Last week I received an email with an embedded link leading to an article told about a Texas judge who sentenced a person to death row upon convicting the person of his third offense possession of marijuana. The story is here:
The story comes from the “Empire News” website. It’s not a true story; the Empire News is a rival of The Onion, a satirical news publication.
I hadn’t heard of the Empire News, so when I received the email from a friend I began looking around for The Onion trademark. It wasn’t there. I checked out The Onion. It wasn’t published there. I had no idea there was another satirical outlet that rivaled The Onion.
The story, even though it’s fake, led me to think of a couple of things. First, we are fortunate in Iowa to have a system of selecting judges and justices that leaves politics out of the process – for the most part. In many states, judges and justices are on the ballot and campaign as though they were running for Congress or dogcatcher. Iowa’s procedure requires interviews with a panel of Iowans selected by the Iowa Bar Association and the governor. After that, 3 finalists are submitted to the governor for the appointment of one. Yes, there is a small bit of politics, but it beats the process of judges making decisions based upon whether they may or may not be re-elected.
The second thing I thought of that came out of this faux article is the reaction. It wasn’t just my reaction; comments followed the article, and several of those comments were from people who thought the article was true. The supposed act was from Texas. That made me believe that it “possibly could” be true. Things happen in Texas that no one can understand. However, there were believers that commented in a way that this was acceptable for a judge to do. “I am glad that Texas is finally taking a stand against SATIN’s [sic] LETTUCE.” (He was referring to marijuana when he calls it “Satan’s Lettuce.) On the other hand, I imagined that the comment itself could be a fake.
It all comes down to this: Who can you trust for reliable news nowadays?
Earlier this week, I heard a woman talk about a bumper sticker that was stolen from her car. It read: “I get my news from Comedy Central; I get my comedy from Fox News.”