The owner of a fake news website reached an impressive milestone this month. Just after a week of being in operation, The Underground Report received about a million viewers, and “hundreds of thousands of Likes and Shares on Facebook.”
In a post to his site this March 3, TUR’s owner James McDaniel took time to thank the “gullible Trump supporters,” who, without their inability to decipher fact from fiction, made the milestone possible.
McDaniel mentioned how the website’s disclaimer points out that TUR is a “news and political satire web publication” didn’t stop readers from embracing his stories as fact.
“So whether you are angry about Obama’s pedophile ring that he ran out of the White House, or Whoopi’s statements about US military widows, calm down… and grow up; neither ever happened,” he wrote.
McDaniel had no idea how much the site would take off when he started. According to him, he wanted to write stories that “no one would believe” as a satirical take in an age where disinformation is so prevalent. For his own amusement (he claims), he started posting links in Trump fan groups on Facebook, and that’s when things got out of hand.
“To my surprise, the Trump masses embraced my stories as fact, almost universally,” he said. “It seemed that there wasn’t anything I could write that was too wild or outrageous to be believed by this particular audience.”
If I wrote about CNN being fake news and connected to ISIS, readers would agree wholeheartedly with my fabricated article. If I wrote about a black liberal or Obama supposedly saying something controversial, the response was unbridled racism and hatred. When I wrote about Hillary Clinton’s new emails that proved she was a child sacrificing maniac, people screamed for her head.
I was startled that in today’s world, so many could be so willfully ignorant. It’s truly a frightening time when a group of people screaming, “FAKE NEWS!” at the top of their lungs, live, eat and sleep falsehoods.
McDaniel could have carried on his ruse, but from a moral standpoint it was something he claims he couldn’t continue.
“…I find it morally necessary to clean up this mess, for a society that loses the ability to distinguish fact from fiction is a society vulnerable to anything.”
The comments on the post were a mix of angry Trump supporters and people gloating in the schadenfreude, but I found this brief exchange to amusing: