People on Facebook continue to say and do things that are so off the rails that it’s hard not to say anything.
Now there’s a fresh twist: People re-posting articles that are meant to be parody but labeling them as fact.
The most notable example is Duffel Blog, a new favorite of mine. It’s like The Onion, with a focus on military matters. Recent headlines include “After Reaching Baghdad, ISIS Militants Declare ‘Mission Accomplished’” and “Dick Cheney Negotiates No-Bid Contract to Maintain Insurgent Humvees.”
The most amusing item so far this week blazed across my newsfeed in all caps: “CIA ADMITS: EDWARD SNOWDEN WAS TOP ASSASSIN.”
I shared that one on my Facebook page because the article itself was pretty funny. But I’ve seen more than one person sharing Duffel Blog stories and commenting in a way that suggests they bought the headline as truth.
Let me give you a piece of advice: If you see a headline that looks crazy, there’s probably a reason for it.
- It’s satire.
- It’s a hoax.
- It’s propaganda, which is always slanted, whether it comes from the left or right.
Parody items you can see for what they are simply by reading past the headline. Halfway through, the joke becomes obvious.
For hoaxes and propaganda, I recommend running headlines by the handy Snopes.com, which will tell you if something is true or fake.
Research can be hard. It can be a bother. It’s so much easier to just react and opine.
But unless you want to embarrass yourself, research is necessary.