When confirmation bias outweighs the desire for accuracy
No one can take a joke these days, especially not media outlets driven by confirmation bias.
The Daily Mail was the first outlet to report Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch started a club in high school called “Fascism Forever”.
Touted as an “exclusive”, The Daily Mail must’ve obtained a copy of a yearbook. Rather than focus on the numerous conservative tendencies of the young Gorsuch, also included in the yearbook, the Daily Mail ran with the clearly satirical “Fascism Forever Club.”
The post was updated after publication, but it’s unclear what was updated.
The Daily Mail post birthed numerous other posts, all linking back to the original. Few got the joke. Most didn’t.
When humor is consumed by confirmation bias, we’re subjected to these headlines:
Even Hollywood gossip blogs spread the fake news:
Forward went so far as to describe the evils of fascism, even name dropping the U.S. Holocaust Museum:
But Gorsuch started the Fascism Forever Club, right?
It was “a total joke” says a history teacher and advisor from Gorsuch’s junior and senior years:
He wrote that he founded and led the “Fascism Forever Club,” though those with knowledge of the school back in the 1980s say there was no such club. The mention of it in the yearbook was a tongue-in-cheek attempt to poke fun at liberal peers who teased him about his fierce conservatism.
It was “a total joke,” said Steve Ochs, a history teacher at Georgetown Prep who was the student government advisor during Mr. Gorsuch’s junior and senior years at the Bethesda, Md., school.
“There was no club at a Jesuit school about young fascists,” he told America. “The students would create fictitious clubs; they would have fictitious activities. They were all inside jokes on their senior pages.”
Google Search Damage is Done
Type “Gorsuch” into a Google search bar and the search behemoth offers the following suggested searches:
Good job, media mob.
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