BOSTON (CBS) — Do you want to know the truth? Or do you just want information that reaffirms your own bias, whether or not it’s false?
If you prefer truth with your morning coffee, then you need to be on the lookout for fake news, made-up stories and internet hoaxes that are gaining increasing traction in an environment where way too many people believe that if they read something on their Facebook feed, hear it on some radio talk show, or see it online then it must be true.
A case in point: This was the story that owned the internet yesterday, a video posted on Twitter by a New York man claiming Delta Airlines discriminated against him by ejecting him from his flight after he conducted a phone conversation with his mother in Arabic.
As we taped this commentary Wednesday, Delta was still investigating what happened. His story may turn out to be true, although an actual journalist, Soledad O’Brien, has reported that at least one source on the plane questions whether the infamous phone call ever took place.
In the meantime, here’s one thing we do know for sure: the guy who posted this is a serial online prankster who has admitted to staging a fake racial-profiling incident in the past.
His latest video was shared on Twitter more than half a million times, and the hashtag he created–#BoycottDelta–was trending worldwide all day.
Was it yet another hoax? If so, the damage is nonetheless done, and score yet another triumph for knee-jerk gullibility over truth.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.