There was a news item that was circulating last night that said up to 30% of the five-star reviews that appear online are written by interested parties, most likely the people who own the stores, restaurants and services that received the lofty rating.
Fraud of this ilk is not exclusive to the internet, of course. It's everywhere. Press releases posing as newspaper articles, fake reviews in movie ads, Zagat's surveys adorning every window or every restaurant everywhere.
But there's little on the internet that seems anything but fraudulent.
Whether it's your inbox stuffed with weight loss miracles and penis enhancement blandishments, or inducements for dental whitening on Facebook, the very proposition of the internet seems tainted beyond credibility.
I know it's quaint to remember things like journalistic integrity and standards of truth and decency--that's all gone. But the era of self-publishing has opened up an onslaught of crap that cascades unabated through every portal.
There is no fact checking. No fair-balance. No correction published when a mistake is made.
I'll continue my old-fashioned ways as long as I can.
When I want the news, I'll ask my brother what's happening.