The level of this column has not been to dunk on dangerous fan theories (though that occurs), it has been to critique specious theories in service of media literacy and to level out dangerous practices when information web sites unscrupulously mixture these rumors and theories. Pajiba‘s Senior Editor Seth Freilich wrote a submit that was a wonderful instance of how fan idea “reporting” usually goes so fallacious, and why it is essential to watch out with what you learn and what you consider.
In the submit, Freilich explains that he works one other job at Atom Tickets, and that a part of that job includes writing up synopses for upcoming motion pictures that the corporate sells tickets to. Freilich recounted how the synopsis for Avengers: Endgame that Atom Tickets wrote up included the road “Avengers: Endgame will rewrite the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we all know it.”
Fan theorists posited that this was a touch that the movie would actually rewrite or reboot the MCU indirectly, maybe with an alternate or recent timeline. However, as Freilich notes, Disney didn’t write this synopsis, and the oldsters at Atom Tickets did not have any kind of insider data. It’s simply third-party advertising copy.
However, for a lot of information websites, it was additionally content material. Comicbook.com wrote up the story, although Freilich praised the location for acknowledging that it was doable the blurb didn’t come from Disney, and for including an replace to the story as soon as Atom Tickets confirmed the synopsis got here from them. Freilich is probably being slightly kinder to Comicbook.com than I might’ve been — if the synopsis’ origin was so unclear to start with, was it actually accountable to write down a submit about it? Because, even when Comicbook.com took applicable steps to position the speculation in context and forged a considerably affordable quantity of doubt onto it, the submit began a hearth.
“I’ve seen dozens more pieces all citing the Atom movie summary and this same theory. Some note skepticism, some don’t,” Freilich writes, explaining that these secondhand aggregations pushed this idea with out even bothering to look into its veracity.
“Few cite [the Comicbook.com author] and none cite his update,” he writes. “Because then there’d be no piece for them to submit in any respect, no clicks for them to get. Because it is now a disproven idea, a nothing story. I’m not linking to any of them as a result of they’re trash items looking for trash clicks.
“We all know that we have got to be ever skeptical relating to studying s*** on-line,” Freilich continues. “But it is uncommon to have the ability to see the true origins of a silly web rumor, so I assumed I’d pull again the curtain. As all the time, belief nobody.”