Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Unintentional Fake News

I was reading the Google news feed on my phone this morning and a story about the 30-50 pro assault gun meme popped up.  Apparently a fellow from the South who owns some property asked how was he supposed to shoot 30 -50 feral hogs that run into his yard in 3 to 5 minutes without an assault weapon.  He was inferring the danger to his children.  The article from "Slate" went on to agree he had a point.

Now this is where I do the predictable thing and talk about how his argument is stupid, great, or something in between.  No, I won't do that.  It is the background of this story handed to us as factually based I have a problem with.

Once the purpose of the article was solidly in place, a brief history of feral hogs unfolded, giving us their past and their present and the doom and gloom if their populations are not put in check.

One claim in particular caused me to check its accuracy.  "Now, 48 states have reported the animals’ presence..........." 

I had not heard of any feral hog sightings in Maine, and having actually followed the rise of the feral hog problem in previous years, I understood the problem to be one mostly located in the Sun Belt and not up in the frozen outback states nestled next to Canada.

 I jumped all over it and googled faster than you could say "Google It".  The first article that popped up was from a local paper, "The Portland Press Herald".  They claimed Maine has no feral hog issue as there are no feral hogs that have encroached into Maine. According to the article feral hogs only inhabit 39 states.

Fast forward now to my second Google.  An article in the "Central Maine Sentinel" told the story of a Russian boar killed in Somerset County in the yard of a very surprised farmer.  Officials were sure it was not born in Maine and it did not travel this far from another state.  It was most likely one that had escaped a state licensed game preserve.

So what is my conclusion in all this?  The people who write and deliver the news need to be especially careful now days to frame their stories in a way that does not give the wrong impressions.  In other words, report the facts that are not up for interpretation.  And if the facts are up for interpretation, say that.

Fake news is fake news even when it is unintentional.

Later ..............................................


Ol'Buzzard said...

If the situation existed, which it doesn't. He would only have to call Fish and Game and they would take care of the problem..

I ( unfortunately) lived in Florida for two years, and I was raised in rural Mississippi and there is no fifty + feral wild hogs running amok through peoples yards.

Of course he didn't say if the wild hogs were zombie hogs; that could be a real problem.
the Ol'Buzzard

PipeTobacco said...

Imagine a time only a few years ago, when the catch phrase “fake news” was not a thing. Remember those times.... when tRump was only a reality tv doofus. Such a kinder, gentler time.


PipeTobacco said...


I have been hoping for a new Roach Monday post. Hope all is well!