Jerk steals $1K from Girl Scouts selling cookies at mall! blared the New York Post.
Cookie Monsters! cried one CBS affiliate.
I wouldn’t call it a “mix up” and the scout leader was let go, not surprisingly.
Some very gullible people donated money without thinking about the story’s veracity, but a picture of a crying little girl holding up a box of cookies does something to critical thinking skills.
As usual, newspapers had the alleged victims pose with very serious faces. It doesn’t make it true.
I wrote the book on this kind of fake news way back in 2005 — and we still have the same problems.
These days, important, critical thinking words, such as “allege” or “accusation” aren’t even used in news reports. People can make anything up.
Fortunately, police are wise to journalism’s lack of due diligence and do their own legwork to verify…