth age.

Mikkelson lists four principal misinformation sources:

1 Legitimate satire sites such as the Onion, which dupe the truly credulous, requiring occasional intervention. “No, SeaWorld isn’t drowning live elephants as part of a new attraction.” “Are the parents of teen Caitlin Teagart going to euthanise her because she is only capable of texting and rolling her eyes? False.”

2 Legitimate news organisations that regurgitate stories without checking, such as the $200 Bill Clinton haircut on Air Force One which supposedly snarled air traffic at LAX in 1993.

3 Political sites that distort, such as Breitbart.com twisting an Obama quote about the “contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation” into the headline “Obama: Muslims Built ‘The Very Fabric of Our Nation’.”

4 Fake news sites fabricating click-bait stories. Such as: “Ted Cruz sent shockwaves through the Republican Party today when he announced he would endorse Donald Trump for President, but only if the GOP nominee would publicly support a ban on masturbation, (saying) without ‘swift action … the country was doomed to slide down a slippery slope of debauchery and self-satisfaction’.” Snopes sourced this to a site that mimicked ABC News to lure clicks to an underlying malware site, generating advertising revenue. It named and shamed the worst offenders earlier this year.
The click-bait and pop-up, faux-news sites have really become annoying. “I’m not sure I’d call it a post-truth age but ... there’s been an opening of the sluice-gate and everything is pouring through. The bilge keeps coming faster than you can pump,” Mikkelson tells the Guardian. More power to him for even trying to keep the bilge pumped out. It's a thankless job. Even more so when self-appointed defenders of truth, justice, and the American way have abandoned all three to support a bullshit artist for president.

How about a little something authentic this morning?