A few days after I posted the Fake News Guide: Your Armor Against the Media Cesspool, PolitiFact decided to put out their own fake news guide, titled: Politifact's guide to fake news websites and what they peddle.
I wish I could say the author of the article, Joshua Gillin, put out some quality content that puts mine to shame, but here's the problem...
The whole thing is sub-par and half-assed at the VERY best. Sorry Joshua, it just is. Here's why:
1. Pointing the Finger
Right out the gate, the article begins by pointing the finger at a bunch of "fake news" sites. Calling out websites by name in the first few lines does not "guide" people on how to make the determination themselves about what is fake and what is real news.
2. Partnering with Facebook
It's pretty widely known that PolitiFact and Facebook are both heavy left-leaning sites. I would be more apt to take this article seriously if they had claimed to have partnered with someone of the opposite political view and published a guide that showcases points they could both agree upon.
The author goes on to say, "Others, it appears, want to reinforce fiercely held political views."
3. Publishing "Fake News" List
If the Coca-Cola company published a list of "poisonous colas," would you take it seriously? Obviously, Coca-Cola would have a huge incentive to publish a list that would knock their competitors down a notch (if it wasn't illegal).
Like any other news source or publication, PolitiFact is in competition with other sites for people's attention. How in the world can you trust the list they put out unless you are already a hard-core PolitiFact fan-boy?
4. Blatant Hypocrisy
As I'm reading through the article, Joshua mentions, "some websites just want you to click on their pages to generate advertising revenue." Moments later, a giant ad for a garden nozzle pops up on my screen. I couldn't click out of it and had to navigate back to a previous page to get it to go away. (Not to mention all the other banner ads in the side bar)
5. Moot Points
My head is still spinning trying to figure out how the following quote helps someone determine if a website is fake news. "Most imposters we've found so far have set up shop anonymously through domain services like godaddy.com."
WHAT THE HELL!?
How in the world does the domain service you've chosen to set up your website through make you fake news? How does being anonymous when you do it make you fake news?
Come on Joshua! Give your readers something they can ACTUALLY use.
6. No Comment
As I mentioned in my fake news guide, be weary of sites with their comments section disabled.
I wanted to offer the author some rebuttals to his points in the comments section, but (predictably) there was no opportunity for me to do so.
7. Reader's Role
Probably the most important thing that was left out of PolitiFact's guide to fake news was the reader's role in sniffing out fake news. There are certain skills that one must already come to the table with in order to truly have a sense of the authenticity of news articles and media websites.
So what do you think? Am I totally off base here, or is my guide to fake news a far superior guide? ;)