Yellow Journalism

So a while back I realized that my Facebook feed had become a little cocoon of news and sites that mirrored only my opinions or at least came close. Following the lead of a couple of good friends, I began to expand the sites I had in my feed to a number of places well to the right. This included Liberty Today, TeoInfo, Bossfeed, and Breitbart. 30% of the United States get their information from these sections of the internet and it seemed to me that part of the reason I had been so stunned by the election of our current president was because I hadn’t been reading the same things they were.

For a while I was a passive observer. The postings on the sites just seemed to reinforce the opinions of the people there and most of what I might have said consisted of incoherent screaming, so it wasn’t worth the trouble. Then one day there was a post that simply stated “Major Muslim Figure Demands Pork Be Taken off the Menus or All Muslims Will Leave, What Do You Think?” That was it.  I had to respond. But rather then take a position, I asked questions. Who was the major Muslim figure, because it was never stated in the article? What menus were they talking about? Which Muslims were they talking about? When was the statement made? I kept my language plain and non-insulting but I did use the term fake news.

A concerned friend answered my post, pointing out that the term, fake news, was pretty useless anymore since it had been co-opted by people who used it against any source of news they didn’t like. After some thought I decided to switch to the term Yellow Journalism. From the days when cheap newspapers were printed on yellow paper and kids stood on the corners yelling out the headlines, yellow journalism was a powerhouse in America around the turn of the century. They used a mix of graphic real stories and plain made up ones, just as long as they could sell papers (get clicks). Yellow journalism was even responsible for the Spanish-American war. It’s a bit harder to type and doesn’t roll off the tongue the way fake news does but it was m ore accurate. The ‘Muslim’s will leave’ story keeps coming back including this obnoxious meme.

The sad part is that when I asked if anyone knew who the women was I got responses from people who were convinced she was a major leader in the Muslim community when in fact the picture can be found if you Google hijab model. The way constant return of certain stories is not uncommon as well, since if it works once often these sites will just run it over and over with slight tweaks.

Then I saw an article that I knew was totally made up, something that taken from a “satire” site. (Sorry about the quotes, you are going to see those a lot. There are a number of sites out there that like to create articles from whole cloth just to mess with the conservatives and others that don’t seem to understand the concept of satire, so we get these stories passed around as the real thing.) Anyway, I saw the below article, which I have done a number of times since.


17-YEAR-OLD TEENAGER SUES HIS PARENTS FOR BEING BORN WHITE

This was one of my first attempts to show how to figure out if something was a fake. I explained about right clicking and satirical sites. It was also my attempt to be even-handed and make it clear that I was willing to accept that they might have been suckered by the story. I bolding my responses and putting them up exactly as I posted them, typos and all. This is mostly to show that it is possible to challenge yellow journalism without being rude and do it quickly.

This one is a mixed bag. I hate to call it Yellow Journalism because it could just be a mistake but it isn’t true. To start with, right-click the picture and you will discoverer it is of Dylan Schumaker who murdered his girlfriend’s 1-year-old son by shaking. Dylan managed to get a rather light sentence for the crime which some folks claim was due to his blonde hair and blue eyes but that is another story. The picture of the supposed parents is actually of Rachael Dolezal’s parents, who elected president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP in 2014, and left when it was discovered she had been lying about her background. The story itself came from World News Daily Report, a “satirical” web site sort of like The Onion. http://hoax-alert.leadstories.com/3468744-fake-news-17…

I found myself checking all the sites I visited and posting whenever I ran across something I could prove there was an example of Yellow Journalism no matter what side it was on. People have asked me why I spend my time doing this and it’s complicated. Mostly because I believe that the 30% of people who read the sites I hadn’t been going to are every bit as invested in the truth as I am, so I don’t think they want to be lied to any more than I would. I don’t expect to change the people who run the sites. They are either in it to make a buck or out of ideology (or they are Russian’s but lets not go there). It wasn’t totally clear in my mind why I was doing it actually, I just knew it had to be done sometimes for hours on end. Then I came across this post.

That’s when it clicked. Sure the people who threatened me or said I was full of myself would never change their mind but there would be plenty of people on the sidelines who might. So I kept going. The battle against Yellow Journalism was on.

The next one was easy it was a picture of a girl falling through the air and popped on Google as fake so quick I didn’t even have time to sip my coffee.


Muslim Mob Throws A 15-Year-old Christian Girl Off a Third Story Building.

Yellow Journalism Alert: The real story behind the image: It is actually from June, 2011 and takes place in Shanghai, China not Minya, Egypt and the woman was not thrown out of the window but rather fell from the fifth floor! She also lived which is nice. The article is completely made up. https://www.thesun.co.uk/…/plunge-woman-lives-after…/

There are some pretty common targets for the Yellow Journalism bunch. The Clintons are a favorite and some of those can get pretty creative. The one about the ship carrying human slaves was a good example.


BREAKING: Clinton Foundation Cargo Ship Raided At Port Of Baltimore Reveals Sick Secret

My reply was pretty basic and seemed like enough to put an end to the story.

Yellow Journalism Alert: There is no ship owned by the Clinton Foundation by named Chelsea. The person in the picture is not who they say it is and the news station that the picture is supposedly from even issued a denial.  The article was written by a satire site. http://www.wusa9.com/…/verify-was-clinton…/439396711.

But nope, I received a prompt reply. (Presented exactly as it was written).

The ship wasn’t owned by the foundation, its owned by one of the foundations donors. Haven’t found which one yet but there are several connected the the African muslim brotherhood.

So I had to go deeper and explain point by point.

The ship doesn’t exist. The story was written by a ‘satire’ site called LastLineOfDefense.org that publishes bogus posts keyed to topics designed to troll conservatives. The site’s creator, a man who said his name is Zeke Wilekenmeyer, has told PolitiFact he deliberately worked to get gullible readers to share his stories to prove those readers don’t rely on facts. The Port of Baltimore itself has denied the story and the picture is a badly Photoshopped stock photo of the port.http://www.politifact.com/…/fake-news-clinton…/

There were no more posts after that. The idea that something is completely made up when it fits so neatly into what you want to believe is hard to give up. Just like how the woman in the meme ‘must’ have been a real person and the ship had to be real, we have a tendency to want things to be true if they support our world view. If someone believes Muslims are evil than any bad thing they read about Muslims must be true. My efforts to show that the articles are lies can almost be painful to deal with.


French Now Preparing For “Civil War” Against Muslims To Take Country Back

The picture that goes with this is a rather impressive fire on a highway with cars and police outside of Paris. I have to admit I got a little snarky in my response here. Which was probably why I got a response about how I was making it up. I then had to provide the link to the article about the taxi cab strike complete with the picture. If I’d done that in the first place, I wouldn’t have had to respond again and give them the link to the original picture. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/01/26/taxi-drivers-in-fiery-protest-in-paris_n_9076436.html

First right-click the picture and you will see that it is from a taxi drivers strike in Jan. of 2016 against the proliferation of Uber and Lyft. There were also teachers, farmers and air traffic controllers striking around the same. One thing that is pretty common in France is the general strike and yes, sometimes they can’t get pretty ugly. The student strikes in the 60’s and 70’s were seriously nasty. You know what none of this has to do with? That would be Muslims. 

I often wish I could post the how to spot fake news list with every one of these but most people wouldn’t read it so I just keep them as short as possible. When you are considering your news remembering these factors can make a big difference. Do they provide links? What kinds of sources are those? Right click the picture, where did it come from? A couple of minutes checking the news will both guarantee that you have good information and make sure that when you pass it on no one can embarrass you. It usually takes me longer to write the post explaining how I found out an article was yellow journalism than I it took me to get clear evidence it was yellow journalism.

I’ve been guilty of letting my own biases catch me up. Passing on stories about Sarah Palin saying that Jesus knew about Easter or that Anonymous had taken down the Daily Stormer are good examples. Not a fan of getting caught like that to be sure.

Besides Muslims the Conservative sites are none too fond of Black Lives Matter so of course when the hurricane in Texas hit we got this one.


BLM Thugs Block Texas Roads to Protest Trump – INSTANTLY Learn It Was BAD Idea

Yellow Journalism alert! 1) Right click the picture, do a Google search. It is from a protest July 10, 2016 in Memphis. 2) In fact Black Lives Matter members are bringing food to the people in Houston right now. 3) The other pictures are from protests in other areas of Texas far away from the floods. 4) Texas in case you didn’t know is a big state. 5) I’m going to use the Buzzfeed link because it has information about some of the other Yellow Journalism stories about the same thing. You have every right not to believe it but there are a dozen other sources as well. https://www.buzzfeed.com/…/conservative-fb-pages…

They also hate Antifa, these two popped up the morning after Charlottesville. The church article used a picture lifted from an article that was titled ‘Church Fires Common, But Usually Not the Result of Arson’ which I found a bit ironic. https://stream.org/church-fires-common-usually-not-result-arson/


BREAKING: ANTIFA Burned Churches In 9 States To The Ground Overnight

Yellow Journalism Alert. The picture is from the burning of a black church in 2016. There are no news feeds with reports of church fires like this anywhere or an announcement from Homeland or the DOJ. This is completely made up. 


BREAKING: DOJ Officially Labels Antifa A Terrorist Group

Yellow journalism alert. Start with the picture, it is a well-known Photoshop from a riot in Europe, a complete fake. Second, the DOJ has made no such announcement. https://www.fastcompany.com/…/that-viral-photo-of-an… http://hoax-alert.leadstories.com/3468739-fake-news-doj…

Then there is the defending idiots. A school board member posted this meme and wondered why people took it badly. This one mostly became a matter of history and opinion instead of news but I really couldn’t pass it up because man is it stupid. This one got a fair amount of backlash so I have tried to avoid too many like them.

There have been Muslims in the United States since the Revolutionary war. They are fine with this country. They love the fact that they have freedom of speech and religion here. There are plenty of other religions (including mine) that don’t eat pork or believe in Jesus and have been here just as long. “Among the Jewish signers of the American Declaration of Independence there were Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, and Lewis Morris of New York. There was also Governor Morris, who is believed to have written the preamble to the Constitution”. Many other believe in modesty and don’t drink alcohol. Many Muslims have dogs. So yeah, this meme is BS. Posting at as a private citizen is no big deal. Posting it as an elected or appointed official means you have to suffer the consequences. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. She can say she is not a bigot all she wants but it is going to be hard to prove.

Also defending the indefensible and being really Anti-Semitic at the same time there was this one that probably got more responses that any. Most of them were from people insisting that they didn’t hate Jews but they believed in THE TRUTH and could prove that mathematically the Holocaust was impossible. Sometimes you turn over a rock and what you find underneath is really scary.


GERMANY SHAMED BEFORE THE WORLD

Ursula Haverbeck tonight faces a prison cell where she is to serve two years jail. In Washington Occupied Germany (WOG) it is illegal to investigate and expose Holocaust fraud. Instead of being honoured for exposing a legal loophole through which tens of millions of Euros are siphoned out of Germany the 88-year old grandmother now faces a lonely cell death.
During an arraignment, as crooked as notorious Soviet eras show trials, media hacks submissively clapped the near nonagenarian’s sentence. With breath-taking chutzpah, it was the grandmother, not the state that was charged with treason.

Everybody does understand that In Germany, anyone who publicly denies the extermination of Jews during Adolf Hitler’s regime can be sentenced to a maximum of five years in jail, right? She is a repeat offender, this is the third time she has been convicted of this and has gone to jail twice for doing the the same thing. Haverbeck was found guilty of writing a letter to Detmold’s mayor, Rainer Heller, saying it was “clearly recognizable” that Auschwitz was nothing more than a labor camp. I have met people who have tattoos from those camps so I take this stuff a bit personally. Holocaust deniers, even or might I say especially old ones, are a sore spot for me.

Another favorite enemy is common core and teachers. As the husband of a teacher and the father of a teacher I tend to take that a tad bit personal. This one was intended to hurt people so it pissed me off even more.


Common Core? 6th Graders Taught How to Use Strap-On Dildo

Yellow Journalism hits a new low. Let’s start with the fact that sex education is not part of the Common Core. That is always going to be determined locally. Then let’s get into the pictures. They are not of a Florida substitute teacher named Sharon Mercer, but rather pictures of Carlyle Jansen, the founder and owner of Good for Her (a progressive, female-friendly sex store in Toronto, Ontario), who has upon occasion been invited to give talks about sexual health at Toronto-area high schools. The thing is she also gives talks at colleges too. You know for grownups? Someone took pictures of one of those talks and then slapped together this article complete with fake quotes. This one is really bad folks. It was meant to make people upset and it was all lies intended to be shocking intending to destroy education. http://www.snopes.com/media/notnews/strapon.asp…

Speaking of hurting people, the next one really pissed me off. I have to admit keeping from doing a major argle-bargle on this was really hard. I did notice that my comment was the last one on the thread which was something I guess. In general, that tends to be my goal. If nobody comments after me then my work is done.


California libtard threatens to cut off penis if trump builds the wall

Can anybody guess where the picture of this “libtard” came from? This was snagged from a news story about a school shooting at an Oregon Community College. So now the young man in this picture has not only gone through an active shooter situation but is being used as an awful meme. He is not from California, he never said this and this is bullshit.  http://www.snopes.com/california-college-students-castrating-trumps-wall/

 There are a number of good sources where you can find out if something is Yellow Journalism. Snopes.com started it all doing urban myths but conservatives won’t believe you if you use them. Politifact is a mixed bag but they can be useful. Hoax Alert is another good source. I’ve also had mixed results with Factcheck, they are good if you know what you are looking for but if the information is a bit random not so much. Just Googling the headline will often give you the info you need but sometimes you have to dig deeper like the next article. I had read a lot newspaper articles and legal journals to figure this one out. Was it worth it? I had a nice lady from England tell me I was right so I guess so.


Illegal Muslim Migrant Released On Bail 6 Times, Repays Liberal Judge In Gruesome Way

Okay so this one took some research but here goes. In England, from what I can gather, if you get busted for minor crimes like fare jumping or petty theft (which is what all of his charges were) they don’t have anything like our three strikes law. If it’s a minor charge there is a process and most people are cut loose to come back for their hearing. Now in his case the Home Office (the people in charge of immigration) received the information that he was arrested and could have come to deport him. They dropped the ball, not a liberal judge. Yes, it sucks to have to blame something on a faceless bureaucracy that is doing a crap job but that is the case here. The courts had to cut him loose after a period of time but if the Home Office had picked him up any of the five times no one would have died. 


 Here’s the thing, anybody can do this. If enough of us do it, things will have to change. The only way we will have a change in the system is if people join together and kick it in the ass. Getting out in the streets used to be the way to do it but now social media is the way we are being attacked and beaten. We need to do something about the way we absorb and deal with our media. We need to fight back. The people got tired of Yellow Journalism and decided that something needed to be done. Standards were established for journalism that lasted for a long time. We don’t have that option anymore, we have to be the ones setting personal standards and holding people accountable. It won’t be fun but after a while they will realize they can’t continue this bullshit. We can win.

Peter Hill

About Peter Hill

Hunter of vinyl, lover of music, drinker of Guinness, causer of trouble and pounder of keyboard.

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