Clickbait Narratives Are Still Ruining America

Look at the headline in the lead image. Aren’t you enraged? Betsy DeVos, that destroyer of public schools, that evil billionaire—she’s flying a private jet for official travel! It’s outrageous, ridiculous, and completely inappropriate for taxpayers to pay for a woman worth well over $5 billion to fly in a private plane! It must be a scandal, because Tom Price and Steve Mnuchin are also embroiled in scandals.

Of course, if you were actually to click into the article, you’d read the following quote, right at the top of the article:

Education Department Press Secretary Liz Hill told The Associated Press on Thursday that DeVos travels completely on her own dime, accepting no government reimbursement for flights or other expenses.

“Secretary DeVos accepted her position to serve the public and is fully committed to being a faithful steward of taxpayer dollars,” Hill said.

So, wait…what? She’s flying on her own jet to save taxpayer dollars? Well, holy shit. She’s an American hero, not a criminal. But do you think this matters to people who just read the headline on Facebook? Who took the five seconds out their miserable days to make the mad little emoji, or to share it nearly a thousand times?



Maybe because Michelle’s family trips were at taxpayer expense. Just saying.

“Ametuer hour,” indeed.

No, it’s not your money. It’s hers. Again, she DOES pay for her own private jet.

I mean, it just goes on, and on, and on. Hundreds and hundreds of people looking to have their own, personal confirmation bias legitimized with a headline. It literally took them longer to write out their daft opinions than it would have to have clicked the article, read the very first fucking paragraph, realized it was a non-story, and moved on.

And, of course, The Hill is “Facebook-verified” with a blue check and everything, so naturally it must be legitimate news. No inherent bias there. Of course, Facebook isn’t liberal-leaning at all, right?


It doesn’t matter that this story is anti-Trump administration—it could just as easily be an anti-Clinton/Sanders/Obama story, and you’d see the same reaction from the uneducated on the Right. Part of the problem of having the vast majority of our information coming from social media means that we usually only hear what we want to hear, not what we need to hear. We only want our existing opinions to be reinforced. Betsy DeVos is stealing my money? Of course she is, because I already think she’s a horrible succubus.

I’m likely as guilty as the next person. The only news sources I follow on social media are conservative-leaning, and I very rarely go directly to independent sites to get my news. So I’m going to stop being part of the problem.

I’m not going to use social media to help shape my opinions anymore. In fact, I’m pretty close to going the route of my big brother and deleting my FB profile altogether. He says it’s made his life better. Maybe it would do the same for me.

58 Replies to “Clickbait Narratives Are Still Ruining America”

  1. Joe

    Never use social media for my news sources, if i see something on instagram, i will confirm with a conservative editorial stance like Breitbart, very hard to find neutral point of view news outlets.

  2. Rod Jones

    Google her name and you will find dozens of articles about how she pays for her own private jet travel like this one

    The thing you should be concerned about is how she wants to connect public education and religion.

    • Bark M Post author

      I think she’s saying she wants schools to reflect their communities. I doubt you’d be so opposed to kids learning about Islam.

      • Rod Jones

        I dislike all religions because they all churn out hypocrites and through the ages have been responsible for more wars and needless slaughter that any other factor.

        • Ronnie Schreiber

          Secular political movements affiliated with socialism (Russian & Chinese communism, National Socialism in Germany, Pol Pot in Cambodia) killed millions more people in the 20th century than all the people killed in religious wars since the dawn of humanity.

          • Rod Jones

            Not true.
            The Crusades: 6,000,000
            Thirty Years War: 11,500,000
            French Wars of Religion: 4,000,000
            Second Sudanese Civil War: 2,000,000
            Lebanese Civil War: 250,000
            Muslim Conquests of India: 80,000,000
            Congolese Genocide (King Leopold II): 13,000,000
            Armenian Genocide: 1,500,000
            Rwandan Genocide: 800,000
            Eighty Years’ War: 1,000,000
            Nigerian Civil War: 1,000,000
            Great Peasants’ Revolt: 250,000
            First Sudanese Civil War: 1,000,000
            Jewish Diaspora (Not Including the Holocaust): 1,000,000
            The Holocaust (Jewish and Homosexual Deaths): 6,500,000
            Islamic Terrorism Since 2000: 150,000
            Iraq War: 500,000
            US Western Expansion (Justified by “Manifest Destiny”):20,000,000
            Atlantic Slave Trade (Justified by Christianity): 14,000,000
            Aztec Human Sacrifice: 80,000
            AIDS deaths in Africa largely due to opposition to condoms: 30,000,000
            Spanish Inquisition: 5,000
            TOTAL: 195,035,000 deaths in the name of religion.

          • Disinterested-Observer


            Your argument would hold more weight if your “religious” connections were less tenuous. Not a believer myself, but blaming Christianity for the Atlantic slave trade is as ridiculous as blaming whatever religion you are blaming for AIDS in Africa.

          • Dean

            Rod failed to note you specifically stated “religious wars”.

            Including 30M deaths from AIDS due to lack of condoms would clearly be excluded from consideration.

            In addition, when a society invades an area, like the Muslim Conquests of India, that is not necessarily a religious war. It’s simply a bunch of douchebags slaughtering innocent people under their thumb.

            But hey, why let reason get in the way of a good misrepresentation of facts. It’s the Way of the Left.

          • jz78817

            not really, since communism has never existed on a national scale in this world regardless of what ruling parties called themselves. Leninism paid lip service to the concept, but after the Bolsheviks overthrew the “bourgeoisie” they never really got around to doing that whole “return the means of production to the proletariat” thing which was pretty important to guys like Marx. Instead, after achieving power they decided they very much liked being in control of things and became little more than dictators with more pomp and circumstance.

            Communism simply can’t work on a national scale, it’s fundamentally opposed to human nature in general. It can only be enforced at gunpoint, at which point it becomes something else entirely. Leninism and especially Stalinism were far closer to fascism, esp. the concept of state control of industry and commerce and forcible suppression of dissent. and once you put that kind of power structure in place, the megalomaniacs take over.

          • Ronnie Schreiber

            Interesting how you politically correctly included homosexuals in the Holocaust victims but you left out Gypsies, the only group besides Jews that the Nazis specifically targeted for extermination.

            The Nazis never persecuted homosexuals en masse. They used sodomy laws from the Kaiser era to go after political opponents who happened to be homesexuals. About 50,000 German homosexuals ended up in concentration camps. There is no record that the Nazis imprisoned homosexuals in the countries they conquered and occupied, as they did with Jews and Gypsies, and there is no record of the Nazis trying to exterminate gay men and lesbians.

            The number of Nazis who were homosexual or bisexual, and known to be so by their colleagues and superiors, like Amon Goeth, the commandant of the labor camp in Schindler’s List, has been well documented.

            Ernst Rohm and most of the leadership of the SA brownshirts were homosexuals. Rohm was friendly enough to Hitler that there were rumors that Adolf himself was gay. When Hitler purged Rohm and the SA to facilitate his control of the German army, in what has become known as the Night of the Long Knives in 1934, some of the murders were effected by gay SS/SD members inviting SA members to parties/orgies.

          • Mopar4wd

            I Don’t read Brietbart anymore but I still read national review. fox news and a few other right sites to keep balance with my center left views. On that note you might find this guy entertaining far left with deep hate for Clinton and Obama.
            And no I do not agree with him most of the time.

        • Panzer

          Sorry mate, but that’s bullshit. As Mr Greenman alluded to, most of the wars you cite can easily be justified and explained by economic/political/social factors.

          The left on the other hand are at the very least partially morally responsible for the ‘excesses’ of Communism/Socialism because unsurprisingly, the deaths caused by Communism are the fault of Communists, but also because the Boomer participation in the big lie of the so called ‘worker’s paradise’ (the Communist projected fantasy about the perfection of life in a Socialist society) implicates them in the defence of a system that did more to reverse the onward march of human civilisation than anything else.

    • MrGreenMan

      You’re clinging to an outmoded theory, and nobody accepts the claim that religion is the prime mover of war. In 2008, Vox Day’s The Irrational Atheist, through a survey of the Encyclopedia of Wars, showed that it was the cause of 7% of wars, and most of those involved Islam. The editors of the Encyclopedia of Wars – who, like you, in the tradition of atheists, are hostile to religion – admitted to their chagrin that his calculation was right. Since then, it’s been widely quoted. Sam Harris has backed off this assertion, just like his “red state/blue county” garbage analysis.

      You’re hung up on an anti-religious opinion without having realized the question has been weighed, and rational people do not assert that religion is the cause of war.

      I’m assuming you’re talking about the GWB invasion of Iraq under the Iraq War. Tell me, did religion cause Saddam Hussein to seize the Kuwaiti oil fields? Did religion cause Saddam Hussein to to repeatedly violate UN no-fly zones? Did religion cause George W Bush’s administration to present fanciful tales of weapons of mass destruction? Did religion cause the great atheist nations that sit on the UN Security Council to authorize punishing Iraq for WMD?

      People are usually motivated by simple, petty things, e.g., you have an oil field, and I want it, or the Brits drew a line 40 years ago, and I disagree with it. You’re projecting your hatred of organized religion by trying to put religion as the blame for war. Thinking people have long abandoned that position.

      • Eric H

        Religion is a steaming pile of ignorance that has been used as an excuse for starting wars since it was invented.
        If someone tells me the Bible is a morals play built up over the last 2000 years I’m fine with that. If they tell me it’s the truth then we have issues.

        • jz78817

          that’s as may be, but people being people even if religion never existed we’d still find reasons to gang up and kill each other.

          • Mopar4wd

            Pretty much this I’m an atheist and religion certainly hasn’t helped mass exterminations but I doubt it’s a root cause either.
            Humans have a desire to be better then one another for some for or another. This almost always eventually leads to violence.

  3. Deadweight

    Anyone who bases judgment off of any mainstream media sourced titles, or alt-right or alt-left garbage, including members of Trumptardian Guard Members, like Mark Baruth & Jack Baruth (who clearly fapp to Drudge, Breitbart & Such), is an idiot.

        • manfromlox

          zman is definitely anti-black. I didn’t catch any particular depth of effort or intellectual rigor though. Mostly more thinly veiled vitriol. If he isn’t “alt-right” the distinction is razor thin.

          If that’s what passes for fact for you Deadweight, you should definitely stay in your echo chamber and not venture out into the real world. No more Cadillacs for you!

          Stay angry, my friend. The world needs more assholes.

      • DeadWeight

        He’s not anti-black.

        He’s calling out ineptitude wherever and in whomever he sees it.

        He’s definitely anti-PC and not into the identity politics scam.

  4. Dirty Dingus McGee

    I take ALL news with a grain of salt. If Huff Post thinks it’s great, Breitbart can be counted on to hate it, If Weasel Zippers thinks it’s grand and Salon despises it, chances are somewhere in the middle is the reality. As for FaceTwitagram, I don’t participate. I figure asking the local drunk at the bar would give me a better grasp of whats going on.

  5. carrya1911


  6. Birju

    Do you honestly think Trump has any sort of plan? A set of values? he’s still surprised the goobers voted him in and trying to make sense of it. He’s extrapolating the running of this country from his history of controlling subsidized housing. Forget Republican or Democrat; his cabinet, the military, Congress and Supreme Court are all going to have to at some point save this country from this privileged imbecile.

    when he was elected, I honestly thought as an outsider he would change how things operated in Washington. What we have now makes me fear for the country’s future.

    • Bark M Post author

      Nobody censored anything. One of your incoherent, rambling thoughts unsurprisingly ended up in the spam filter.

      I kinda worry about your mental health.

      • DeadWeight

        Now that I see that my comment about the lucid, regional and effective way to discuss our modern political and socioeconomic environment (ala the way zman does it) has been released from purgatory, I rescind my condemnation of you for censorship.

  7. ScottS

    Media is SO corrupt is makes me want to vomit. I don’t watch much news these day and when I do it’s Fox. Many of the Old Guard, self respecting journalist have migrated to Fox over the years and it’s still possible to get a reasonably accurate account there.

    I recently watched a Rob Reiner financed political commercial supporting the Russian election cyber war theory. We have a few million people in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the Caribbean in critical need and this what media types and celebrities are spending money on? Those of us in Flyover country will take car of our allies and countrymen without fanfare.

    • Rod Jones

      You watch Fox news? Do you really believe that guys like Hanity and Carlson are unbiased? I quit watching all TV news shows more than a decade ago. It is much better to get your news online from many sources and decide for yourself what the truth is.

  8. Shrug

    I gave up twitter pretty much entirely for that reason. I am nearly the opposite of you in regards to political beliefs, but the super left of twitter constantly yelling about things that don’t make much sense once you bother to read literally anything of substance is fucking exhausting.

    • Rob

      Yes, I will never understand the affection for Twitter. Putting aside the obvious, which is that the interface simply looks like dogshit, I cannot see how short pieces of “information” are preferable to longer ones. One of the reasons that I like Jack’s pieces is that they aren’t character-limited. If someone has the proper knowledge to discuss a topic I’m interested in, I will gladly give them the time to read 1000 words, or 10,000.

      • Shrug

        I used it mostly as an RSS feed, as well as a way to keep up with friends that live across the country. It certainly has its uses, but the echo chamber it creates is just deafening.

    • jz78817

      I have a Twitter account, but I don’t follow anyone so I don’t get all the noise. I only ever really use it because (sadly) it’s often the easiest and fastest way to reach a lot of companies’ customer service.

  9. link3721

    I only have Facebook as a way for people to get in contact with me that may not have my updated personal info. I check it maybe once a month. Full delete isn’t necessarily required as long as you don’t check it frequently. Delete the app from your phone and that’ll reduce the quick access, maybe that’s a place to start.

    I try and read news from both sides and find the common information. Though NPR seems to be the most independent of any site, I also enjoy Reason since they frequently point out the shenanigans of both major parties.

  10. VTNoah

    My wife deleted facebook last year and said she’s never been happier. I’ll admit I haven’t deleted it because it is helpful when I need to get in touch with someone and I don’t have their cell number. That said, everytime I venture to check my feed, I’m revolted. Everybody’s got an opinion on FB and they all stink.

  11. Mopar4wd

    The article was almost pro GOP. My guess was after Price they dug around everyone they could think of. One writer needed something in wrote an article that’s interesting but not a blockbuster. Article was fine for accuracy. But the social media editor went full click bait. Never go full click bait.

  12. Oson

    Democrats are mentally retarded parasites that demand all humans live for them – just like little children.

    “Democrats are just plain stupid…And easy to manipulate…That’s the easy part” -Hitlery Clitler


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