There have been several stories circulating on various internet forums that you would read and just know they’re false. Sadly, unlike you, my ardent readers, the general levels of intelligence aren’t always that high. People really do fall for this crap.

One of the better ones was ‘Three thousand pound great white shark caught in Great Lakes.’ The original story came out in 2016, but it keeps cropping up, and people keep falling for it.

Set aside that the great white is a marine fish, and couldn’t survive in fresh water. Forget to ask how it got there in the first place. Ignore that you might have expected somebody to have noticed it before.

Just be smart enough to check the provenance. Lo and behold, you find the source to be the wonderful World Daily News Report. I’ve mentioned it before. It’s a site that likes to poke fun at the weak-minded. Good for them. Fair target.

An even older story from the same outlet that rose from the dead like its very own subject was, ‘Ship found 90 years after disappearing in Bermuda Triangle.’ It dates back to this time two years ago, and people are still falling for the story about the SS Cotopaxi being found adrift in the Caribbean by the Cuban coast guard. The mention of the Bermuda Triangle should put people on their guard, but the tinfoil hat brigade actually believe it. Plus I’ve dived on a wreck not as old as that, and the accompanying photo tells me that the subject is not 90 years old in that condition.

The shark story also papered in The New York Evening. This site can be hard to get a handle on, but the shark story gives you a hint. As does the ‘ISIS Lays Down Arms After Katy Perry’s Impassioned Plea to, ‘Like, Just Co-exist.’ I don’t believe that one. Nor do I believe that Barack Obama ordered a passenger plane to be shot down as he flew to Italy recently, with the deaths of 152 passengers. That’s a fib.

However, some of the stories look plausible, and in some cases quite likely. In this case, what you need to do is do a Google search for ‘Fact checking sites.’ There are loads out there. Snopes.com is one of the best known, and it’s a decent first port of call, but even they’ve been known to get it wrong on occasion.

Oh, and also remember that out and out false stories are not the same as stretchers.

https://nobodysreadingme.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/how-to-tell-a-stretcher/

 

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