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Ripley's Believe It or Not? Sorry, It's Just the News

John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded "Poet of the Year 2014" Hubby Awards and has had two poems become songs.

Sky News Chopper

Sky News Chopper

Once Upon a Time ...

... It seemed as though we could believe most of what we read in the newspaper or watched on the evening news, or maybe I was just naive in those days. Nowadays, with the tabloids in death throws and the most popular source of news being the Internet, and social media (Facebook in particular) it seems that investigative journalism is dead or unviable, and that a large percentage of the news we are fed is manipulated, regurgitated, or falsely reported.

It seems the media in general has become a powerful tool to shape and influence society, political outcomes, and to highlight certain agendas above others. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to separate the false news from the truth, and old news from new. This poem attempts to address these issues.


Ripley's Believe It or Not? Sorry, It's Just the News.

Old news comes around again,

We're fooled that it is new.

But it's really on a carousel

And often isn't true.

They say that good news doesn't sell,

So bad news grabs front page.

Disaster, murder, terrorism,

Corruption are the rage.

The tabloids and the TV news

Are dying as I write.

My parents used to watch the news

At 6pm each night.

Now, social media and Facebook

Are the most popular source of news.

Sensationalism draws us in

But lies and falsehoods spew.


A story maybe five years old,

Sometimes it's even more.

But we are fooled to think it's news

We've never seen before.

Investigative journalism

Appears a dying trade.

Sometimes the stories we are fed

Are fictionally made.

The Internet makes us aware

Of events across the Earth,

But to many lies and fake news

It has also given birth.

So, let's all keep an open mind,

Don't believe all that you read.

Always research to confirm

It's from a reputable feed.


April, National Poetry Month

Well, this is a contribution from me to this National Poetry Month of April. I haven't been as prolific as some of my colleagues who have been writing a poem for every day of the month, but hopefully I will manage a couple more between now and the 30th.

© 2017 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 11, 2017:

Hey. Lawrence. Thank you for that. I need to find time to check out your latest hubs too. Soon.

Lawrence Hebb on May 11, 2017:


This was a great poem.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 09, 2017:

Good for you, Shauna, still reading the newspaper for news. We get one free if we spend $30 at the grocery store so I often get one there. The move has finally finished "sigh!" Still a lot of unpacking and sorting to do though.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 09, 2017:

Even the Internet isn't a viable source when researching or fact-finding. It's hard to sort the experts from know-it-alls.

Although I quite often turn to Uncle Google to find information on various topics that interest me (or to shop), I still read the good old rub-off-in-your-hands Sunday paper.

How are you doing on your move, John?

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 16, 2017:

It's great that you decided to do your bit for poetry month, Paula, and I appreciate all the kind words within. Just ignore the news, great idea! Blessings to you this Easter also.

Suzie from Carson City on April 16, 2017:


Poetry Month has been so much fun

I doubt Google thinks the same

but I don't care, I'm adding one.

I've always been hard to tame.

Your cleverness shines through you know

Your poems entertain

To use some words and make them flow

Can take away our pain

I'm tired too of all the news

I've chosen to ignore it

It makes me sad, brings on blues

But your poems just seem to fit!!

Thanks Jodah.....Blessings on Easter Sunday. Paula

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 16, 2017:

You echo my thoughts completely, Genna. Almost all the media is biased one way or the other, it is hard to find an independent broadcaster, Nd social media news is a joke. Thank you, and Happy Easter.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on April 16, 2017:

Very timely poem, Jodah, and a first-class contribution to Poetry Month. I've given up on social media having anything to do with facts. Internet blogs and Facebook chatter are nonsensical. And it is disconcerting to see how certain cable news programs (not all) tip one way or the other, in an effort to sway public opinion.

Happy Easter.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 15, 2017:

You said it, Missy, my friend. Thank you for your insight and always encouraging comment. You are appreciated and loved.

Missy Smith from Florida on April 15, 2017:

Oh yes, we have to weed out so many falsities in the media currently. However, like you say, it's because we have all turned to the Internet now, where as, we used to sit down at a certain time of the night and flip on Tom Brokaw. I stick to CNN lately, and if I'm on Facebook, I opt not to read Yahoo News, or even CNN if it isn't being covered through live feed.

As always, Jodah, you express your thoughts brilliantly through your poetry. It is always so fun and interesting to read. Love it! ;)

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 15, 2017:

Thanks for reading and commenting, Linda. Yes, I also find Facebook one of the chief offenders. Many people believe everything they read there.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 14, 2017:

This is definitely a creative way to describe the fake news problem. I find it especially bad on Facebook, where fake news is sometimes used to spread hatred. Thanks for helping to publicize the problem, John.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 13, 2017:

I am a sucker for a good Limerick MizB :)

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on April 13, 2017:

Nice piece of verse? Thanks John, limericks are about all I can do. LOL, but now you...you write good poetry.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 12, 2017:

Thank you for reading and commenting, Audrey. Yes, times have changed and they do seem to hold more importance on entertainment and shock value that truth.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 12, 2017:

MsDora, that has been happening a lot lately. The old stories keep recirculating and if you missed them the first time it's easy to be duped. Thanks for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 12, 2017:

Rasma, really that wouldn't surprise me. A recent news story that was running on Australian TV was also found to have been previously reported in 2015.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 12, 2017:

Haha, Paul...the purple troll you say? Maybe he is fake, maybe not. Nice rhyme.

Suzie from Carson City on April 12, 2017:

Jodah~~To my surprise, he sang a song, this purple troll who stayed too long. Big & bold and sneaky too. I'm telling you, it's really true. What's this you say, I'm wrong today? For Heaven's sake, you mean he's FAKE??...........Hugs, Paula

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on April 12, 2017:

Well written and so true. I have given up on news and tabloids and even take what I read on the net with lots of grains of salt. Yesterday I wanted to check up on a source through a Latvian site from the U.S. Logged into the site. Guess what? All of the news on the calendar there was from 2015. Guess they ran out of new things to post.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 11, 2017:

This poem is so relevant. Just the other day I forwarded a news story with such excitement only to discover afterwards that is was years old. Also hard to figure out what's true, and what's not. You captured out our dilemma accurately and in perfect rhyme. Excellent!

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on April 11, 2017:

A person doesn't know what to believe anymore. News has become more entertaining than factual. I remember the days of gathering the family together for the 6:00 o'clock news.

Thanks John for your honest expression of how times have changed.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 11, 2017:

Good to see you Mike. Yes, that particular news story has me scratching my head. It seems the airfield that was the target of the missiles is already back in full use.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 11, 2017:

Yes, Randy. It was a different time and place. I have never heard of Huntley and Brinkley, but know Walter Cronkite. We all have certain newsreaders from the past that we could believe In. Nowadays though, that seems to be lacking.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 11, 2017:

Bob, maybe you are right to blame the way schools teach journalism these days. The public needs to use insight and discernment and weigh up the value of almost everything we see and here. It is a real headache to not be able to just be told the whole truth in the first place by those reporting the news.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 11, 2017:

Thank you, Larry.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 11, 2017:

Thank you for reading MizB, and for that nice piece of verse you added.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 11, 2017:

Thank you Manatita. Yes, it's true that we can't even believe a lot of the history books because much of that has been altered to shine a more positive light on our own countries and decisions by those in power. We need much insight and discernment.

manatita44 from london on April 11, 2017:

Well done and an insightful piece. If anything, yours and Marlene's are awakening others to the fact that manipulation and propaganda have been around for ages. Seers say that even history is altered.

Not so much research is needed as 'feel.' But feel comes with spiritual practice. Seems that it is like the Saviours say: The spiritual life is the only life and reveals all in due course.

Excellent poetry!

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on April 11, 2017:

Fake news, alternative facts

All written and read by hacks

Such an urgency

Perturbs even me

Whenever my brain it wracks

Great and truthful poetry, Love ya, John

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on April 11, 2017:

Interesting perspective.

Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on April 11, 2017:

I hate the fact that it appears there are no reliable news media sources in the mainstream of informational news. I blame the schools teaching "journalism" is a way to explain the news instead of presenting the news and allowing the public to formulate theories and beliefs of their own. Now forming of public opinion is handled by supposedly respectable news sites. It's like the tabloids have taken over and so many people believe what they're told without any question at all. Bob.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on April 11, 2017:

Yep John, I miss Huntley and Brinkley, well as Walter Cronkite from my teen years. But then, that was a different time and place that is no more. "Death throes" may be real news.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on April 11, 2017:

Hello John - We all receive a chorus of noise daily. Trying to make heads or tails of it becomes the challenge.

The best fake news of the week has been:

59 Tomahawk Missiles were fired toward Syria, but only a 23 count, hit the ground. This just cracks me up.

You have offered a nice piece here for poetry month.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 11, 2017:

Yes, Linda, it is sad. I like to think that people overall are intelligent and can make the right decisions but.. Thanks for reading.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on April 11, 2017:

John, so few people take the time to analyze, the research or even think it seems. I blame a lot of the misinformation on social media, but darn it folks, just because you read it on the internet that doesn't make it true. Are we stupid or just plain lazy?

Thanks for a poem that really sums it up. ...but how sad!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 11, 2017:

Yes, Bill. I agree that "alternative facts" will probably go down as one of the greatest phrases of this century. I should have actually included it in this poem. Thanks for reading.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 11, 2017:

"Fake news" is a great phrase, but my favorite of the last few months is "alternative facts." That one will go down in history.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 11, 2017:

Michael, you are wise to disregard a lot of what you hear/see on the news. Thanks for reading this.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 11, 2017:

Thanks, Tim. You are right that even though we know not to believe a lot of what we read on social media, it does still leave an imprint.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 11, 2017:

No problem Michael

Michael Milec on April 11, 2017:

Hi John. A word should have been spelled ' apathetically '. Please forgive my typo. Thanks.

Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on April 11, 2017:

An eye opening poem John. Awesome!

I think I have become numb to news these days. During our elections, I found I had to spend hours researching to hopefully learn a truth I could accept. Sadly. the word of mouth news like social media was the worse. Even though you negate it, it leaves an imprint on your mind arousing emotions. That is exhausting.

Michael-Milec on April 10, 2017:

A Poem of confirmation that it is not me only apatically disregarding broadcasted/ written news. Thanks John for a dosage of light.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 10, 2017:

Flourish, everything you say is what concerns me. Social media is not a good factual source to pin your beliefs on. Thanks.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 10, 2017:

Hi Audrey. Thank you for reading this, and confirming my opinions on recirculated news.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 10, 2017:

Thanks, Ruby. You are right that we need to watch some news to be aware of what is happening around the world. Choosing a reliable one is the hard part.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 10, 2017:

Eric, I am glad I write the type of poetry you like to read. I also knew you'd make sure you got more than one version of a story before believing it. Thanks for the great comment.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 10, 2017:

I sure wish people would stop getting their information from social media, assuming it's true just because someone publishes it. It troubles me that we just don't seem to think critically anymore. You have tacked the subject creatively.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 10, 2017:

You are just my kind of poet friend. I need poetry to be jaunty. I like a rhyme.

About that news stuff -- I do it like my Bible. I read at least 3 versions before I think I get it. Drives people nuts when you look at things from different angles, they want you to go ballistic on one.

My son is 7 and he has never heard or seen "nightly news".

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 10, 2017:

John, your poetry is spot-on. The news media are all bias politically. I swore-off watching any news except the nightly world news, which is bias, but at least by watching, I know what is going on all over the world.

Audrey Howitt from California on April 10, 2017:

Yup--it feels like an echo chamber on Facebook these days--recirculated news and more recirculated news--nice write John-and timely

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 10, 2017:

Thank you for being to first to read this and comment. It is literally hot off the press :) Blessings to you.

whonunuwho from United States on April 10, 2017:

Nicely done my friend. Yes, what we hear nowadays may not be true all the time. IT's good to take it in "with a grain of salt"and wait for any changes to the news we were just exposed to. Blessings to all. whonu

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