Quote of the Day: “Viral” Is Not the Same Thing as “True”

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From an unnamed colleague of Dave Weigel:

“Too good to check” used to be a warning to newspaper editors not to jump on bullshit stories. Now it’s a business model.

If you didn’t follow the great Elan Gale Twitter hoax over the weekend, click the link for more. Weigel’s point is that just because something “goes viral” on social media is no excuse for publishing a story about it without bothering to perform even basic fact checking. Sure, that would mean fewer dumb pieces of clickbait and thus fewer clicks, but if getting lots of hits is now an all-purpose excuse to shrug your shoulders when something turns out not to be true, maybe the sites that buy into this business model should start calling themselves something other than news outlets.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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