Fake News In Perspective

Fake News In Perspective

By Guest Blogger,
Tyler Kokjohn, Ph.D.

image-1What is fake news?  A simple question that is not so easy to answer.  The extreme forms featuring outright fabrications can be identified quickly, but some stories are far more difficult to categorize.  Because true and false information can be blended together easily and harnessed to serve a variety of goals, fake news in one form or another has been around for quite a while.

A recent article featuring thoughts from a writer who reports on such matters suggests “the origins of ‘fake news’ go back to the 1950s when UFO newsletters from organizations like the Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization reported on alien abductions and government coverups.” Jumping from UFO groups to radio programs and beyond produces a simple straight line extrapolation leading to Breitbart News.

The UFO community has experienced quite directly the negative impacts of fake news.  Charlatans and hoaxers have prospered on fertile grounds while poisoning progress toward meaningful comprehension of the phenomena.  Misinformation and deliberate disinformation have agitated leaders and the rank-and-file alike.  Unable to establish much of anything in the way of reliable, agreed-on fact, the community has devolved into small profit center fiefdoms.

Ufology has been plagued by fake news from without and within, but that device certainly did not originate in UFO interest group newsletters.  To make such a claim is to ignore a great body of history that reveals forms of fake news have been with us for centuries.  ‘Yellow’ journalism helped drive the United States into war with Spain over a century ago as publishers William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer tried to out sensationalize each other’s news stories.  Edward Bernays wrote the book on the dark aspects of propaganda – ‘engineering public consent’- nearly 25 years before Coral and Jim Lorenzen founded APRO.  Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense, published in 1776, pushed the American colonies on the path to independence.

Fake news may be purpose built, but it can also come about through journalistic carelessness.  Experts consenting to interviews must take care to provide informed perspectives and interviewers/authors may wish to vet the assertions carefully.  It seems possible that Long John Nebel might have influenced Art Bell, but what evidence is there that chain extends forward through persons like Rush Limbaugh and beyond?  Maybe it is just as valid to postulate later day radio personalities were influenced by Harry Emerson Fosdick and the many evangelists of the airwaves who followed him.  Lacking corroboration these statements seem more akin to a conspiracy theory than an evidenced explanation of the history of fake news.

The take home lesson is clear; fake news is pervasive, some of it may not be intentional.  Manage it by honing your critical thinking skills.

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Is It Time To Kickstart Mrs. Steinberg’s Puckered Starfish?

steinberg-thrillerFriends, I come to you as a man of peace. In the past I have questioned Gene Steinberg’s integrity as an entity in the ufo field and as a man in… you know… life. But no more. I recognize a person in genuine need when I see one and Gene is such a person. Rather, Gene’s wife is such a person. Rather, Gene’s wife’s bloody asshole is such a… person? Sure. Person.

Before you stop reading to write me your hate mail, allow me to allow Gene to explain in all his exclamation mark glory. In “An Important Message From Gene Steinberg!” dated 09/21/2016 titled, “Barbara Continues To Suffer!” we read:

In the past couple of weeks, Barbara has spent an increasing amount of time in the bathroom, suffering. Her colorectal condition (not cancerous) appears to have grown worse. She has an appointment with a specialist in early October ahead of needed surgery.

But in order to have that surgery, I have to make sure her coverage, with United Healthcare (via the Obamacare exchange) is current. That’s before the copays that can get expensive, way beyond that I can afford.

Now I couldn’t have gotten this far without the generous assistance of my readers and listeners. I will never forget your generosity.

If you can help me further to get over this hump, please do what you can.

It’s truly heartbreaking. Here is a man who just barely raised enough money from fans to pay his bills, move to a new home, and pay the cleaning fees. Now, while he continues to work on working on boosting cash flow (a work in progress), the buttocks of his lovely wife is set to explode.

Well not on my watch or your dime, folks.

Gene, if you’re reading this–please stop taking people’s money. Not because it looks like  you’re a fraud. Not because it looks like you’re addicted. Not because you’re no better than Greer or Bassett. Not because it’s fucking disgusting that any man would shame his wife this way and part of me suspects the only reason you’re doing this is to bait me so you can tell people what a malicious bastard I am for writing this and gain more sympathy coin that way, in which case I deserve a cut and will gladly provide my paypal info if you email me. Not even because in a plea titled, “The Landlord’s Warning!” dated June 24, 2014, you wrote:

Despite making some progress with back rent in the past couple of weeks, the landlord is becoming more insistent. He sent me this text message on my mobile phone the other day: ‘I need to get another payment soon. Your balance is $1589 dollars.’

This includes two months rent and various late/legal charges, so you can see my rent is relatively cheap. By ‘soon,’ he told me days not weeks, and he still reserves the right to send the sheriff to have me ejected at any time.

I still owe back payments for insurance, utilities and so on and so-forth. I’ve paid some of it, but I owe a lot, still, which explains the sleepless nights.

As I said, I have [been] working very hard to get out from under this financial mess and build a reliable income, and maybe get a little retirement income before it’s too late. I have more ad deals pending for the radio shows, and am working to get payments as soon as I can. There are long-range plans, too, so I’m not sitting still.

But I need to get past the current crisis, so if you can possibly help me out again, I hope you’ll consider doing so as soon as possible.”

–and then 2 months later (08/25/2014 to be exact) were caught in  the Optima forum bragging, “I have a 2014 Optima EX with Premium package. I didn’t bother [with] the Technology package, with [the] navigation system and other options, not just because of the expense. My iPhone 5s is a perfectly good navigation tool when I need one.”

No, not because of any of your deplorable acts. Stop taking people’s money because I am going to help your wife. Anyone who has watched No One’s Watching: An Alien Abductee’s Story (which, granted, is no one) has one general takeaway from the film: I’ve got a large ass. A large, nearly hairless white ass. Ass enough for two people. Ass enough for your wife, Gene. And giving her the benefit of the doubt, hairless enough.No Ones Watching

That’s right, if she (or you on her behalf) accept my offer–and if it’s a legal surgery in the States or Mexico–I would like to donate a piece of my winking wormhole to heal your wife’s shit-eating frown.

I don’t know if it’s covered under Obamacare, but we can work out those finer details. I have a healthy, overly ripe, plump buttocks for the taking. If she needs ass, I’ve got ass. Gene, I am here to help. Do not let this opportunity pass her by. Or you could get a job ripping tickets at your local movie theater and buy her some Preparation H. Your call. Either way, know that while you’re full of shit it’s your wife who is suffering. And I am here to help.