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BellaOnline's Urban Legends Editor

Urban Legend or Fake News

From television to radio and print, everyone knows who they can trust-don't they? With the development of the internet and the expansion of cable and satellite television it's not nearly as easy to recognize real news from faked news anymore.

The definition of fake news is: a parody of network television newscasts that exploit the absurd in current events for humorous intent rather then being concerned with providing complete and well balanced information.

Often these stories cover actual public figures and celebrities caught in unflattering situations or uttering comments that reveal their lack of knowledge about a specific subject.

So what is the appropriate amount of satire or fake news that should be allowed in this instant media age? Should we as readers demand that the media limit the amount of fake news that is produced and published? Have we become just so gullible that we are ready to believe anything? These are questions that members of the media are asking in response to complaints from readers about fake news confusion.

The fake news organizations of today design themselves so closely and craft their articles so deftly that anyone could be easily fooled. It takes a keen sense of irony and knowledge of current events to keep from falling for fake news.

Are these organizations deliberately pulling the wool over our eyes? Not necessarily. People have a "want" to believe. Some organizations use this want as a way to disguise a product or a way of thinking and some just do it as entertainment.

Is it the sole responsibility of these "news" organizations to make sure us readers know the content within their article is misleading? Ethically, yes it is their responsibility to put a disclaimer on their published works so the readers know and can choose to read it or not. But there is no law that calls for it.

Too many readers take in only the headlines and immediately share the content without actually reading the article and making decisions about it. So much so that as an answer to complaints, the social media outlet Facebook has announced they will look to testing the feasibility of tagging articles as "satire" to help its readers avoid confusion over actual news and fake news feeds. While this may help some readers from spreading satire and false news, this is only one site and we as readers cannot rely on others to protect us from false information.

It ultimately falls on you as a reader to do your research and take any story that sounds too good to be true and question it.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Mary Beth Crabb. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Mary Beth Crabb. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Mary Beth Crabb for details.

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