That’s an actual headline over at “American News“, an alleged “news” website registered in Queensland, Australia. Big whoop, right? Just another crank on the internet, wearing tinfoil and waiting for the lizardmen to emerge from the Earth’s crust and subjugate the human race. Right?
Because “just another crank” wouldn’t be able to cobble half this number of likes or shares.
This is not the work of some frightened, piteous conspiracy theorist hanging out in his mom’s basement. Instead, it is something far more serious and malignant: It’s clickbait.
Preying upon the worst fears of conservatives across the country, sites like “American News” & “The US Patriot” (also registered in Australia) churn out headlines like “Irrefutable Proof Offered That Obama Is A Member Of The Muslim Brotherhood“, only to back them up with nothing. No, I don’t JUST mean that their allegations-phrased-as-objective-facts are unfounded, I mean that unless you’re on a mobile device or running Internet Explorer (and have an extreme tolerance for ads) there are no articles to read; only sickeningly long comments sections filled with some of the most vile, hate-filled commentary you’ll ever see. But it’s hard to blame those commenters too much, I mean, what is the proper reaction to “Report Circulating That Justice John Roberts Signed Off On Obama’s Arrest For Treason“? After all, this “news” comes from a trustworthy source, the site has “American” right there in its name!
Sadly, that IS the thought process of far too many conservatives, who put their well-founded and wise fear of government ahead of their skepticism. The IRS DID target conservative groups, Benghazi WAS blamed on a video, the border IS in crisis, it’s not too far of a leap to think that worse acts are on their way.
But just like we have been trained to be vigilant when it comes to the mainstream media, so too must we be vigilant on the internet. Not every site painted red, white, and blue has your best interests at heart, and as former Progressive Andrew Peth of The Party of Choice pointed out last night on #TheRefinery, disinformation is a tool the left constantly uses.
So arm yourself against disinformation, vet articles for their sources, and make sure you aren’t on a satire site before you share their content.
Remember, while information can empower people and movements, disinformation can bring them to their knees.