I woke up this morning, scrolled through Facebook and found that a swath of my own friends (God help them) had shared a story titled HARLINGEN, TX: FUNERAL HOME EMPLOYEE CREMATED BY MISTAKE WHILE TAKING A NAP to which I rolled over and thought:
My friends can’t be THIS stupid, right?
The story, posted on something called “The Daily Star” states that a funeral employee employee named Paul Houston (great, great Harlingen name) took a nap after working a staggering 16 hours straight (one hell of a graveyard shift, amirite) when his coworker, Jenna Anderson (another great Harlingen name) mistook him for a corpse and incinerated his body accidentally.
Again, this story got so much notoriety this morning that it even duped some poor suckers on Reddit.
Since grade school has failed so many of you, including my own friends, allow me, the guy who draws dicks on people and creates memes for zero money, to give you a few tips on how to keep from being duped ever again.
1. Check The News Source: If you’re reading an article, ask yourself: “Have I ever heard of this website before?” Hell, I’m literally nobody and for $20/year, I run this entire site and can write limitless stories and attempt to pass them off as legit.
2. Use Google (Don’t be an animal and use Yahoo or Bing): Google a part of the story and see if any other more credible sites have the same story. For this story, you can literally Google “John Houston cremated” and you’ll find the exact same article, but written for Norman, Oklahoma. Also, you’ll find various articles, such as from Snopes, debunking the same kind of stories.
3. Read All The Way To The Bottom: I guess everyone just missed that at the very bottom of the article was a small disclaimer that read “Disclaimer: This is satire.”
The truth is that The Daily Star exists as a funnel for site traffic so that they can generate ad revenue for themselves. Their business model is simple: write the most outrageous local headlines that will generate clicks, design their site so that it looks semi-legit (the “News24” logo is a nice touch) and put in a tiny disclaimer that the articles are satire so that theycan sleep better at night.
In the greatest era of fake news, this probably isn’t as bad as it can get. At least The Daily Star tells you that it’s fake but consider every other backwater site or Twitter account or Facebook page that disseminates false information with zero repercussions. We couldn’t have five minutes without some random Twitter user claiming that Australian kid was actually 18 (he’s not).
Point being: get yourself some smarter friends.