Next time you see that silly headline, you might not want to scroll by.
CNN reported last Thursday that it had been running several fake news stories in an effort to test its impact on culture. Some of the stories reported as fake were deaths of celebrities such as George Michael and Carrie Fisher, exploding Samsung phones, and even that Donald Trump has won the presidency.
It’s unclear when the network started airing untrue stories, but it is clearly the direction CNN president Jeff Zucker is choosing to take the company. Independent auditing of the over 28,000 stories aired just last month show a staggering 21% of them contained elements of fake news.
“We’re learning from the other cable networks what viewers want,” Zucker said. “They feed them what they want to hear, and viewers eat it up. It’s what sells advertising!”
He’s referring specifically to Fox News and MSNBC. Fox’s ability to attract an audience with an average age in their 80s shows fake news’s ability to extend life. And MSNBC’s chronic use of fake news keeps its viewers younger, and industry rumors are it is a fountain of youth, so to speak.
For the time being, it appears only the website This Week In Times is the only news outlet not afraid to report true news, and will remain uninfluenced by advertising dollars.