, 2022-11-01 16:38:26,
Following the unprecedented attack on U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband, a local news outlet, the Santa Monica Observer, published a conspiracy theory to explain the incident. Elon Musk tweeted a link to the story, and then deleted it a few hours later.
The Santa Monica Observer is known for publishing fake news, and it’s been around since 1998, but this past week, it enjoyed its highest profile moment as its false story of the attack on Pelosi’s husband went viral.
The dissemination of false information has become more widespread as some media outlets — particularly those with a right-wing perspective — find ways to make lies look and sound like legitimate news.
Gabe Kahn, professor at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism describes the Santa Monica Observer as: “A site that has a patina of news, which is mostly crime reports, some of which seem to be scraped from social media, others of which are scraped from local TV news. And then occasionally, it has other stories that mingle with that, most of which try to ridicule the left-leaning politics of Santa Monica.”
David Folkenflik, who covers media for NPR, points out that this is all too common across America, noting that in recent reporting, he found over 1,200 such publications. “In certain instances, it appears as though [these outlets] exist to peddle a kind of partisan and hard-right ideological take. And news is just the wrapping around it. And it’s not really even that convincing…
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