ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 03: Calvin Ridley #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide is tackled by Quincy Wilson #6 and Marcell Harris #26 of the Florida Gators in the second quarter during the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on December 3, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — A study by the Center for Accuracy in News Media (CANM) released findings today showing that people who identify as SEC fans are the most easily fooled by fake news stories — specifically items which claim the SEC is a good football conference, a statement CANM called “demonstrably false.”

The study found thousands of instances of SEC fans sharing articles on social media declaring the SEC the best football conference, despite the fact that it is a conference with one good team in Alabama followed by 13 programs ranging in quality from MAC-level to FBS also-rans.

“There was no realization discovered among the vast majority of SEC fans about how bad their conference really is,” said Michael Van Patrick, who led the research. “They truly believe they are the best despite no evidence or facts supporting that belief. It’s a post-facts fandom fueled by a regional distrust of unpleasant truths and of those who have achieved expertise in a field.”

Among the most-shared articles among SEC fans were pieces declaring the SEC as the best college football conference “that cited no evidence or facts and were misleading at best,” while other popular articles were from “10 or more years ago when the SEC was actually good.”

In an interesting and telling twist, the study’s findings were quickly denounced on social media by SEC fans, with many calling the study “FAKE NEWS,” others claiming the CANM is not a legitimate organization, and some SEC fans even claiming news outlets like this one that simply reported the news to be “not real.”

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