Let’s get right to it:
- What does President Trump do when faced with very real reports of a slowing economy and possible pending recession? He blames it all on the “fake news media,” as reported by The Hill. Here’s what he tweeted:
“The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election. The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!”
- Continuing from last week’s stories about conspiracy theories, the big one these days is QAnon. What is QAnon? From Salon’s story: “QAnon is based upon the idea that there is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who rule the world, essentially, and they control everything. They control politicians, and they control the media. They control Hollywood, and they cover up their existence, essentially. And they would have continued ruling the world, were it not for the election of President Donald Trump.” Yeah, it’s tinfoil hat stuff, but a growing number of Trump supporters are buying into it. Read and decide for yourself.
- A Facebook meme making the rounds claims that “Congressional salaries have gone up 231%.” This is simply not true. As clarified by FactCheck.org, members of Congress haven’t received a pay raise in a decade. And before that, automatica cost-of-living adjustments resulted in a much smaller increase of 94.4% over the twenty-year period from 1989 to 2009 – less than 5% a year, on average. Now, you may think that our Congresspeople are overpaid, especially concerning their lack of legislative action over the past few years, but their salaries haven’t been going up.
- We talk a lot about fake news, but what about fake crowds? The Atlantic has the story, all about “the business of generating fake enthusiasm. It’s all about astroturfing and paying companies like Crowds on Demand to rent phony baloney crowds for campaign rallies and such. Read it here.
- The latest scientific research suggests that fake news creates false memories. That is, when someone reads a fake news story, especially one in “highly emotional, partisan political contests,” they later remember it as something that really happened. This is according to a recent study published in Psychological Science.