Fake News

Protest Rally

The term “fake news” has been tossed around daily by the current US president, a master brander, not to mention a purveyor of “alternative facts” from his alternative universe.   Last week the death of Paul Horner, a well known “Fake News Writer,” was widely reported as due to “a suspected drug overdose.” I think it is wrong for an obituary to speculate on reasons for a person’s demise, especially if the possible cause is something as awful as a drug overdose. Reading further, I learned that Horner was proud of his fake stories and even claimed that his fakery had gotten Donald Trump elected. Despite my dislike of fake news, not to mention my negative opinion of the president, I continue to believe only verified facts are legitimate news and Horner got a bad rap, demise-wise. The irony is that the cause of death of a writer of fake news may itself be fake news.

Last month I fell for fake news. I’m a big fan of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ HGTV show, “Fixer Upper” and was surprised to read that they were ending the series because Joanna wanted to focus on marketing her new skincare line. As I remember, the article made it it sound really good, even the “greatest ever,” a lotion “The likes of which no one has ever seen!” You get the idea. The news article even included a handy link to the skin care site. Well, hey! Who wouldn’t want to have lovely skin like Joanna’s? So I bought it. For just a few more dollars the site touted some oil that would REALLY make me look younger but I declined. I thought Joanna was getting a little pushy; after all, isn’t she making enough money, what with the TV show, furniture store and her line of home furnishings? The lotion arrived and it was okay, though not as good as Moisturel and at a far greater cost.  Weeks later I read that the Gaineses are winding down Fixer Upper for other reasons. The “Joanna’s skin care lotion” story was a scam. So the next time you read that something– a product or policy or even legislation—is The Greatest Ever, Unbelievable, The Likes of Which No One Has Ever Seen, consider the source. You may be falling for fake news.

Photo by Kayla Velasquez, courtesy of Unsplash



About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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