Thursday, April 26, 2018 by Vicki Batts
Fake news has become a cornerstone of the mainstream media in recent years — but the latest scam involving The Washington Post and the Boston Globe (among others) surely takes the cake. It turns out that an oft-quoted “expert” on student loans, supposedly named Drew Cloud, is actually a fake. Worse, the so-called “news website” this imaginary expert ran is tied to a student loan refinancing company, LendEDU.
After being quoted and featured in a myriad of news outlets, even scoring his own interviews, it’s been revealed that Drew Cloud does not exist. LendEDU CEO Nate Matherson recently disclosed his company’s massive deception to The Chronicle.
“Drew Cloud is a pseudonym that a diverse group of authors at Student Loan Report, LLC use to share experiences and information related to the challenges college students face with funding their education,” Matherson reportedly explained.
Had that been all that Drew Cloud had done, perhaps this little snafu wouldn’t be so shocking — but the makers of Student Loan Report made every effort to make Drew Cloud seem real. Before the pseudonym’s presence was scrubbed from their website, Chronicle explains that Cloud had his own detailed biography featured right on the site. His story indicated that he was the founder of the website, which masqueraded itself as an “independent, authoritative news outlet” covering student loan news. Cloud claimed to be inspired to start his venture “after he had difficulty finding the most recent student loan news and information all in one place.”
His biography mentioned that Cloud had a “knack” for reporting that was first discovered in high school, and that he had graduated college with the hopes of creating his own independent news outlet.
The Boston Globe even quoted Cloud. LendEDU did their best to make the existence of Drew Cloud believable — but much to the chagrin of the irresponsible mainstream media, it turns out he’s nothing more than a farce.
After being pressed by the Chronicle, Cloud’s byline disappeared from the Student Loan Report website, his name replaced by “SLR Editor” instead. It did not take very long for the Chronicle to uncover the truth, which leads one to wonder: How did this facade go on for so long?
When asked by the Chronicle if he regretted deceiving multiple news outlets and the site’s readers, Matherson dodged the question. He stated that Cloud “was created as a way to connect with our readers (ex. people struggling to repay student debt) and give us the technical ability to post content to the WordPress website.”
Apparently, choosing the term “SLR Editor” to begin with was too difficult? Matherson contended further that the company wasn’t that interested in monetizing Student Loan Report, noting that the site had a limited number of ads.
Either way, LendEDU’s relationship with Student Loan Report was not readily disclosed — and according to reports, certainly not discernible from the website. It seems every effort was made to make the site seem like a real, independent news website.
Much like other “news” outlets we see today, SLR was owned by a corporation looking to influence its readers. As Chronicle notes, Cloud often suggested that students refinance their loans — which is a service offered by LendEDU.
Earlier this month, President Trump accused Amazon of using similar tactics in the Washington Post. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought out WaPo several years ago — and according to Trump, Bezos has been using the publication as a lobbying platform. Trump also noted that the U.S. Postal Service is losing money on every Amazon package that it ships. Ultimately, this means American taxpayers are paying billions of dollars to ship packages for Jeff Bezos. Amazon has also come under fire this year for other illegal actions.
Fake news is everywhere — and the act of making up totally bogus stories is even being rewarded by society. When will the sheeple wake up? [Read more stories on the fake news journalism of the corporate-run media at Journalism.news.]
Sources for this article include: