Pink slime is a meat byproduct that is used as filler in processed meats and is often passed off as higher-quality meat in fast food restaurants. Pink slime news is just as bad when it comes to feeding the American mind.
Pink slime news, a term coined by journalist Ryan Smith, is fake content that is passed off as real news.
Unfortunately, pink slime news has become more and more common over the past few years. Such websites publish poor-quality news reports that appear to be local news in order to push either a right-wing or left-wing agenda and gather user data.
Pink-slime news websites attempt to exploit people’s faith in local news, and capitalize on the information deserts created by declining local news. More than 1,600 such websites exist today in the United States, and the number is growing.
According to the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, many of these sites are financed by PACS and political party operatives. Although many of the websites claim to be unbiased, they often create and spread conservative political propaganda or disinformation. Conservative businessman Brian Timpone owns more than 1,300 of these websites, including The West Cook News, which brings us to how this issue of pink slime news ties into Princeton.
Even though many of the stories in the West Cook News read almost like parodies of real news, some of the stories are being linked to on social media and in comments on a petition calling for the superintendent of schools in Princeton to be fired, as we noted in our story Wednesday about the petition. The fake news stories from the West Cook News falsely claim that Princeton Superintendent Carol Kelley created a race-based grading system — a system that gives students a particular grade based on their race — during her tenure in the Oak Park schools in Illinois.
While some residents may have issues with Kelley’s performance as the superintendent in the Princeton Public Schools, everyone should beware that pink slime websites like the West Cook News don’t contain accurate information. It’s not healthy for a solid media diet, and it’s not healthy for constructive dialogue in Princeton.