The scene is the digital news meeting that takes place at the Free Press every weekday morning, and if I were sitting at the conference table (instead of lurking furtively in the doorway, which is my preferred perch for this daily gathering of millennials), I would be the oldest person in the room. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Brian Manzullo, an editor roughly half my age, is describing a phony tweet, currently getting wide circulation on social media, in which some cyber-rapscallion pretending to be U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) says that any raping and pillaging the illegal immigrants who haunt President Donald Trump’s nightmares may be perpetrating is only just deserts for the way the U.S. government has treated “my people” in the past. The fake (but incendiary) post’s virulence prompts a debate that takes place more and more often in newsrooms like ours: Will debunking the forged tweet on the Freep.com website stop this fake news in its tracks — or simply accelerate its dissemination among readers predisposed to believe the worst about Tlaib? The younger editors in the room roll their eyes in a communal expression of exasperation with the naive masses who have been snookered by the phony post. As Manzullo ticks off the… Read full this story
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