WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Fake News Sites Designed to Deceive Voters

Sep 16, 2014

The Shop Talk panelists talk about political websites that are made to look like news sites.

The Columbia Journalism Review reported it found at least 20 such sites created by the National Republican Congressional Committee.  The CJR noted, “The way people increasingly consume information on the Internet—by reading headlines and sharing stories before clicking through to the article—makes it easier than ever for people to fall for online hoaxes.”

The Shop Talk panelists agree with CJR in opposing the practice. 

Jasmine Crighton believes many people get fooled by such sites.  She concurred with CJR, saying many people share articles without taking much of a look beyond the headline.  She said the attempt to deceive voters through such sites hurts democracy.

Panelist Rich Egger said he’s seen people fooled by The Onion, which is a pretty well-known satirical site, so it stands to reason they might also get fooled by a lesser-known and deceptive political site.

Panelist Rich Moreno said the political sites are different than The Onion because they’re designed to sway voters.  He said their content pretty much consists of news releases and “hit” pieces.  He called the NRCC sites an “orchestrated campaign” to deceive voters.