Totally Not Fake News: The Force Behind It All

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PANDEMONIUM - Amid the sprawling fields of rocky terrain, with few distinguishing landmarks or features, there sits a massive stone complex, equivalent to the great fortresses of old. The exact features are tough to make out due to the haze, smoke and the interplay of fiery light and excessive darkness. It is here that we at Totally Not Fake News came to speak to the apparent power behind all the pratfalls that keep bedeviling the Texans as of late.

“Funny that you used that word,” noted our host, Lucifer. “I don’t know if I would quite say that, but ok, I get the literary turn of phrase.” Despite our protests that we hadn’t even thought of our writing, Lucifer chuckled “Don’t worry, it will be ok. I won’t sue for libel just because you went with the unintentional pun.”

Once we got our future editing out of the way, we started in with our questions about what role, if any, this entity had related to the chaotic situation associated with the Houston Texans, how a team that only 12 months ago held a 24 point lead in a divisional round playoff game, primed to host the first NFL conference title game in Houston’s history. As we observed to our host “…in the midst of our research, we kept coming across some interesting names, such as Mephistopheles, Beelzebub and a Mr. Diablo…especially when looking at some very unique correspondence about deals where noted sports figures entered into “unique” contracts. Can you explain this?”

“Sheesh, this again? Alright, alright, I’ll play along. So, as you know, I am a negotiator. I’m always out to make a bargain, offering whatever you want…and usually for a relatively small, insignificant bit of personal collateral. I’m no different than your usual rug merchant/car salesman, and way, way less pushy. So, I guess you would like some information?”

After we presented him our research/documents for review, he then threw his head back in a hearty laugh “Oh yes, I do love me some Houston-folk! Especially some of their owners/fans. Always love doing business with them! How many keep coming to me asking for my help, and all for my usual, small-ish terms? At this point, it is way too numerous to count. Ok, so I think I see where you are going with this…but I will allow this line of questioning to continue.”

Despite getting a little unnerved, we forged on “So, what role do you have with the current situation with the Texans?”

(Lucifer) “So direct. No subtly, no build-up to establish repartee…I guess the modern media has gotten out of hand. Ok, well, the direct answer is…I don’t have ANYTHING to do with the current state of the team. Their poor record, the fact that they couldn’t stop a decent high school offense, that their front office is a cluster[kitten] of a $hitshow in a raging dumpster fire (I believe the right way to use such terms)…no, I didn’t MAKE that happen. That is all your team’s leadership.”

Yet, we kept pressing. “Well, can you help us understand? You see, there is this one document here from [total name illegible], but it basically says ‘Can you help us? We are so close to being a Super Bowl winning team, so close to sticking it to Dallas. We just need a franchise quarterback. Help us, and I will pay your bill.’”

Replied our host, “Oh, that one? Well, that DID come from someone in the Texans organization. Yeah, that was back sometime around 2017 I think…yep, definitely 2017, so we made the deal, and I obliged. Did the Texans not get that franchise quarterback?

(Totally Not Fake News) “Well, yes, they did draft Watson and he has played pretty well for the team. However, it feels like nothing has gone right since then. We are pretty sure that the individual in question wanted to actually WIN a Super Bowl!”

(Lucifer) “Did they? You see, they only asked to get a franchise quarterback. They never asked for an ACTUAL championship. So, the team had a franchise quarterback. Now, as for everything else…”

(Totally Not Fake News) “So, are you saying that you are behind all of the failures since 2017?”

(Lucifer) “Do I look like the GM, the Head Coach, the owner, for the Texans? No, I am not…but now that you mention it, I kinda recall a few things back some time ago, maybe…oh, that’s right, 2019. This one guy comes in, one of those preachy types, my personal favorites. Anyway, he tries to challenge me, saying that he can withstand me, casting me out or whatever. Well, I am generally a live and let live type of guy. Unless you ask, and I am always willing for others to ask, I tend to stay out. Well, this guy just kept calling me out. Day after day, minute after minute. Sometimes, it just gets too much. So, I place a call to…well…uh, I don’t really like to talk about that. Very, very sore subject, my relations with my…uh…counterpart. I’m like ‘Hey [name redacted at request of interviewee], you remember that bet thing we did some time back, to test that one dude’s faith and all…well, anyway, do you want to give it another go? Got this one guy, a real bloviating douche who will NOT SHUT UP about me! Look, I know we have the whole free will thing, but c’mon, this guy is just asking for it.”

Lucifer continued “Now, I didn’t expect an answer from…Him, but yet, I actually got word back the next day. Interestingly enough, [Name redacted at request of interviewee] indicated that he was actually getting tired of that one team, and wanted to start shaking things up for them, so he’s like ‘Ok, he’s yours. Have fun. Gotta lesson or three to teach some folks up north.’ So, game on!!!”

As we processed this information, the Morning Star noted “Well, it was really quite easy. I only had to just trigger a little bit of temptation, getting this guy to think ‘Hey, I’ve been around football players. I can do this. Heck, I can do the Coach/GM job. I can do this all.’ Once I set that in motion, it has been working like a charm. Of course, the real work was by this guy. Ya know, it is not quite as fun as I would hope. I suppose I should have let the Texans get further along in their adventures before sparking the preachy guy, but they were so small time in their asks. Besides, this ‘holy guy’ was really so small potatoes…not really worthy of an epic fall.”

“Small time?” we asked.

(Lucifer) “Sure. You see, Houston has not shortage of folks ask for my help. Most however just don’t know how to ask the right questions. I need to know exactly what you really want. Except that one guy for the recent Astros. He at least had the wherewithal to ask for an actual championship. Most just ask for something, like ‘just get the Astros to their 1st World Series appearance’ or ‘Just give the Rockets home-court advantage against the Warriors’ or even ‘Just give the Oilers the chance to forget that botched game in Denver/Buffalo’ and after they make the deal, I give them that. I don’t say what happens after that fact. I am an entity that fulfills his contract. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“Interesting” we noted.

(Lucifer) “Now, I have answered all of your questions? Me, Stalin, Hitler and Mao have a tee time at Trump’s new Styx Doral Course in 30 minutes.”

(Totally Not Fake News) “Well, we actually have quite a few. For one, we kinda thought you would, ya know, have three heads or some-“

(Lucifer) “[KITTENING] STOP RIGHT THERE!!! That mother[kittener]! Ever since that Florentine jerk came down here, he has made my life Hell. Ya see, if you force me to reference him, I turn into a three-headed beast, forced to chow down on a few arch-traitors. You know how bad that tastes? Especially after you have to do that over the centuries? Even after I spat out those Roman guys and got Benedict Arnold and Jeff Davis, it is still vile. Plus, it takes forever to change back. I tend to like the Milton version. Not quite as painful on the body (or the pallet).”

(Totally Not Fake News) “Milton? You mean like The Devil’s Advocate?”

(Lucifer) “No, you idiot! Milton, the English poet. And while I admire Pacino, he is way too yell-y for me. Actually, I think I like the TV series a bit more. Always seem to make better deals when people think I look like that.”

(Totally Not Fake News) “Interesting. So, you must see a lot of folks from Houston’s past. Say, would you happen to know if a certain ex-owner…”

(Lucifer) “Maybe…What’s is worth to you to find out if he is or is not here? I only as a simple price.”

(Totally Not Fake News) “On second thought, maybe not. We’ll pass for now.”

(Lucifer) “You sure? Well, suit yourself.”

As we rapidly left our host’s residence, which somehow started to look more like a snake’s den as we left, we continue to try to understand what transpired. Perhaps it is true that divine forces are at play behind the struggles of not just the Texans, but of the general situation for Houston sports. Normally, we at Totally Not Fake News subscribe to facts and logic and do not give credence to the spiritual world (especially since our prayer entreaties and live chicken sacrifices did not yield that billion-dollar jackpot last weekend). However, there is so much happening that mere logic is at a loss to explain. Perhaps it is the case. Still, we will continue to monitor the situation and determine just what is at the cause of the issues with the Texans and hopefully, what can be the cure.

National News Literacy Week: Spotting fake news and misinformation

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MISSOULA — Young people deal with plenty of fake news and misinformation, considering the role social media plays in many of their lives.

That’s why to help conclude our coverage of National News Literacy Week, KPAX news managers sought out their point of view.

We went to Ronan High School to give perspective – and get perspective – on fake news and its impact.

Inside, we met Riley Sampson’s government class, a mix of freshmen to seniors, which is focusing in part on current events and becoming more media literate.

Watch the video above to learn more.

The effects misinformation & ‘fake news’ can have on you psychologically

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Your phone rings with a notification. You immediately grab it, consuming more information.

This repeatedly occurs throughout our day, constantly causing us to ask ourselves, “Is this true?”

“That becomes taxing itself because you are playing the security, the filter, for yourself, and then you get tired and eventually you start to pull back or become exhausted with informational overload,” said Tony Cubina, licensed clinical psychotherapist for Ascension Via Christi in Manhattan.

Discovering if this post, article, email or other source is truly fact or fiction can be difficult. According to a 2019 study from Ipsos, 86% of online users admitted to falling for fake news.

Cubina recommended being critical of all the information you see, thinking ‘Am I or the source of the information biased in any way?’ or ‘Is this moreso opinion compared to fact?’

“If you look at that information less skeptically it means you’re really, really prone to having that misinformation kind of sink in and end up simply affirming something that may not be true,” said Dr. Michael Young, head of Kansas State University’s Department of Psychological Sciences.

If you continue to do this, Young said false information can lead to real consequences, such as on your career, physical or mental health, or loved ones and our country as a whole.

“It’s not just our personal wellbeing but it affects our relationships with others when I start believing things that are different from you,” Young said. “Then I start thinking that whenever you have that belief, you are somehow morally wrong or morally flawed. That’s going to really undermine, I think, the integrity we have as a society.”

It is important to not entirely immerse yourself in information.

“Something that you see that’s right in front of you or on the screen is not completely your life, it’s just a part of what’s going on,” Cubina said. “Your life is what happens inside and right outside of your house.”

So, step away from the screen every once in a while, and instead do activities that don’t completely bombard you with information, Cubina said.

Kansas State University researchers have curated a list of resources for helping people vet news and information sources. Check them out below: