Tag Archives: Mantie Te’o

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 Tech.co)

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.


Fact-checking In The Digital Age: A Brief Look At The Manti Te’o Scandal

28 Jan

by: Jessi Galloway

It would seem that fact-checking in an age of technology where search engines are capable of turning over thousands of results in the blink of an eye would be as simple as a few clicks of a mouse. This, however, is not the case. The waters of internet reporting are a murky place: tread with caution!

It’s not that there isn’t value in the benefits of internet news writing, blogs, or twitter feeds; but how many of these posts are from a legitimate source? How many links down the line until the original details are less fact and more of a game of Telephone? (We’ve all played the game as children: you start out with a simple message and whisper it down the line, but by the time it gets to the end the message has become diluted.)

It seems to be the case that if enough people are posting a link or retweeting a post that it somehow gives it undue credibility. This goes for big time news reporters as well. One Media Bistro blogger, Fratti, reported that even the highly acclaimed news media’s, like The New York Times and Sports Illustrated , failed to do the footwork needed for the Manti Te’o story. She continues to question how there are stories referencing a funeral for the girl in question and no one has taken the time to check the obituary’s. Anyone else seeing a red flag?

When everyone’s rushing to be the first out with the story, (an issue quite prevalent with the invention of internet news writing) failure to follow up on the accuracy of the source has become a reoccurring problem.

The Media In Question
It’s strange to think that social media websites like Twitter and Facebook didn’t even exist ten-years ago. The creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg, announced to Forbes in October of 2012 that the site had reached the 1 billion users mark; a huge milestone for social media. The Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax is just one example of many where fake accounts or falsified information is involved. How many people have you accepted friend requests from whom you’ve never met based solely on the fact you have friends in common? It’s all too easy to fly under the radar, as this most recent hoax has proven.

Check Please!
If the Manti Te’o story has taught us anything it’s to always, always check your sources. While this seems a basic concept that goes without saying, the practice of it has gone to the wayside in favor of being the first with the story. You might get the scoop, but it’s also your reputation on the line if the break out story is inaccurate.