A major news organization says flying saucers are toying with American nuclear weapons, but you better read the byline and ‘article’

A paid-for press release was presented as an article on Reuters home page.

I am suspecting an automatic feed from PR Newswire to Reuters.com has created this most alarming of headlines to be prominently displayed on the organization’s home page (it’s the No. 2 most-popular article): U.S. Nuclear Weapons Have Been Compromised by Unidentified Aerial Objects.

If you stopped right there and didn’t read any further, you would fail to discover that this piece of information being presented as an “article” is actually a paid-for advertisement (oh, I mean “press release”) for an upcoming news media conference of ex-military members who plan to discuss their experiences with unidentified flying objects.

I won’t get into the existence of U.F.O.’s, but my guess is that this little gem needs to be presented as an external articleadvertisement, not news, on a news site. Oh, yes, its text was light gray whereas the other headlines in the “Most Popular Articles” section were black. And there’s a “PR Newswire” right below it. But what is a reader supposed to deduce from that? There is no direct way of knowing the significance of either of those two qualifications. There is no explanation within the article advertisement about its source. I wonder if Reddit users care?

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