how to spot fake and junk news

With such a connected world, we all can access to information with just a few clicks of a mouse.  However, it can be overwhelming and hard to determine if the information you are receiving is accurate and timely. With the internet, anyone can put “information” out into the world without any truth or accuracy to what they write or say. One of the ways to protect yourself from misinformation is learning how to judge if the news you are reading or listening to is trustworthy or accurate.

What is Fake News?

Fake News can be inaccurate information that is not necessarily deliberate. But it can also be false information that is intended to mislead and play on the emotions of those in the targeted audience.

 

Fake News is NOT:

  • news you disagree with

  • articles that paint someone you admire in an unflattering light

  • from only one side of the political spectrum

An easy way to do that is remember the acronym ESCAPE, created by NewseumED (newseumed.org).

E – evidence – Ask yourself if you can verify names, numbers, places. Check with multiple, trusted sources.

S – source – Who was all involved in the story? (author, publisher, funders, social media) Look to see the authors biography and the list of their other work. Could the author be an “online troll” or does the publisher write “parody stories?”

C – context – Is this the whole story? What else is driving it? (current events, trends, political goals or financial pressures). Ask yourself it what you are reading is “too good” or “too bad” to be true. Is the article “ragebait”, designed to get to visit their site because the readers are angry on a hyperpartisan level?

A- audience – Who is this written for? What is being used to appeal to the reader? (images, presentation, language, content).

P – purpose – Why was this written? To convey news? Do you know what the publishers mission or goals are? Is it to convey information, make money or do they have an agenda?

E- execution – How is the information presented? What style, tone, and image choices are used? Is proper grammar or spelling used?

How to choose your news.
How false news spreads.
Fact Checking Resources:

A nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. 

From the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly.  Has a 'Truth-O-Meter' scorecard checking the attacks on the candidates (includes explanations). Also see their Punditfact page.

"Oldest and largest fact-checking site on the Internet".

"Dedicated to checking the accuracy of claims by pundits, columnists, bloggers, political analysts, the hosts and guests of talk shows, and other members of the media."

Develop skills in applying our skepticism​.

Fact Check Images 
How to spot fake news

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