Quote of the Day: “Viral” Is Not the Same Thing as “True”

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From an unnamed colleague of Dave Weigel:

“Too good to check” used to be a warning to newspaper editors not to jump on bullshit stories. Now it’s a business model.

If you didn’t follow the great Elan Gale Twitter hoax over the weekend, click the link for more. Weigel’s point is that just because something “goes viral” on social media is no excuse for publishing a story about it without bothering to perform even basic fact checking. Sure, that would mean fewer dumb pieces of clickbait and thus fewer clicks, but if getting lots of hits is now an all-purpose excuse to shrug your shoulders when something turns out not to be true, maybe the sites that buy into this business model should start calling themselves something other than news outlets.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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