Recent years have seen viral videos receive increasing coverage from traditional media outlets, but as Mathew Ingram writes in a piece for paidContent, they're not always thoroughly vetted. Last year, for instance, several major TV outlets reported on a YouTube video of a pig rescuing a drowning goat, without first investigating to determine its authenticity. (It was later proven to be part of a clever marketing campaign.)
As Ingram argues, this enthusiasm for viral content threatens to blur the lines between reality and hoax, potentially undermining the credibility of our most trusted news sources. "In some cases, these videos come right after a news report about something serious," he writes. "How are audiences to know when something is 'just entertainment' and therefore hasn’t been checked?"