How the media messes with our minds
By now you've all heard about the incident at HUG High School. There was a student with a knife. Campus police disarmed the student by shooting him in the shoulder.
Lawsuits and drama ensue.
But wait! The date on this post is December 5, and the actual event happened on December 7.
And Linda from Facebook claims the event was planned for the 6th, and the media prepared for a big conspiratorial showdown.
Web designers modify dates on the web all the time. We backdate social media posts, blog posts, and any assignments that were supposed to be completed by a certain deadline. We can even modify the dates of an email (it's tricky and not sustainable, but yes, it can be done). Web developers have the power to time travel.
Here, I just traveled to the future:
Or did I?
The media has certainly given us enough evidence to think that everything they pump out is a massive lie, but in this case, we're just seeing journalists take advantage of Google's indexing rules.
Most likely the news websites prepare the framework for "Today's Hottest" article in advance (just like they do with the paper version). They don't know what's going into that slot when they prepare the framework, they just know that the hottest story is going there.
The date can be manipulated so that Google recognizes that story as "the story that broke first" and other journalists will refer to that story as the "seed" article and draw from it.
That's just media strategy. Not conspiracy.
When in doubt, ask your neighborhood web designer! She'll be the first to join you in the bunker if something is truly amiss.