Fake, fake, fake
The story was being shared all over Facebook. “Vespa’s coming out with a new 500cc shifter bike!” people breathlessly exclaimed. Um, no, they aren’t.
If you read the post, you’ll see it contains pretty much every Pavlovian trigger in the scooter universe: 500cc engine, manual transmission, ABS/traction control, and so on. You’ll also notice a reference to a Tesla engineer resolving all the electrical problems (Tesla has been having more than their share of such glitches, so maybe they’re not the ones to ask for help..?). The Bluetooth speedometer connection actually sounds like a terrific idea, but not in this lifetime.
The story appeared on a website called React365.com, which describes itself as “an entertainment website, news are created (sic) by users. These are humourous (sic) news, fantasy, fictional, that should not be seriously taken or (sic) as a source of information.”
In other words, fake news. It even says so on their home page.
We’ve certainly had more of our share of fake news in the last year and a half. Hillary is dead and her clone is campaigning! Donald Trump calls Republicans “the biggest group of idiots in America!” [Some state or local government] stops [doing something] because it offends Muslims!
Fake, fake, and fake.
There was even another scooter story on this site. SIL was reputed to be back in business. Sorry, nope. Fake.
Fake news sites have been spreading like kudzu in Georgia. It’s not hard to see why… anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can put up a site (even me! 😀 ). It’s not like there’s anybody vetting what people write, if that were even possible.
Such sites are in the business of generating clicks, and do whatever is necessary toward that end. Ronald Reagan’s advice to “trust, but verify” is particularly applicable here. Psychologists have been studying the influence of fake news, and so far mostly say the sites’ popularity can be traced to validation of viewers’ preconceived notions. Okay.
America’s taxpayers paid to train me as a journalist when I was in the Army. Chief Mary, my newswriting teacher, took off 35 points (out of a possible 100) for every factual error in the stories we were assigned to write. A passing grade was 70 points; you can therefore see how important getting one’s facts right was.
I do that to this day, and have for the whole time this here blog has existed. Being human, I do occasionally make mistakes, but my aim is always to inform. I hope what I present here is entertaining as well.