Using Your Children to Grift is Child Abuse

I’ll be honest. Years of existing on the internet, with hoax after hoax pulling on people’s heartstrings and then being shown to be a grifting operation, my heart has hardened. I didn’t believe this story from the moment I saw it. Why? Because it’s too good. It’s too on the nose. Aboriginal dwarf getting bullied hits waaaay too many checkboxes for me to not put on my skeptics goggles. As my friend Michael Brown points out: And yes, this setup was a grift, one that this mother has been pulling for years. In fact, the kid is an actor. This…

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The Fake News Formula in 5 Steps

What is Fake News? In the new paradigm, it is, simply, getting people to believe something that is not supported by facts or in contradiction to them. So it’s lying, right? It can be or it can not be, depending on whether you define lying in a purely empirical fashion (stating something that is explicitly false) or a normative fashion (deceiving someone in a hope to have the believe something false, while not necessarily saying explicitly false things). Sometimes the media lies outright, but usually they go the other route. Here is how it works, and how they (often) avoid…

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