Re-Messaging Counts—Even Fake News

rosieA few months prior to our last presidential election, a group of performers made strong statements that if Trump won they’d leave the United States. Since Trump did win, none of the performers left the country. Instead they found yet another way to get their message out to the people ad nauseam.

Barbara Streisand made sure people knew she had a mental breakdown because of Trump. Miley Cyrus shared her profound need to die. And Rosie O’Donnell spoke of her great fear of seeing America go back to the Stone Age. George Clooney, Amy Schumer, and numerous other Hollywood performers chimed in with their ideas to have the entire motion picture industry go on strike until Trump resigns.

“We’re calling for a general strike that would include every single person involved in making motion pictures in Hollywood, starting with the actors and celebrities themselves and encompassing companies in charge of making props, movie memorabilia and even souvenir shops,” a spokesperson for the group told The New York Times. “It’s about time people understood that we’re the ones with the power and that the president is there to serve us, not the other way around.”

Asked to elaborate on why the group is targeting Hollywood out of all the industries in the country as their bargaining chip, the spokesperson argued that Hollywood “is, simply put, the base of the entire modern American culture.”

The Rightists, who bills itself as a “hybrid” site that publishes articles containing a mixture of fact and fiction, wrote this FAKE NEWS article. The article was then rewritten and republished so many times that the satirical sense of the story was lost. The majority of those re-messaging the fake news story were conservatives.

While I’m not sure if the conservatives were re-messaging to show the foolishness to justify their own votes, or if they were ignorant to the satire because they take life way too seriously, or, well, there are several other possibilities that can be discussed, but I want to focus on a different line of thought.

Re-messaging counts!

Anytime we re-message an article, phrase, snapshot or string of 148 characters, we are attaching our approval to the message. We are saying that we stand by what we are forwarding.

Some hope to disagree, especially if they’re forwarding satire. In other words, their goal was to forward the humor of the satire, not the message, which may or may not be picked up on by the receiver. After all, once the satirical piece left the context of the site known for its satire, many interpreted the article as truth, not humor. This suggests we need to attach a short message in front of the forwarded article that says something like, “Hey, this satire made me laugh.”

I’ve received many forwarded warning messages that were proven wrong by Snopes.com and other fact and truth policing organizations. After reading the facts, I wondered why the person who I respected sent numerous others and me the fake news. Most of the time I reply with the facts so the person doesn’t lose face from subsequent forms of re-messaging, but many times its too late.

The rule of thumb that I use when it comes to re-messaging for myself is to consider if I’d compose the message in the same way. If the answer were yes, then I’d send it as is. But, if the answer was no, then I’d want to rewrite the information before passing it along to my friends and family.

The beauty of rewording the message to meet my true viewpoint, since it will be perceived as my view after re-messaging it, is that I can quickly see if the topic is worth the effort of rewriting it. If its not worth my time and energy, then its not worth filling the Internet with more noise. But, if it is of value, then I need to consider what other important factors may have been left out of the article that I can salt into my version of the message.

While this may or may not keep you safe from falling for fake news, it will at least put your spin on the information. Then when people assume you stand behind what you forward, they will actually know your view.

Copyright © 2017 by CJ Powers
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3 thoughts on “Re-Messaging Counts—Even Fake News

  1. I hate all those fake news stories. They’re exactly what made everyone think Elvis actually died. We all know he’s hiding out at area 51 with the aliens and tinkering with that crashed space ship.
    I made a promise that if Trump won the election I would take drastic measures and eat a BLT sandwich. Of course I made the same promise if Clinton won also. Now unlike some of my peers I actually followed through with my promise. I live by a motto my father told me when I was a child, ” A promise never made cannot be broken and can never break a heart”.
    But on a serious note, I actually believed those stories about Clooney planning to strike. I knew there was a long history of animosity between Trump and Rosie O’Donell so it was very easy to believe she said that. At the time I read the stories I believed them all to be true, especially when they were put out by reputable news organizations. My belief at the time was let the politicians deal with the politics and us entertainers deal with entertainment.
    So now do we have fact check everything we read now? If so we would go from a country of diversity to a country of investigators to get the truth.
    I must say your post is very thought provoking.

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