Facebook fact checkers “Lead Stories” are apparently goofballs. The enthusiastic third party entity is tagging stories, links, and posts concerning the murder of five year old Cannon Hinnant as “FALSE INFORMATION.” Worse is Lead Stories is calling this a “HOAX ALERT.”

Left there, that comes off as disgustingly cold blooded of Lead Stories. However, the rationale behind their choice is more goofy than cold blooded, more irresponsible than inhumane.

You see, Lead Stories recognizes there is a group of people unappoligetically stupid and easily swayed. Up until March of this year this would’ve been face-value erroneous and shamelessly misanthropic, but these people are living in virus-thwarting forts made of 25,000 rolls of Charmin Ultrastrong. For this goofy demographic, Lead Stories has got your back.

So what’s the problem with these Cannon Hinnant posts on Facebook and what makes them false? Simple logic here:

It is untrue that mainstream media is not publishing young Cannon’s murder.

One widely quoted opinion – and highly squelched quote – is this tweet from writer Matt Walsh, an important commentary of media bias, and a prime example of what is being defined as “FALSE INFORMATION.” I’ll use Mr. Walsh as our case study:

“The national media’s blackout of the Cannon Hinnant story is breathtaking. It’s possibly the most heinous murder in memory — a child executed at point blank range while riding his bike in his dad’s yard — and the national media has said nothing. Seriously, nothing. Incredible.”

Lead Stories takes exception to this broad, exaggerated claim, and this is the Hoax Alert from Lead Stories:

Fact Check: Murder Of 5-Year-Old Cannon Hinnant Is NOT Being Ignored By Media

Within the Lead Stories Hoax Alert – the justification for labeling Facebook posts as “FALSE INFORMATION” – are given many examples of mainstream media articles on Cannon Hinnant. And all of these examples are true and verifiable. Just google “Cannon Hinnant” and compare your search results with Lead Stories. You’ll get near perfect matches.

But that’s not the point.

Do Facebook denizens truly believe Mark Walsh is perpetrating a hoax by saying “media blackout” and “seriously” and “nothing”? Is his intent centered on duping the gullible into believing that ALL media is refusing to cover Cannon Hinnant’s murder? Even the dullest amongst knows how to google.

Or, is Mark Walsh speaking in hyperbole? “Media blackout” is to “Disappointingly sparse coverage” as “That girl is skinnier than a toothpick” is to “She is very thin”, as “I walked a million miles to get here” is to “Dude, that was a long walk”, as “I’m so hungry I could eat Rosie O’Donnell whole” is to “My appetite is significant and I have excellent mastery over my gag reflex.”

Unless you’ve underwent a successful medical procedure of having your head surgically implanted in your rectum, I very much doubt anyone is at risk of mistaking common, everyday, garden variety, and ridiculously obvious exaggeration to illustrate a point (hyperbole) with an actual truth needing clarification. But I could be wrong. Increasingly, clarification is nearly a default necessity in the absence of common sense. But I could be wrong about this, too. We live in cray cray confusing COVID times.

There’s disappointment for me, seeing “FALSE INFORMATION” pasted over a Facebook image of Cannon and his murdeder. With the grand swell of disappointment, there’s plenty to go around. There’s disappointment in the comparative media omission of Cannon’s death. There’s disappointment the omission bias is so blatant Mark Walsh and scores of others express their disgust in strongly phrased opinion. It’s disappointing these commentators’ hyperbole is taken as fallacy. Mostly, it’s disappointing Facebook is concerning itself with debunking the obvious, leading to screencaptures like this:

Was the intervention of Facebook necessary to keep people safe from misinformation? Sure, why not. The number of Facebook denizens who are drunk and blindfolded, running on a thinly iced-over pond, grasping scissors pointed at their jugular with shoes untied, these denizens need Facebook and Lead Stories to keep them safe from themselves.

What nonsense this is. Nonsense! Nonsense, I say!

What to do? I know! Let’s wind it up and watch it go, a test of explicitly stating “don’t take this literally” and Lead Stories’ wayward enthusiasm. An experiment of sorts.

I’ve posted this meme to Facebook, asked others to like, share, and comment, with satirical “hyperbole” html tags, with the interest being:

Will Facebook flag my meme as “false” when it is already flagged as “don’t take this literally”?

Game on, Jessica Ravitz. Wind it up and watch it go!

Dedicated to my friends Derek, John, Jory, Mariella, Corry, and Christian.