Researchers looked at stories from a variety of online news outlets including the Huffington Post and Fox News, as well as hundreds of lesser-known sites that cover regional and local issues. Of the 10,000 articles the researchers analyzed, no less than 100 percent of the sentences in the articles carried a hyperlink to another article, which was similarly full of hyperlinks.
“What this means is that pretty much everything reported online is, at best, based on a winding chain of hearsay, and at worst, completely fabricated,” said Lacey Addiego, a professor of journalism at San Francisco State University. “I’d like to think that we could escape this by reading print newspapers, but most print articles these days are based on something someone read online, so I’m afraid we’re all screwed.”
The report concludes that the culture of hyperlinking might be responsible for the most glaring falsehoods that are currently being spread through online news outlets, such as that a creative writing degree offers a higher income than a degree in medicine, or that the U.S. Supreme Court justices are actually wizards.