No, it does not "say something about society" if you fall for fake screenshots. It just means you're gullible.
Let's talk about confirmation bias.
Yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's spokesperson, Christina Pushaw, best known for her smearing opponents of Florida’s anti-LGBTQ “Don’t Say Gay” law as being “pro-grooming,” tweeted out a screenshot of what she claimed was an article from The Washington Post.
“More cutting edge journalism from the 49-year-old Washington Post activist infamous for showing up masked on random people’s doorsteps and sliding into the DMs of TikTok teenagers,” tweeted Pushaw, referencing the screenshot containing the headline, “This dog is the new face of online homophobia,” and referring to journalist Taylor Lorenz. Unfortunately for Pushaw, not only is Lorenz not 49 years old, but the article itself is not real. It’s a total fabrication.
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Countless people pointed out that the article was not real, which inevitably brought out the most “I’m not owned” response possible from Pushaw’s defenders: But doesn’t it speak more about the media and the current state of the world that people can no longer differentiate between satire and reality? And the fact that the writer is Taylor Lorenz, who might actually write something like this.”
No. It does not actually “speak more about the media and the current blah blah blah.” It speaks to how gullible people are.
But first, just because it’s a little bit of fun, here’s a little bit about the dog from the nonexistent article!
This dog, whose real name is Whitney Chewston, has become a meme. Basically, in March 2021, someone thought it would be funny to take this picture of the dog sitting next to a glass of red wine, and added the caption “not too fond of gay people” to it. Since then, people have added other anti-gay captions to photos of the dog, meant to be something of a satire of judgmental homophobes.
In March, Lil Nas X tweeted a request for more pictures of the dog:
And he got responses:
The joke is funny because every LGBTQ person has absolutely met someone like the dog meme. The whole thing is a joke.
“Homophobic Dog” has its own Know Your Meme page, and the actual dog’s owners (who happen to be two gay men) did an interview with them, taking the joke in stride:
But back to the point at hand: no, being duped into believing something fake “doesn’t say something” about society. It “says something” about your willingness to believe anything that supports your own worldview.
Another example of this can be seen in this clip of Joe Rogan inventing a story, getting really upset about it, and… then learning that it’s fake.
There’s a really good Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic by Zach Weinersmith on this topic.
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