Are we making the Internet stupid?

Mama says, Stupid is as stupid does. - Forrest Gump
Mama says, Stupid is as stupid does. - Forrest Gump
Earlier this year, Nicholar Carr’s book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains drew a lot of attention from the news media and bloggers. The reason: Carr’s contention that the Internet is rewiring our brain and, according to one headline over a Carr essay, making us stupid.

But after following a non-news story that developed on Black Friday, I think the opposite may be happening.

I think people are making the Internet stupid, not the other way around.

I offer as evidence Exhibit A (with a hat tip to @JohnFMoore):

Mediaite.com: FoxNation.com Reposts Anti-Obama Article From The Onion, Doesn’t Mention It’s A Joke (click image for article).
Mediaite.com: FoxNation.com Reposts Anti-Obama Article From The Onion, Doesn’t Mention It’s A Joke (click image for article).

On Black Friday, The Onion (which you probably know is a parody news site) posted an article headlined, “Frustrated Obama Sends Nation Rambling 75,000-Word E-Mail.” Some editors at FoxNation.com, apparently thinking the satirical article was real news (and that The Onion was a real news site), “reposted the first two paragraphs in their culture section with nary a sign as to its fictional nature,” as Mediaite.com reported. (FoxNation.com is part of the conservative, anti-Obama news organization Fox News. The link to that Onion parody has since been removed from FoxNation.com site.)

I’m not too surprised that the dullards at Faux News were taken in by the Onion. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that their readers assumed that FoxNation’s presentation of the shenanigans was real news. As Mediaite reports, “at the time of this post’s writing [11:55 a.m. Nov. 26, 2010], you have to scroll through 20 comments to find someone who realizes the story’s fake. Five comments below that there’s actually someone (sarcastically?) saying they emailed The Onion for confirmation on the story.”

Dear readers of FoxNation.com, please limit your Internet activities to email forwards about stolen kidneys and Neiman-Marcus cookie recipes. You’re dumbing down the Internet.

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Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

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