'A Lot More Players Joined the Game': '60 Minutes' Talks to Purveyors of Fake News
"60 Minutes" took on the issue of fake news on Sunday night, with anchor Scott Pelley pressing a few of the purveyors of fraudulent or unvetted news stories.
A creator of fake news stories, Jestin Coler, explained that he's written made-up news stories, fake obituaries and horoscopes and has been making money - up to $10,000 a month - on these headlines.
"It’s kind of almost an addiction, right? You kinda see something really take off, and then as it’s coming down you’re kinda lookin' for that next high, I guess," he told Pelley
Coler said he once had 8 million page views on a fake story about the Army quarantining a Texas town due to the Ebola virus, while another fake story about ObamaCare recipients being implanted with a tracking device got 1.6 million views.
Pelley also sat down with a prominent Trump supporter named Mike Cernovich, pressing him on a story on his website that claimed Hillary Clinton was suffering from Parkinson's.
The story, which quoted a doctor who had never examined Clinton, was posted on his website Danger & Play and eventually had to be officially denied by the Clinton campaign.
Cernovich, however, stood by the report, saying he "absolutely" believes it was true, noting that Clinton - during a bout with pneumonia - appeared to faint in New York City last September.
Michael Cernovich: She had a seizure and froze up walking into her motorcade that day.
Scott Pelley: Well, she had pneumonia. I mean--
Michael Cernovich: How do you know? Who told you that?
Scott Pelley: Well, the campaign told us that.
Michael Cernovich: Why would you trust the campaign?
Scott Pelley: The point is you didn’t talk to anybody who’d ever examined Hillary Clinton.
Michael Cernovich: I don’t take anything Hillary Clinton is gonna say at all as true. I’m not gonna take her on her word. The media says we’re not gonna take Donald Trump on his word. And that’s why we are in these different universes.
On "Happening Now" today, Eric Shawn discussed the fake news problem with Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Judith Miller and The Wall Street Journal's James Freeman.
Miller agreed that there has always been fake news out there, but warned that it's gotten far worse in the past year.
"We've never seen an explosion like this," she said, adding that these fake stories have "real consequences."
In the report, an Oxford University researcher said his analysis of social media traffic in Michigan in the days before the 2016 election found that there was a 50-50 split between the sharing of fake news and stories from professional news organizations.
Watch the discussion above and the full "60 Minutes" report here.