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| Someone is wrong on|
“”I think one of the greatest of all terms I’ve come up with is 'fake'.
|—Donald Trump explaining his whole presidency|
Fake news (also known as Fake media) consist of "news" that is blatantly false or otherwise distorted, in the hopes of getting more clicks by feeding people the headlines they didn't know they wanted, in the
hope knowledge that shamelessly pandering to an agenda often proves sufficient to suspend the readers' disbelief.
Depressing amounts of clicks can be garnered from fake news, simply by virtue of it posing as 'clear-cut examples' which — if true — would lend overwhelming apparent support to one side of the relevant multi-faceted, emotionally charged and complex issue.
It is important to distinguish between fake news on the one hand, and mere biased reporting on the other. Fake news denotes outright fabrication, while slanted reporting at least covers events which were not made up from whole cloth.
Fake news outlets aren't just the equivalent of some leaflet guy ranting on a street corner. These are blogs, podcasts and shows which reach people in the millions — notably the young and poorly educated, unknowingly passing along the 'news' via social media — raking in tons of cash in illegitimately generated ad revenue as a result.
Fake news has become an increasingly dangerous influence which helps to sustain out-of-touch echo chambers on the Internet — and while the 'news' aren't real, the emotions they stir up are. Things move fast, with debunkings consistently 'behind the curve' — and by the time people figure out that some news piece was actually fake news, everyone has already moved on (though, not before internalizing 'that thing they read' as wholly confirmatory of their fears and frustrations).
And, to make matters worse: in the current 'post-fact' era, the term "fake news" has devolved into a snarl word denoting "real news which conflict with my personal beliefs". A champion of misapplying the term, Donald Trump is fond of labeling any and all news outlet which
fail to kiss his ass 24/7 report on his actual behavior as "fake news". This nonchalant watering down of the term is highly irresponsible — further misleading the already misled into dismissing the very phenomenon of "fake news" as being, in itself, fake news.
This article documents fake news, clickbait news, distorted news, and satirical news.
- 1 In the good old days
- 2 Reality bites the dust
- 3 How to identify fake news
- 4 Outright made up or completely unsubstantiated
- 5 Dishonest representation of real news
- 6 Satirical news
- 7 Now-defunct fake news websites
- 8 Fake news and phishing
- 9 Alternative use of the term
- 10 Is RationalWiki a fake news site?
- 11 See also
- 12 External links
- 13 Notes
- 14 References
In the good old days
“”You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.
|—Abraham Lincoln… or maybe not|
In a sense, fake news can be traced back to various contestations over what was or was not historical fact, e.g., Plutarch's criticism of Herodotus' The Histories, as well as attempts at censoring the propagation of heterodox religious views within theocratic states.
The earliest newspapers in anything approaching the modern sense arose during the European wars of religion (1524 to 1648 CE) and were 80% sectarian propaganda, 19% exaggeration, and 1% whatever actual news was buried beneath the bullshit. Savvy rulers soon took to censoring them to keep the people from being riled up too much. Even savvier rulers read the accounts of both or all sides to be able to better tell fact from fiction. So yes, in the world of journalism, fake news is older than real news.
During the 17th century, several American colonies adopted laws that attempted to suppress "false news". In 1798, John Adams and his Federalist Party passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which criminalized false statements that were critical of the government. The Acts resulted in the arrest of Benjamin Franklin Bache, the editor of the Philadelphia Aurora, a Democratic-Republican newspaper.
Fake news, at least of the satirical variety, has an honorable history. The first satirical publication was the Polish Wiadomości Brukowe[note 1] (1816-1822), which was shut down by the Russian Empire. The best-known English language satire publication was the British Punch (1841-1992). The longest continually publishing satire publications are the Harvard Lampoon (1876-) and the lesser-known The Yale Record (1872-).
Something resembling modern journalistic standards (truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability) did not begin until the early 20th century. Prior to that, the main concerns of journalists were selling papers and avoiding libel lawsuits. The late 19th century saw the rise of "yellow journalism", which was marked by sensationalistic headlines, fake interviews and pseudoscience. Remember The Maine?
The old guard of fake news consists of tabloid journalism. In the UK this is mainly Daily Mail, The Sun and The Express. In the US national level, this is mainly: National Enquirer, Weekly World News (defunct), and Globe. Of course the world's most circulated newspapers are almost invariably tabloids, or "boulevard" newspapers. The "boulevard" being a reference to their method of distribution - unlike major "serious" newspapers that mostly rely upon subscribers, a classical "boulevard" paper would be sold mostly or exclusively via small newspaper and tobacco stalls and as such had to attract readers passing along the boulevard with big pictures, screaming headlines, crime, violence and nude flesh.
(Programmes which make satire out of news, like The Daily Show, also call themselves "fake news", but don't enter this article, since they talk about actual events. Thus they also differ from satire news such as The Onion, which are fake events but just for laughs.)
An inevitable consequence of discussing fake news with what one might call alternative news source aficionados is the claim that "The mainstream media is the real fake news" or something similar. This seems understandable at first, given how sensationalist, poorly analyzed, and balance-fallacy prone many major media institutions are (especially television). The problem is this tends to result in people turning their due cynicism of damaged institutions into paranoia and obsessive rejection of all but the most extreme and even egregiously incorrect "alternative" sources.
Reality bites the dust
“”Any negative polls are fake news.
|—Donald Trump turning "fake news" into a snarl word|
As the Internet has grown, cash-grabbing fake-news sites have popped up freely. 2015-16 saw an unprecedented wave of egregiously-false bullshit channeled through Facebook, Twitter, and good old-fashioned FWD:fwd:RE::emails ("remails"). The phenomenon has become so bad that Snopes — whose sole job is shoveling bullshit — admitted they could no longer cover it all. Their reason? "The bilge keeps coming faster than you can pump."
Unsurprisingly, flooding the Internet with fake facts has adverse consequences:
- Oxford Dictionaries in 2016 named "post-truth" as their international word of the year.
- According to the author of ABCNews.com.co (see below), "I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don't fact check anything."
- One communications professor, Melissa Zimdars, (!) got so tired of seeing bullshit news that she compiled a list of "False, misleading, clickbait-y and satirical 'news' sources"; after receiving threats against her person, she removed it.
- There are innumerable examples of people believing this shit.
A powerful component of the spread of fake news sources has been "alternative news" sources exploiting many peoples' due cynicism about major media outlets that often sensationalize, fail to adequately fact-check, and oversimplify news. This exploitation takes the form of re-framing those failures as complete uselessness, allowing them to insinuate their own sites as the sole source of truth, regardless of their own rather unconcerned attitude towards objectivity and fact.
After pushback against fake news, The Atlantic notes that many fake-news outlets have taken to cynically calling professional media outlets "fake news" — in order to make the term meaningless. The Trump White House has even found a way to perpetuate the narrative of labeling real news as fake news, according to a report by Business Insider:
Voilà, the press is now reporting the fake news that the White House provided it.
Mapping the partisan brain
“”We've tried to do similar things to liberals. It just has never worked, it never takes off. You'll get debunked within the first two comments and then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out.
|—Jestin Coler, publisher of fake news sites|
There is some evidence that conservatives are more susceptible than liberals to fake news. Psychologist John Jost found that several personality traits were correlated with conservativism, the most relevant of which to fake news was "need for cognition" (enjoyment in critical thinking and deliberation): critical thinking was negatively correlated with conservatism in a review of 40 studies. In reference to his small study on bullshit, Stefan Pfattheicher, a psychologist at Ulm University, stated that conservatives "are less reflective in information processing, especially when information is consistent with [their] own worldviews." Pfattheicher and Jost said that the differences were not about intelligence, and Pfattheicher further went on to say, "This seems to be more a matter of motivation to process information (or news) in a critical, reflective thinking style than the ability to do so."
All that said, this research is not definitive, and some researchers, e.g. Daniel Kahan, have not found any conservative-liberal difference. Moreover, it should be clear that this is a Hanlon's razor issue: even if conservatives are more susceptible to fake news, it would not be because they are malicious fake-news-mongers, but instead victims of their own lack of skepticism.
How to identify fake news
“”Apparently, an economy ruled by online advertising has produced its own theory of truth: truth is whatever produces most eyeballs.
- Lack of corroboration: A real piece of news will be corroborated by multiple sources that don't just copy headlines from one another.[note 2]
- Bias: If the editorial position of a site leans a certain way, they may be more inclined to create (or at the very least re-share) fabrications that support that leaning. Be especially wary of sources that support your own biases — you'll be less able to identify the bullshit. A quality news story will contain independent views, not just reporting from one side of the story.
- Overhyped consequences: Real news sites will (mostly) not wrap their stories in claims about the IMPENDING GLOBAL DISASTER or the COMPLETE DESTRUCTION of a political figure. In general, the shoutier the story, the less you should believe it.
- Appeals to emotion: The more emotionally charged a story is, the more likely that it's oriented to generate clicks. Nothing drives traffic like angry people resharing the latest "outrage". If an article makes you angry, double-triple-check it. People have an incentive to lie to make you angry or afraid.
- "Truth": Watch out for sites that liberally use "truth" to describe their content. There is none to be found. For example, the two main newspapers of the Soviet Union were Pravda (Правда, lit. "Truth") and Izvestia (Известия, lit. "News"). People would often joke, "In Pravda there is no news, and in Izvestia there is no truth."
- Weird URLs: In particular, the (fake) domain .com.co is abused by sites trying to pass as legitimate news sources.
- ALL CAPS: What more needs be said?
Outright made up or completely unsubstantiated
These sites make up the vast majority of the clog in people's news feeds. Sometimes they publish truth; sometimes they publish discreditable nonsense. Everything they publish, however, supports their worldview and doesn't acknowledge any valid opposing viewpoints.
They fall into two categories:
- Earnest biased/fake news: These sites earnestly strive to present fact-devoid rants about utter nonsense in order to push a specific class of bullshit — usually pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, religious ideology, or a political ideology. (The people behind these websites may earnestly believe what they preach. That fact doesn't prevent these websites from lacking facts altogether.) Scopie's Law applies.
- Opportunistic biased/fake news: These sites earnestly strive to get clicks, just clicks. If they push an agenda, they don't do it intentionally: these sites are utterly unconcerned with the truth. (Clicks and ad revenue aren't ideological; neither are these sites.) Opportunistic sites like these often invent plausible but utterly untrue (i.e., clickbait) headlines (e.g., "I was paid $3,500 to protest against Donald Trump") in order to maximize sharing on social media (and therefore clicks). Oh, did we mention that they're just click-hungry advertisers?
- Why it's fake:
- Headline: "Donald Trump Protester Speaks Out: 'I Was Paid $3,500 To Protest Trump’s Rally'" (authored by "Jimmy Rustling"[note 3]; debunked by PolitiFact)
- Headline: "Obama Signs Executive Order Declaring Investigation Into Election Results; Revote Planned For Dec. 19th" (authored by Jimmy Rustling; debunked by Snopes)
- Headline: "The Amish In America Commit Their Vote To Donald Trump; Mathematically Guaranteeing Him A Presidential Victory" (authored by Jimmy Rustling; debunked by Snopes)
- Headline: "Fireman Suspended & Jailed By Atheist Mayor For Praying At Scene Of Fire" (authored by Jimmy Rustling; debunked by Snopes)
- Headline: "President Obama Signs Executive Order Banning The Sale Of Assault Weapons" (authored by Jimmy Rustling; debunked by Snopes)
- Headline: "Gay Wedding Mobile Vans Cashing In On The Legalization Of Gay Marriage (authored by Jimmy Rustling)
- Headline: "BREAKING: Capitol Hill Shooter Identified as Right Wing Extremist"
- Jimmy Rustling's bio:
Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.
- Ridiculously exaggerated pro-conservative news
- Race-baiting for clicks
- Possibly attempts to make conservatives look stupid by sharing fake news
- Why it's fake:
- Headline: "Video Leaks Exposing Hillary’s Ties To The KKK… Her Campaign Is Finished"
- Headline: "Obama Demanded This Admiral Not Give Out Bibles, But His Response Is Going VIRAL" (debunked by Snopes)
- Headline: "Obama Takes Down American Flag For Press Conference" (debunked by Snopes)
- Headline: "BREAKING: Obama Admits to Forging Birth Certificate After This Old Photo Leaks to the Public" (debunked by Snopes)
- Headline: "Muslims Demand Army Change Its Dress Code To Include Turbans And Beards" (debunked by Snopes)
- Post title: "Plan Launches To Make Obama Addition To Mount Rushmore" (debunked by Snopes)
- Post title: "Veteran Was Kicked Out Of His Daughter’s School Because His Uniform Was 'Offensive'" (debunked by Snopes)
- Headline: "Top Marine General Now Risking His Career To Take Down Obama" (not really)
- Headline: "Resolution Passed in this County Forcing Citizens To Pay Slavery Reparations" (debunked by Snopes)
- Post title: "Obama pushes reparations for slavery on all non-black Americans." (debunked by Snopes)
- Headline: "ATTENTION Sadie Robertson In Major Car Accident, Please Pray For Her And Her Family" (debunked by Snopes)
- Headline: "RACISM: Black Panther Promises To Kill All White Babies"
- Headline: "Bill O'Reilly Saves The Entire Election… Proves The Liberal Media Machine Has Been Lying This Entire Time"
- Headline: "Black Man Murders White Family And Burns Their Home… Where's Al Sharpton Now?"
- Headline: "Just When You Thought You've Heard The Worst The ISIS Is Doing, This Information Leaked"
- Headline: "Thug Refuses To Pull Up His Pants, So Cops Immediately Teach Him A Swift Lesson"
- Why it's fake
- Headline: "Twitter Deletes Donald Trump’s Twitter Account: 'We Will Not Tolerate Racism & Hate'"[note 4]
- Headline: "Donald Trump Says The Earth Is Flat"
- Headline: "Donald Trump Signs Executive Order Which Cancels Saturday Night Live"
- Headline: "Trump To Build World's Largest Stadium Around Section Of Wall For 'Mexican Gladiator Battles': 'If They Make It Over My Wall, They Can Stay'"
- Headline: "Obama Signs Executive Order Banning The National Anthem At All Sporting Events Nationwide"
- Headline: "Donald Trump Signs Executive Order Banning The Pledge Of Allegiance In Schools Nationwide: 'Needs More God'"
- Content: "Fappy The Anti-Masturbation Dolphin, a mascot for a Christian organization that travels around the country educating children about the dangers and consequences of masturbation, told CNN he believes what Trump is doing is the right thing."
- Absurd news
- Headline: "That Annoying Friend Who Loves Winter Doomed to 6 Months of Decent Weather"
- Headline: "Trump Rushes Emergency Planeload of His Hats to Flood-Ravaged Louisiana"
- Content: "'Sesame Street is the sort of liberal fairy crap kids are watching today,' Fox News owner Ruper Murdoch told Fox News entertainer Bill O’Reilly in making the announcement on-air today. 'Liberals dressed up in goof-ass costumes prancing around filling kids’ heads with garbage about how special they are and how even Muslim and homosexual children are just the same as them and how the letter ‘E’ stands for ‘Environment’ and they should be kind to it.'"
- Headline: "Ben Carson 'Stranded' in Middle of Escalator After Stairs Stop Moving"
- Specialties:[note 5]
- Anti-"mainstream" medicine clickbait
- Why it's fake/distorted:
- Headline: "Microsoft buys eugenics technology from Merck, becomes drug development partner with top global vaccine manufacturer"
- Headline: "AIDS: The great medical con, explained by David Icke"[note 6]
- Headline: "Biotech Genocide, Monsanto Collaborators And The Nazi Legacy Of 'Science' As Justification For Murder" (which insinuates that some scientists should be killed)[note 7]
- Headline: "People who grow their own food labeled 'extremist' by Dept. of Defense"
- Headline: "Principle of astrology proven to be scientific: planetary position imprints biological clocks of mammals" (debunked by Phil Plait)
- Headline: "Whole Foods Market (WFM) continues to knowingly sell poison to its customers: Natural News seeks class action law firm to pursue legal action"
- Headline: "Ten mind-blowing, historic events you will likely witness in the next 100 days"
- Headline: "What 'skeptics' really believe about vaccines, medicine, consciousness and the universe" (They did at least have the sense to put "skeptics" in scare quotes.)
- Why it's fake/distorted:
- Headline: "The Srebrenica Massacre was a Gigantic Political Fraud 
- Headline: "The FDA and Big Pharma's Latest Killer Agenda: Destroy Homeopathic Medicine"
- Headline: "'Depopulation Vaccine' in Kenya and Beyond" (debunked by Snopes)
- Headline: "Is the WHO Using Vaccines to Secretly Sterilize Women All Over the Globe?" (No.)
- Headline: "'Mass Sterilization': Kenyan Doctors Find Anti-fertility Agent in UN Tetanus Vaccine" (still debunked)
- Headline: "Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) – Planned Sterilization of Humanity?"
- Headline: "The Walls Are Crumbling Down Around the 'Official 9/11 Story' – Why?"
- Headline: "BREAKING: 'US used Nukes on Iraq, Afghanistan': Atomic bomb dropped on Tora Bora: Expert"
- Headline: "America Created Al-Qaeda and the ISIS Terror Group" (Though there is some truth to the headline.)
- Headline: "Unlimited War! ISIS Psyop Theater Comes to Full Fruition"
- Headline: "The State and Local Bases of Zionist Power in America"
- Headline: "Earth Day, Geo-Engineering and Chemtrails"
- Headline: "HAARP: Secret Weapon Used For Weather Modification, Electromagnetic Warfare"
- Headline: "Fluoride: Killing Us Softly" (Our precious bodily fluids!)
InfoWars & PrisonPlanet
- Fake or distorted news/clickbait from an anti-government, anti-"globalist", and generally pro-conspiracist stance
- ALL CAPS HEADLINES (lowercase'd here for legibility)
- Why it's fake/distorted:
- Headline: "Why Feds Are Banning Fireplaces And Wood Stoves: Feds attempting to regulate human activity out of existence"
- Headline: "Video: ‘Black Lives Matter’ Rioters Target Whites For Beat Downs" (debunked by Snopes)
- Headline: "Alex Jones Harassed & Threatened With a Gun For Supporting Trump" — And not because of the fact that he's Alex Jones? Find that hard to believe.
- Headline: "Proof: Wholesome Americana Thrives Despite Increasingly Vicious Left: Smalltown America is alive and well"  — Yes, those down to Earth, sane infowarriors that enjoy "honorable traditions" such as harassing homosexuals and transgenders. Damn those sick leftists, they're ruining America.
- Headline: "Soros & Hillary Launch Purple Revolution Against Trump: Globalists try to usurp power from the people"
- Headline: "Dems Declare War On Free Press: Big Government Libs Trying To Control Access To Information" Because big-government Cons never try to hide things from the public.
- Headline: "Shock Video: Police Force 80-Year-Old Italian Hotel Owner To House African Migrants: Government Confiscates Private Property To Accommodate 'Refugees'"
- Headline: "Clintons Begging Trump to Stop Investigation of Hillary Through Chelsea: Trump Must Drain the Clinton Crime Family with the Rest of The Swamp"
- Headline: "Clinton Campaign Admits Making False Claims Against Trump Print: Campaign intentionally conspires to deceive public"
- Tweet: "New York Times warns Hillary campaign in advance of stories they are about to publish." (debunked by Snopes)
- Headline: "Drunk Driver Blames Crash on Trump"
- Headline: "Live by Exec Order, Die by Exec Order" (Why do we only hear this kind of thing when there's a Democrat in the White House?)
- Headline: "Breaking: Internal Coup In Clinton Camp Will Ruin Her"
- Headline: "Expert: Chemtrails Could Wipe Out Humanity"
- Headline: "Obama Pushes 'Fake News' Talking Point; It's a 'Threat To Democracy'" (Or: "Uh oh! Obama is on to us!")
- Headline: "Alex Jones: The Media is a Joke, We Have Won: Masters of Fake News Attempt to Smear Real Independent Journalism" ("...With Our Help!")
- Headline: "The Mainstream Media's 'Fake News' Narrative Is Already Beginning To Collapse"
- Headline: "Dems Pushing Pardons For Hillary & Illegals"
- Headline: "DISGRACEFUL. Michael Shannon To Trump Supporters: It’s Time To Die"
- Headline: "Fake News Alert: Bloomberg Editor Creates Libelous Trump Tweet Out of Thin Air!" — Oh, the irony!
- Literally unbelievable bullshit
- Conspiracy theories
- Might be satire -- features no "about" page
- Why it's fake:
- Headline: "Most Terrifying alien abduction stories"
- Headline: "Lady Gaga: Prince Charles ‘is not human’"
- Headline: "Will Large Hadron Collider destroy Earth? CERN admits experiments could create black holes"
- Headline: "Indian Government: Secret US weapons 'real cause of global warming'"
- Headline: "Most terrifying experiences of glitches in matrix reported by people"
- Headline: "OMG! They’re Going to 9/11 us Again!"
- Headline: "Alien megastructure may have been found 1500 light years away from earth!"
- Headline: "Former FBI Chief exposes 'Illuminati, satanism, pedophile rings'"
- Headline: "Rothschilds caught orchestrating US Election outcome"
- Headline: "U.S. Government pass bill outlawing independent media"
International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State
- Conspiracies theories about upper-level members of governmental and religious institutions
- Attempting to enforce common law through a website
- Why it's fake:
- Headline: "Roman Catholic Church is declared a Transnational Criminal Organization – International Arrest Warrant to be issued against Pope Francis /Jorge Bergoglio for Inciting Criminality and Treason"
- Document: Totally-legit personally-written arrest warrant for "Pope Francis I"
- Headline: "The United Church of Canada is Insane, and other Spiritual Reflections by Kevin D. Annett"
- Headline: "Reverend Kevin Annett is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize"
- Document: "PUBLIC NOTICE Thursday, March 7, 2013 CANADA IS DISSOLVED" -- to be replaced by the "Republic of Kanata", which he still talks about to this day
- Kevin Annett discusses how he personally destroyed globalism on 01 August 2011
Laura Knight Jadczyk
- laura-knight-jadczyk.blogspot.com (dead)
- 911ultimatetruth.com (dead)
- Millenialist end-times fears
- Conspiracy theories
- Why it's fake:
- Headline: "Albert Einstein, Free Energy and The Strange Deaths of Morris K. Jessup and Stefan Marinov"
- Headline: "MOSSAD and Moving Companies: Masterminds of Global Terrorism?"
- Headline: "Mahmoud Ahmad and The Secret Cult of 9-11"
- Headline: "The Denver Airport Material Image Catalog"
- Headline: "The attempted Clinton-CIA coup against Donald Trump"
- Headline: "Wakey Wakey! Deep State USA and the US Presidential Election Farce"
- Headline: "HAARP, Weather, Roswell Rods, 4th Density Battles & Bleedthrough and 7th Density"
- Headline: "Death squads, pedophiles and psychopaths: Inside the British establishment"
- Headline: "Dallas police shootings: Social Engineering and the American Police State"
- Headline: "Harmony: The neuroscience of singing"
- left-wing conspiracy-mongering
- Why it's fake:
- Headline: "200 Evidence-Based Reasons NOT To Vaccinate – FREE Research PDF Download!" (pseudoscientific bullshit; see the main article)
- Headline: "HUD Wants To Make Living In A Tiny House Or RV Illegal"  (Snopes respectfully calls bullshit)
- Headline: "Sheriff’s Dept To Fine People $1K For Bringing In Food And Supplies To Standing Rock" (Snopes disagrees)
- Headline: "Obama Calls Alternative Media 'Domestic Propagandists'"
- Headline: "The Establishment’s Plan To Divide: Donald Trump, Fake News, And Russia" (Just read the first paragraph. If you didn't cringe, there's something wrong.)
- Headline: "Establishment Media Declares War On Their Competition As 'Fake News'"
- Headline: "Sacrificing Children To The State Of California: SB18"
- Headline: "The Truth About Mandatory Vaccines"
- Headline: "How The Government Is Turning Legal Marijuana Into A Massive Surveillance State"
Owned by the Epoch Media Group
- www.epochtimes.com/ (Epoch Times newspapers in 21 languages as of 2017)
- theepochtimes.com (the English-language Epoch Times)
- www.ntdtv.com/ (New Tang Dynasty TV, in Chinese)
- Why it's fake:
- Headline: "Space Aliens Live Quietly Among Us, Say Some Scientists and Officials"
- Headline: "Expert in Chinese Petroglyphs Supports Theory Ancient Chinese Made It to America"
- Headline: "Woman Has Near-Death Experience, Sees 'Hell,' and Comes Back a Better Person"
- Headline: "Supernormal Abilities Developed Through Meditation: Dr. Dean Radin Discusses"
- Headline: "5 Best UFO Sightings This Week: March 7-14 (+Photos +Videos)"
- Headline: "Nervous-System Damage From the Sky: 'Chemtrails' rain aluminum nanoparticles on man, beast, and land."
- Headline: "3-Year-Old Remembers Past Life as Snake? Gives Verified Details of Encounter With Hunter"
Dishonest representation of real news
A favorite of political fake news, on the marginally more legitimate sites, includes completely out-of-context quotes that often say the opposite of what the in context quote says, complete misrepresentations of the intent or cause of actions by political leaders, suggesting a recent policy or action will result in an extreme version of the policy (often freely intermingled with conspiracy theories), treating a recurring or regular event like a sudden new innovation and a threat to [insert your political affiliation here].
- Why it's exaggerated:
- Headline: "Hillary Clinton: Wanted to ‘Curl Up’ and ‘Never Leave The House Again’" (read the actual quote, for Chrissake)
- Headline: "Obama: Muslims Built 'The Very Fabric of Our Nation'" (debunk by Snopes)
- Headline: "Obama: ‘I’m The Closest Thing to a Jew’ to Ever Be President" (Obama himself never said this)
- Headline: "4 Illegal Immigrants Caught on Camera ‘Rolling’ Over Border'"
- Headline: "Lawmaker Wants to Pull Funding from Colleges That Spend Money on ‘Coddling’ Students over Trump"
- Headline: "Take Down the Fascist, Anti-Christian Gay-Pride Flag"
- Headline: "Arabic Translator: Muslim Migrants Secretly Hate Christians, Seek to Outbreed Them"
- Headline: "War on Christmas: Saudis Ban International Schools from Observing Non-Islamic Holidays"
- Headline: "Congressman Slams Discredited Media on House Floor" (oh, the irony)
- Headline: "Donald Trump Won 7.5 Million Popular Vote Landslide in Heartland" (which is a bullshit metric)
- Leftist exaggerations or distortions of news
- Providing transcriptions of interesting wingnuttery from right-wing radio and video sources
- Why it's exaggerated:
- Headline: "‘This is our moment’: Trump’s win emboldens activist behind effort to ‘make rape legal’" (while Roosh V is despicable, he has never explicitly linked Trump to rape legalization)
- Headline: "‘I voted for Trump!’: White customer demands special privileges in Starbucks meltdown"
- Headline: "Baltimore teacher loses her cool and tells ‘punk-ass n****r’ students they’re ‘gonna get shot’"
- Headline: "Trump fans try to ‘punish’ Starbucks by writing his name on cups — and the internet is cracking up"
- Headline: "Van Jones: I love Jeffrey Lord — he’s like a ‘Fraggle’ who believes ‘terrible revisionist history’"
The Rebel Media
- Why it's fake/distorted:
- Headline: "Backlash over Trump’s leaked tape is really an attack on masculinity"
- Headline: "Note telling offended left-wingers to 'suck it up' over Trump's win being investigated as a hate crime"
- Headline: "'It’s like sex!' 10 things I love about going to church"
- Headline: "Millennials argue: 'Trump has to die!'" (or: "Watch as totally-sober kids outside bars are interviewed about politics")
- Headline: "WATCH: White CNN guest drops n-word ON AIR while trying to claim Trump, Bannon are racists" (or: "Liberals said a no-no word!")
- Ridiculously exaggerated pro-Democratic Party news
- Why it's exaggerated:
- Headline: "Liberal House Democrats Blast Trump For Filling His Cabinet With Misfits And Stooges"
- Headline: "Shocking New Poll Shows That A Vast Majority Of Trump Voters Live In Another Reality"
- Headline: "Yes, We’re All Pretty Much Horrified That Putin, Not America, Elected Trump"
- Headline: "Trump Surrogate Calls on FBI's Comey to 'Crackdown' on Peaceful Protests"
- Headline: "Trump Said CIA Lies But Then Winks as He Makes Putin’s BFF New Fave as SecState"
- Headline: "No American Is Safe from Trump’s Wrecking Crew Cabinet"
- Headline: "Trump's Labor Secretary Pick Is Declaration Of War On America's Workers"
- Being owned by the Unification Church
- Generally poor journalistic standards
- Sensational (and false) news stories that other news outlets republish uncritically
- Why it's distorted:
- Headline: "Obama’s golf weekend with Tiger Woods cost taxpayers more than $3.6 million" (Snopes says "nope")
- Headline: "Speaker [Nancy Pelosi] pursues military flights" (Pelosi did not, in fact, request a military-grade aircraft)
- Headline: "Clinton calls terror a U.S. debt to past" (no, Bill Clinton did not defend 9/11 by invoking slavery)
- Headline: "EDITORIAL: Taxpayers to pay for tranny grannies" (sigh)
- Headline: "New Hampshire opts to float Gore's boat" (no, Al Gore didn't flood a river so that he could kayak it)
RT and SputnikNews
- Why it's distorted:
- 52 videos about "9/11 Truth". 7 videos on "Climategate". 4 interviews with Alex Jones, including one on FEMA concentration camps. Need we say more?
- Deciding what the headlines will be before finding any facts
- Video: "'America lives in a fascist state' - Gerald Celente"
- Video: "Chossudovsky: US will start WW3 by attacking Iran"
- Video: "Jacque Fresco: US has never been a democracy"
- Headline: "US Anger With RT Will Start World War Three"
WND (formally WorldNetDaily)
- Far-right interpretations of the news with an emphasis on fundamentalist Christian Apocalypticism
- Being ground zero of the Birther conspiracy theory.
- Publishing a veritable rogues' gallery of wingnut commentators (Matt Barber, Bradlee Dean, Dennis Prager, Jerome Corsi, Ray Comfort, Joseph Farah's mustache, etc...)
- Why it's distorted:
- Headline: "Is this a 'demon' racing in front of Obama?" (no, it's a lens flare)
- Headline: "U.S. on list of Christian-persecuting nations."
- Headline: "'Clinton's black son' demands DNA sample"
- Headline: "Obama hid 'gay life' to become president."
- Headline: "Soy is making kids 'gay'" (Editorial guidelines of using scare quotes around the word gay is clearly the practice of a reputable news source.)
- Headline: "Black Mobs Plague Nightclubs Coast to Coast"
- Headline: "Family picnic turns to horror thanks to black mob." (WND's used the "black mob" trope so frequently that Google banned them from their Ads service and branded WND a hate site.)
- Headline: "Combat soldiers no match for black mob." (Yes, this was an actual headline from a website that claims to be "...an independent news company dedicated to uncompromising journalism, seeking truth and justice and revitalizing the role of the free press as a guardian of liberty.")
- Site: www.conservapedia.com
The right column of the main page links to the sites listed above. In addition cp:Fake News deliberately misdescribes the nature of fake news (which could be summarized as news with which Donald Trump or Conservapedia editors disagree.
This category contains open satire: satire that tells you it's satire. These are the least harmful variety of fake news. (Despite this, many people accidentally share stories from these while assuming they're real.)
The Onion & Clickhole
- Humorous absurdism
- Why it's fake:
- Special report: "Nation Fills Up On Bread: Despite repeated warnings from federal officials not to eat too much before their entree arrives, an alarming 89 percent of U.S. citizens filled up on bread Monday, leaving them too full to enjoy the rest of their meal."
- Headline: "Ambassador Stages Coup At UN, Issues Long List of Non-Binding Resolutions"
- Blog post by Donald Trump: "When You're Feeling Low, Just Remember I'll Be Dead In About 15 Or 20 Years" 
- Headline: "Trump Vomits Immediately After Seeing Everyday Americans Up Close"
- Headline: "Breitbart Traffic Down As Readers Now Getting Bulk Of News Analysis From Graffiti Scrawled Across Neighborhood"
- Headline: "Finding Common Ground: This White Man And This Muslim Woman Both Have 'Trump' Painted On Their Garages"
The Borowitz Report
The Report is written by Andy Borowitz and published in The New Yorker.
- Humorous fake political news from a liberal slant
- ALL CAPS HEADLINES (lowercased here for legibility)
- Why it's fake:
- Headline: "Cruz Delivers Early Concession Speech For Trump"
- Headline: "Poll: Unconscious Clinton More Fit To Be President Than Conscious Trump"
- Headline: "Comey Says F.B.I. Investigating Hillary's Ties To Bill Clinton"
- Headline: "Pence Recaptured After Fleeing Trump Campaign Bus"
- Headline: "Trump Confirms That He Just Googled Obamacare"
- Headline: "In Final Appeal To Voters, Clinton Changes Slogan To 'Won't Blow Up Planet'"
- Headline: "Study: Average American Can Stand Four Seconds Of Ted Cruz"
The Daily Currant
- Specialties: 
- Satirical look at entertainment, politics, and technology.
- Why it's fake:
- Headline: "Sarah Palin Calls For Invasion Of Czech Republic"
- Headline: "Santorum Claims He Thought Grindr Was A Coffee App"
- Headline: "George Bush Accidentally Votes For Obama"
- Headline: "Paul Krugman Declares Personal Bankruptcy"
- Headline: "Sarah Palin: 'Native Americans should go back to Nativia'"
- Headline: "Sarah Palin Arrives in South Korea for Mandela Memorial"
- Headline: "Donald Trump: 'I Have The Greatest Toenails In The History of Mankind'"
- Headline: "Donald Trump Drops Out, Claims 'Joke Has Gone Too Far'"
- Humorous fake political news from liberal slant
- Why it's fake:
- Headline: "Mark Zuckerburg – Dead At 32 – Denies Facebook Has Problem With Fake News"
- Headline: "Refugee Swap: Australia To Send Manus Island Detainees To US In Return For 50 Million Democrat Voters"
- Headline: "USA Loses Presidential Election"
- Headline: "Leaked Emails From Clinton Server Reveal There Are Hundreds Of Singles Available In Her Area"
- Headline: "Trump Rushed Off Stage After Man Asks Him To Logically Explain Economic Policy"
- Headline: "New Microsoft App Correctly Guesses What Year You Think It Is"
- Headline: "oh fuck"
- Literally at the bottom of every page:
THE SHOVEL IS AUSTRALIA’S SATIRE NEWS SITE. By reading this content you agree that Malcolm Turnbull invented the internet.
The Good Lord Above
- Snarky Christianity.
- Why it's fake:
- Headline: "Noah’s Ark Theme Park Destroyed In A Flood"
- Headline: "Vice Presidential Debate Quickly Descends Into Curse-Filled Brawl"
- Headline: "Americans Finally Learn About World’s Biggest Humanitarian Crisis Because A Politician Was Dumb"
- Headline: "One Week After Saying 'God Picked Trump,' Michele Bachmann Stricken With Lockjaw"
- Headline: "Italy Earthquake Damage Removed By Massive Wave Of Thoughts And Prayers"
- Headline: "Clinton Agrees To Debate Sanders In Exchange For $225,000"
The American Tribune
- Clickbait headlines parodying far-right news sites.
- Why it's fake:
- Headline: "Obama Controls our Thots"
- Headline: "Buzzfeed Article Nominated for Pulitzer Prize"
- Headline: "Putin is Out of the Closet!"
- Headline: "Russian Spies Behind 2016 Holiday Season Celebrity Deaths"
- Headline: "NEW CIA REPORT: RUSSIA HACKED THE NEW YEAR'S BALL"
- Headline: "Mariah Carey Claims Stage Was 'Hacked' by Russians After New Year's Eve Debacle"
The Underground Report
- Specialties: Trolling Trump supporters
- Why it's fake:
- They came out as satire on March 3, 2017 after failing to write a story too ridiculous for even Trump supporters to believe.
- Headline: "Bombshell: Obama Plans To Use 'Mind Control' Drug On Trump"
- Headline: "Obama Mobilizing Refugee Army For Mexico"
- Headline: "New Evidence: Milo Yiannopolous Assisted Clinton Goons In Pedo Ring"
- Headline: "Breaking: CNN Connection To ISIS Exposed"
- Headline: "Report: Michelle Obama Underwent Sex Change Surgery In 2016"
Now-defunct fake news websites
- longroom.com (fake polls, fake news aggregator)
- realtruenews.org (conspiracymongering about how the owner of longroom.com
forgot to pay its hosting bill for a monthwas assassinated)
Fake news and phishing
Phishing has utilised fake news with malware delivery for many years. A link to "Obama SHOCKS WORLD with conversion to Islam" or "Donald Trump Dead From a Fatal HEART ATTACK!" is far more likely to be clicked by a victim than a bare link to http://email@example.com.
Alternative use of the term
The term "fake news" has been recently been used to dismiss negative (but genuine) news and is degenerating into a meaningless buzzword all while muddling the difference between fake news and bad reporting that needed correction. In February 2017, for instance, Donald Trump said "all negative polls are fake news", with his supporters not very far behind.
Is RationalWiki a fake news site?
- Fox news
- Green ink
- Charlie Hebdo
- Fairness Doctrine — a US legal standard for broadcast media that was repealed in 1987
- European Union Times — fake news from neo-Nazis
- ChristWire — fake news parodying the religious right
- Pajamas Media — has morphed into various things over time; seems to currently be conservative wingnut linkbait
- Pravda.ru — possibly worse than the original Pravda
- Poe's Law — on why it's difficult to write satire that Trump supporters will understand
- Category:Google News Fact Check — websites that Google News considers to be fact checkers of fake news
- OpEdNews — includes left-wing conspiracy theories, radiophobia, and anti-science
- YourNewsWire — clickbait, fake news & conspiracy theories
- Real or Satire?: Catalogs >200 of the worst offenders.
- PolitiFact's guide to fake news websites and what they peddle
- Fake News Watch: Catalogs ~100 of the worst offenders. (Unfortunately only explains ~25).
- A Guide to Fake News Websites, About.com
- Media Bias Fact Check: Almost always accurately gauges the political (left-right), scientific (pro-anti), and conspiracist (pro-anti) measures of a news organization
- This professionally-compiled file (unfortunately currently offline) is an excellent resource
- Avoid These Fake News Sites at All Costs
- How to Destroy the Business Model of Breitbart and Fake News, NYTimes Op-Ed
- Stop Fake: Struggle against fake information the Ukraine — a multilingual site covering Russian-directed fake news in Ukraine
- The Pocket Guide to Bullshit Prevention
- This Is How Your Fear and Outrage Are Being Sold for Profit
- Botometer — a tool for detecting bots on Twitter
- Contains Dutch descriptions about Dutch, Belgian and English fake news sites
- SMHoaxSlayer — Social Media Hoax Slayer investigates fake news in India
- Fake it to make it Game that places you into the position of a fake news site owner.
- What is ‘fake news,’ and how can you spot it? Try our quiz
- Literally, "Pavement news"
- "People are saying…", "Some people say…" and "Our sources tell us…" don't count as sources without additional information on how they relate to the issue at hand (e.g. "Sources within the State Department tell us…" or "A person, who wishes to remain anonymous, at the scene of the accident told us…")
- That Really Rustled My Jimmies
- Not only did it not happen, this "news" was quoted by a Portuguese newspaper formerly of good quality
but that in the last few years has gone down the CNN route, another Portuguese (sister) newspaper not as well regarded, and a Portuguese news magazine sister to a tabloid.
- One SciBabe article suggests NaturalNews is satire; the article itself is satire: "Yes, this article is satire. Every word, except to the links to Natural News. He actually said all of that shit. You’re welcome."
- AIDS denial and David Icke in one article is almost too much crank magnetism to handle.
- After facing intense backlash, they later changed the headline to Science for sale: The true history of silencing whistleblowers with corporate science(redirect)
- Trump: 'One of the greatest terms I've come up with is 'fake by Brandon Carter (10/08/17 11:07 AM EDT) The Hill.
- All human beings have biases, and — strange as it may sound — journalists are people too.
- Borchers, C. (February 9. 2016). ‘Fake news’ has now lost all meaning. Washington Post. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
- Quote 609 Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989) Bartleby.
- You Cannot Fool All the People All the Time: Abraham Lincoln? Jacques Abbadie? Denis Diderot? Anonymous? Quote Investigator
- Fake News is Old News by Jacob Mchangama (August 25, 2017) Quillette.
- Crisis in Freedom: The Alien and Sedition Acts by John C. Miller (1951) New York: Little Brown and Company.
- See the Wikipedia article on List of satirical magazines.
- American Journalism: 1690-1940 by Frank Luther Mott (2000). Routledge, p. 539. ISBN 9780415228947.
- "Mainstream media is the Real Fake News!" says National Enquirer Boing Boing
- See Why The Mainstream Media Is The Real Fake News! Some random site breaking the .com.co rule
- Now that Dan Rather is retired CNN is the biggest propagator of fake news in the country. "Climate Change" being an example of their unfair fake news propagated by CNN.
- The Guardian: Can mythbusters like Snopes.com keep up in a post-truth era?
- The Guardian: 'Post-truth' named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries
- He doesn't even like Trump
- False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources Archived copy from November 16, 2016, including sources but without detailed methods
- False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources A description of methods without named fake named news sources
- A tremendous collection of examples of
gullible foolsmisled people can be found at the blog LiterallyUnbelievable.org.
- John Stewart on Fake News Moyers and Company
- A suspicious pattern is emerging for how the White House handles its most controversial plans by Natasha Bertrand (February 17, 2017) Business Insider.
- The real threat of phony leaks by Callum Borchers (May 22 at 11:13 AM) The Washington post.
- We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here's What We Learned by Laura Sydell (November 23, 20163:31 PM ET) All Things Considered (NPR).
- Why conservatives might be more likely to fall for fake news by Christopher Ingraham (December 7, 2016) Washington Post.
- The Need for Cognition Scale by Anne Bost (Fall 2007) Center of Inquiry
- [http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0153419&type=printable Misperceiving Bullshit as Profound Is Associated with Favorable Views of Cruz, Rubio, Trump and Conservatism] by Stefan Pfattheicher & Simon Schindler (April 29, 2016) Plos One.
- Ideology, motivated reasoning, and cognitive reflection by Dan M. Kahan. Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 8, No. 4, July 2013, pp. 407–424.
- The Editorial Notebook; Dear Pravda by Geneva Overholser (May 12, 1987) The New York Times.
- The spread of fake news by social bots by Chengcheng Shao et al. (24 Jul 2017) arXiv:1707.07592v1
- Dissident media linked to Falun Gong / Chinese-language print, broadcast outlets in U.S. are making waves by Vanessa Hua (4:00 am, Sunday, December 18, 2005) San Francisco Chronicle.
- Space Aliens Live Quietly Among Us, Say Some Scientists and Officials by Tara MacIsaac (January 30, 2014 AT 3:10 PM Last Updated: April 25, 2014 5:07 pm) Epoch Times.
- Expert in Chinese Petroglyphs Supports Theory Ancient Chinese Made It to America by Tara MacIsaac (June 30, 2016 AT 5:39 PM) Epoch Times.
- Woman Has Near-Death Experience, Sees 'Hell,' and Comes Back a Better Person by Tara MacIsaac (April 10, 2016 AT 11:58 AM Last Updated: April 13, 2016 2:22 pm) Epoch Times.
- Supernormal Abilities Developed Through Meditation: Dr. Dean Radin Discusses by Tara MacIsaac (September 29, 2016 AT 10:16 AM) Epoch Times.
- 5 Best UFO Sightings This Week: March 7-14 (+Photos +Videos) by Tara MacIsaac (March 14, 2014 AT 5:29 PM Last Updated: April 25, 2014 5:11 pm) Epoch Times.
- Nervous-System Damage From the Sky: 'Chemtrails' rain aluminum nanoparticles on man, beast, and land. by Louise McCoy (October 18, 2012 AT 4:07 PM Last Updated: October 1, 2015 12:04 pm) Epoch Times.
- 3-Year-Old Remembers Past Life as Snake? Gives Verified Details of Encounter With Hunter by Tara MacIsaac (August 3, 2015 AT 3:54 PM Last Updated: March 28, 2016 11:25 am) Epoch Times.
- Bullshit hate crime investigation claims
- it's like sex
- Sneak Preview: Trump Has to Die
- mislead away
- [http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report The Borowitz Report
- BREAKING: Satire Makes Fools of Gullible Trump Supporters March 3, 2017 The Underground Report.
- Breaking: Fake news website created to test Donald Trump supporters' gullibility - Reveals they will believe anything by Adam Lusher (March 10, 2017) The Independent.
- Headline: Bombshell: Obama Plans To Use 'Mind Control' Drug On Trump ( February 23, 2017) The Underground Report.
- Obama Mobilizing Refugee Army For Mexico (February 28, 2017) The Underground Report.
- New Evidence: Milo Yiannopolous Assisted Clinton Goons In Pedo Ring (February 21, 2017) The Underground Report.
- Breaking: CNN Connection To ISIS Exposed (February 21, 2017) The Underground Report.
- Report: Michelle Obama Underwent Sex Change Surgery In 2016 (February 21, 2017) The Underground Report.
- Fake news can poison your computer as well as your mind
- Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting. – Donald J. Trump on Twitter
- India’s millions of new Internet users are falling for fake news — sometimes with deadly consequences by Vidhi Doshi (October 1, 2017 at 9:48 PM) The Washington Post.