Did you hear about Akron’s brush with Hollywood?
The feature story was reported by KBC 14 News, which posted the following on its website.
“AKRON, Ohio — During a radio interview this morning, Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey took a moment to praise Akron residents who had helped him with a mechanical issue with his rental car as he passed through the city recently:
“?‘We were just leaving the city limits of Akron when the damn car overheated or something so I pulled it over to the side of the road, and within just a minute or two there were a couple of cars that pulled over to help me out.
“?‘I told them that I was on the phone with the rental car company, but one of them had a brother who owned a tow truck and a few minutes later it was there and he towed it to a place nearby to get fixed.
“?‘So then the one guy finds out that I’m not from there and offers to take me in to get lunch while my car is getting fixed and I’m thinking, ‘Sure, what the hell.’ So we drove to probably the finest dining spot in Akron – some place called Louie’s Bar & Grille — and got a burger. Great freakin’ burger, too.
“?‘These guys had no idea who I was, either, which made my day, honestly. I’m telling you, these people in Akron are the real deal. I’m going to move there after I retire,’ McConaughey said with a laugh.
“McConaughey added later, ‘You have to understand, this is something that would’ve never happened in L.A.! So yeah, that’s my story about Akron, Ohio. It’s nice to know there are still places like this in America.’?”
Well, isn’t that cool?
No, it’s not cool. It’s fake news. Not the kind of “fake news” that certain people in power claim when something true is reported that they don’t like. This is real fake news.
The local folks who posted that story on their Facebook timeline — and there were plenty — obviously didn’t take the time to figure out what “KBC 14 News” is. If they had prowled around for a while, they would discovered this:
“DISCLAIMER: kbc14.com is a satirical and fantasy website. None of the articles on kbc14.com should be considered true and are simply works of satire or fantasy meant for entertainment purposes.
“The satirical and fantasy articles on kbc14.com poke fun at our celebrity obsessed cultures and the politically correct world we’re forced to live in.”
The people I saw posting this story on Facebook clearly were taking it at face value, noting how nice it was that Akron was getting great national publicity — and directly from a Hollywood movie star!
Which leads nicely into something else I recently encountered on Facebook.
Hallelujah! The social media behemoth — one of every seven human beings on the planet is a daily Facebook user — is trying to help its clients differentiate between legitimate news sources and the fabrications of unemployed 39-year-olds sitting in their mother’s basement typing on their laptops.
You don’t have to be a Facebooker to run into fabricated news.
It’s all over the internet. So the tips put out by Facebook can benefit everyone searching for anything.
1. Be skeptical of headlines. False news stories often have catchy headlines in all caps with exclamation points. If shocking claims in the headline sound unbelievable, they probably are.
2. Look closely at the URL. A phony or look-alike URL may be a warning sign of false news. Many false news sites mimic authentic news sources by making small changes to the URL. You can go to the site to compare the URL to established sources.
3. Investigate the source. Ensure that the story is written by a source that you trust with a reputation for accuracy. If the story comes from an unfamiliar organization, check their “About” section to learn more.
4. Watch for unusual formatting. Many false news sites have misspellings or awkward layouts. Read carefully if you see these signs.
5. Consider the photos. False news stories often contain manipulated images or videos. Sometimes the photo may be authentic, but taken out of context. You can search for the photo or image to verify where it came from.
6. Inspect the dates. False news stories may contain timelines that make no sense, or event dates that have been altered.
7. Check the evidence. Check the author’s sources to confirm that they are accurate. Lack of evidence or reliance on unnamed experts may indicate a false news story.
8. Look at other reports. If no other news source is reporting the same story, it may indicate that the story is false. If the story is reported by multiple sources you trust, it’s more likely to be true.
9. Is the story a joke? Sometimes false news stories can be hard to distinguish from humor or satire. Check whether the source is known for parody, and whether the story’s details and tone suggest it may be just for fun.
10. Some stories are intentionally false. Think critically about the stories you read, and only share news that you know to be credible.
And if anybody asks, tell them Mr. McConaughey said hello.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31