Unethical abuse of communication is not new. The rabbinic scholar, Rabbeinu Gershom, lived a thousand years ago and was considered one of the earliest and greatest scholars of the Ashkenazi Jewish community.
In the age of bite-sized lists, tweets, and pithy "tl;dr" wrap-ups, we're losing the ability to engage deeply with subjects. Hoax sites have learned our diet and how to disguise themselves as food. The only way to fight back is to change what we eat.
Do not misunderstand. Some (most?) pop culture chyme comes predisposed to caricature, and frequently deserves parody (Hi, Kanye West). But in the case of a humble and heartfelt, low-budget moment, parody can also be the sincerest form of casual cruelty.
The occulture scene gets decidedly more unhealthy as money, greed, quest for notoriety and lack of scruples allow the sensationalist speculation and outright hoaxers to keep right on fooling everyone, time and time again. There's a sucker born every minute.
I understand why Lance Armstrong felt he needed to dope. I don't understand why he needed to lie (and tweet) with such conviction that I believed in him. I understand why Manti Te'o needed to build a great "brand." I don't understand why he needed a fake social media girlfriend to do it.
Whatever this American parenting thing is, it reflects choices we have made as a culture. Choices we can undo, or rethink, or adjust if we decide we've ended up someplace we'd rather not be -- but first we have to agree on where we are and where we'd prefer to be headed.