Gullibility and the Media

4 Apr

by: Jessi Galloway

It’s here again, April Fools, and that can only mean one thing: Pranks, rather you’re on the receiving end or not. You would think by now we’d be a little more wary of our sources, especially with recent hoaxes like the Manti Te’o story. Recently I’ve begun to ask myself have we become more gullible as a society?

CNN recently reported on the top ten April Fools online pranks for 2013. Among them was Youtube’s announcement that it would be no more, Twitter charging for the use of vowels, and the new Google Nose. Don’t worry, Youtube will still be here tomorrow, as well as the satirical news stories, the doctored photo’s, false Facebook updates, and tweets that are sure to leave your friends in a tizzy; we’ve seen them all, but what happens when seemingly harmless jokes are taken as factual information?

(Photo taken from

Things like Google Nose seem like harmless fun, but then again there is a saying ‘It’s always fun and games, till someone gets hurts,’ and when it comes to April Fools and the media, someone always does.

Lost in Translation

It isn’t only American society that has fallen prey to merciless pranksters. Onion, a notorious satirical website, managed to fool the Chinese government’s press with the story it ran naming Kim Jong Un as the sexiest man alive. Sadly, this isn’t an isolated event, and the Onion takes pride in those it fools.

Are our ego’s making us blind to truth, or are we really just that gullible? Kim Jong Un had a 55 page photo spread done in response to this “honor.” Below is a photo of the North Korea leader trying to appear dashing atop a horse. Okay, so maybe it was his ego in this case, but what about the reporters who ran the story, or posted the Gallery of his “sexiest moments?”

(Photo taken from the Daily Sheeple)

Whose to Blame?

Perhaps we can chalk some of this up not to the gullibility of people, but to a loss in translation. After all if we can bomb Hiroshima because of a miss translation, we can hardly point the finger at others for not realizing that the onion is meant to be comedic. Regardless I’m willing to bet someone lost their job over that story… looks like the jokes on them after all.

Can we blame social media? Online news? It’s become so easy to share a status updates or retweet a thread, but how often do we check the full content of what we are posting. By posting you are endorsing that message. How many links down the line until we have lost all fact? These are all question we must ask ourselves whenever we seek out information.

So whose fault is it? We have no one but ourselves to blame. The information is out there we’ve just gotten to content to make the extra effort; trade in expediency for accuracy. If these stories have taught us anything it that faster doesn’t always mean better.

Don’t be the fool this April and check the facts.


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