Reply To: NY Times: How Fake News Goes Viral

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Great stuff, Adam. I most definitely saw the “bus” stories on my social feeds during the protests. I had a hard time believing any group of people would be so stupid as to bus themselves in so obviously. And they didn’t. Clearly.

But since we’re on the topic of fake news, and because you shared a New York Times story, I wanted to get your opinion on a story they ran recently.

On November 18th, they ran a story with the headline… “Iraqis cheer ‘truth-telling’ Trump’s stance on ISIS, but fear it may backfire.”

Within a matter of hours, the headline was changed. It later read… “Iraqis cheer Trump’s stance on ISIS, but fear it may backfire.”

The noticeable change was the removal of “truth-teller” as a part of the headline. No big deal right?

My initial reaction was to laugh and think to myself how typical the edit was. After all, the NYT is an undoubtedly Left leaning news organization. As such, it was as if their online editor simply could not swallow such positive phraseology within a Trump-centric headline. Thus, the change was made.

But what’s more annoying is that they have since changed it again! Latest headline… “Trump’s New Hard-Line Aides Worry Muslims, but Some See an Upside”

What’s completely ridiculous is that this article has seen so many variations, with each one getting more and more negative as it concerns Donald Trump. Keep in mind that the first variation had Iraqis viewing him as a “truth-teller” and now, suddenly he’s “worrying muslims” — which is a reoccurring narrative for the Left, wouldn’t you agree?

All politics aside, what do you think of this practice? Is it not a form of manipulation (just like fake news)? It may not be a “fake” in the true sense (as with the bus example), but with so many people never reading past a headline these days, I find it calculating. Depending on which headline you caught in your news feed, you’re bound to have totally different takes on what the subject matter may be.

Maybe it would bug me less if there was an obvious note regarding an update to the title. Some transparency would be nice, but that’s probably too much to ask for.

Because I found it so ridiculous, I happened to screenshot the story after the first change (linked). And to make sure I didn’t make up the first headline, I googled it as I recalled and found several other sites linking to the NYT story, with the “truth-teller” quote still mentioned (linked also).

How would you categorize this sort thing??