Liberty Writers News, the mostly-fake site whose publishers were recently profiled by the Washington Post, has more than 800,000 likes on Facebook—and thanks to their followers' distrust of the media, this largely unflattering profile is unlikely to do any damage to their operation. If anything, it'll just get them more exposure, more clicks, and more money.
The website is run by Paris Wade and Ben Goldman, both 26-year-old University of Tennessee—Wade alumni who struggled to find careers after graduation. Its tagline: Real conservative news without all the B.S..
Goldman and Wade have posted more than 500 articles on the site since June 2016, most of which took about 10 minutes to put together. When they first started, the website was bringing in $10,000 to $40,000 a month. Now it generates so much money that Goldman and Wade "feel uncomfortable talking about it because they don't want people to start asking for loans."
Shortly after the Washington Post profile went up, Liberty Writers published a story of its own, titled "BREAKING: Washington Post Just Caught in HUGE Fake News Lie!! They are Done For..."
The post has since been deleted, but the comments on an accompanying Facebook post (which, as of 5 p.m., has also been deleted) are telling: "Washington Post is a liberal media outlet, they lie to the American people," one commenter said. "WAPO has been fakibg [sic] the news for years, a confirmed yellow rag!!" another wrote.
"Our audience does not trust the mainstream media," Goldman told the Post while Wade wrote a headline: "THE TRUTH IS OUT! The Media Doesn't Want You To See What Hillary Did After Losing..."
The posts are based on what people want to see—instead of writing to inform their audience, they write posts that will confirm their established biases. Liberty Writers's readers love Megyn Kelly and hate Paul Ryan, so Goldman and Wade frame their posts accordingly. They don't do much reporting, but "in a perfect world," Wade said, he would write a post he believes in with nuance, balance, and long paragraphs. But posts like that don't get clicks, so he doesn't do it.
Their most-trafficked posts are usually accompanied by a call to action on Facebook—share if you love Trump, share if you hate Obama, share if you're proud that you voted Trump. These calls to actions result in tens of thousands of shares, making Liberty Writers one of the many fake news websites that have benefitted from Donald Trump's incessant claims that the media "rigged" the election against him. Their posts occasionally show up in Facebook's unruly "Trending Topics" feed. Last week, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would stop taking ads from fake news sources, but Facebook won't go so far as to ban fake news sites altogether.
When Obama says “fake news” is the reason Hillary lost, he’s right. MSM’s obvious anti-Trump agenda sent people looking elsewhere for truth.
— Asa J 🇺🇸 (@asamjulian) November 21, 2016
Right now, the Facebook post linking to the deleted article about the Post profile was still pinned to the top of Liberty Writers News's page: "We need to expose their lies by sharing this out all over the internet," it says. Goldman and Wade admitted that they aren't reporters and that a lot of the news on their website is embellished, exaggerated, or flat-out not true. But their readers don't care—to them, the Post profile is proof of the mainstream media trying to censor small, independent outlets from reporting the real news.
One of their followers, a woman who frequently contacts the page, wrote to them saying, "YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE I TRUST TO REPORT THE TRUTH."