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Never any fake news in the FCR?

April 9, 2017
Chuck Hunt - Register Editor ( , Faribault County Register

You have probably been hearing a lot about "fake news" lately.

Even President Donald Trump has been making a big deal about all the mainstream media creating a lot of fake news mainly calling stories about him which he doesn't like, "fake."

Is this a new thing? No.

Some sort of fake news has been around for a long, long time. It is not new.

Back in the years 1895-1898, the epitome of fake news was instituted.

It was called "Yellow journalism," or the "Yellow press."

Yellow journalism was practiced by many top newspapers in those years, especially in New York City.

The stories had little or no legitimate research or basis in fact. Instead, the papers used eye-catching headlines and sensationalized stories to sell newspapers.

Something we are still accused of doing, of course.

Yellow journalism is said to have been responsible for propelling the U.S. into the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Seriously. Remember the slogan "Remember the Maine?" It was the New York Journal that reported the U.S.S. Maine was sunk in the Havana, Cuba, harbor by Spain, with no proof of that at all.

Yellow journalism was so named after a New York Herald comic strip called "Hogan's Alley." In the comic there was a character called "the yellow kid." It was sometimes satirical, violent and even vulgar.

But, I digress.

Yellow journalism was followed by Jazz journalism in the years 1919-1924.

Jazz journalism was used by half-page size newspapers (called tabloid-size newspapers) that relied on "jazzed up" or embellished news stories about Hollywood, sex, scandal, violence and money.

They were not always truthful. And yes, they were the start of the Hollywood tabloids we still have today.

I think we have two types of news sources today the legitimate press made up of what I guess I would call "real" newspapers with "real" journalists writing stories, and the rest of the so-called news reporting that is done by special interest groups, political parties, bloggers, tweeters, Facebookers and others.

They can, and do, write anything they want to about anything they want to write about, and can just make it up as they go along. They can voice their opinions as if it is fact, with no regard for the truth.

Then there are the real fake news mongers. If you caught "60 Minutes" on CBS a couple of weeks ago, you saw how they are the scariest of all.

These people write fake news and post it as real on places on the web with fake news organization names. Then the stories are shared on places like Facebook.

Somehow these fake news creators are paid money for having people read their fake news. And the more gullible people who read it, the more the fake news makers earn.

One lawyer on "60 Minutes" says he was making $10,000 a month posting stories that he totally just made up. Not an ounce of truth.

And people would read the stories and believe them. Remember the man who was going to shoot up a pizza place in Washington, D.C., because he had read that Hillary Clinton had started a child sex slave ring there?

Yeah, that was a made up "fake news" story by that same lawyer. It almost put the pizza place out of business. Not to mention innocent folks who might have been shot.

Of course, we here at the Faribault County Register cannot plead totally innocent when it comes to generating "fake news" ourselves.

We are guilty.

Once a year, we create a fake news story, strictly for the entertainment of you, our dedicated readers.

Yup, I am referring to our annual April Fool's Day story. Maybe you noticed this year's version on the front page last week.

If you didn't realize that the story about Chick-fil-A coming to Blue Earth was fake news, then I apologize.

If you were expecting to soon be eating some Chick-fil-A sandwiches, then I have to tell you that it is not going to happen. Unless, of course, the Chick-fil-A people see the story and realize what an excellent idea it would be to have a restaurant near the intersection of Interstate 90 and Highway 169.

If that happens, we will take credit for it. But for now, we will take the blame for getting your hopes up only to dash them.

Some people tell me they spotted the fake news story right away. Others fell for it until they read further and realized it was getting too silly. Especially the part about Foghorn J. Leghorn.

Still others cheated as usual and skipped to the very end to see if we admitted it was fake, which, of course, we did.

And some others, maybe just a few, fell for it hook, line and sinker, and perhaps are just now realizing the truth as they read this column.

Some of those are the folks at KEYC-TV in Mankato, who called up Chamber of Commerce director Cindy Lyon and wanted to come to Blue Earth to interview her about the big news of Chick-fil-A coming to town.

She had to break it to them that it was fake news. Yes, totally fake. Well there is some truth to the fact that city administrator Tim Ibisch loves Chick-fil-A sandwiches.

But still, it was all fake. Bogus. Made up. False. Untrue.

So far I haven't seen a tweet from President Trump chastising us for running such "fake news." And I am a little disappointed at that.

But I haven't given up hope yet. Maybe next year the April Fools' story has to be about President Trump coming to Frost to visit the new ludefisk factory there and celebrating its 50 new jobs that were saved from being shipped out to Norway.

That should do it.



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