Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Fake News Is Not A Joke - It Is Dangerous

The picture above (by Sarah L Voisin/Washington Post) shows the police response to a report of a shooter in a restaurant in Washington, D.C. Police said 28 year old Edgar Maddison Welch had traveled fro North Carolina to the Comet Ping Pong Restaurant in Washington to "investigate" the business and expose the nefarious things that were happening there. He entered the restaurant and fired several shots into the ceiling, forcing patrons and employees to flee.

Why would he do such an insane thing? Because of fake news stories posted on social media site shortly before the election. Here's how The Washington Post describes it:

The restaurant’s owner and employees were threatened on social media in the days before the election after fake news stories circulated claiming that then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief were running a child sex ring from the restaurant’s backrooms. Even Michael Flynn, a retired general whom President-elect Donald Trump has tapped to advise him on national security, shared stories about another anti-Clinton conspiracy theory involving pedophilia. None of them were true. But the fake stories and threats persisted, some even aimed at children of Comet Ping Pong employees and patrons. The restaurant’s owner was forced to contact the FBI, local police, Facebook and other social-media platforms in an effort to remove the articles. . . .
But it didn’t stop the harassment, and nearby businesses have received threats as well, according to police. On Sunday, Washington Post reporters involved in this article were the target of online threats shortly after it posted.
It's a miracle that no one was physically harmed, but financial and psychological damage was done to businesses in the area and their employees (and some customers as well) -- and all because some people thought it was humorous (or an aid to Donald Trump) to post fake news stories on the internet.

There is no excuse for the posting of fake news stories. We have long known, that out of our huge population, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of people that will believe nearly anything (especially if it coincides with what they want to believe, or is about some person or groups that they don't like). And there are too many of them who are willing to grab a weapon and act on that fake news by killing innocent people. And it doesn't seem to make any difference how crazy the story is -- there will be some who believe it and are willing to kill because of it.

Fake news stories are not harmless or funny -- or acceptable as a campaign tool. They are dangerous, and they must be stopped.

No comments:

Post a Comment

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED. And neither will racist,homophobic, or misogynistic comments. I do not mind if you disagree, but make your case in a decent manner.