Half Truths, Whole Truths, Fake and Real News
How much has the way you get news changed in the past few years?
How easy or difficult is it for you to get news you find trustworthy?
There is a common perception that previous eras of media and journalism were more direct and straightforward.
Most people got their news from radio, television, and newspapers, and it was mostly believed as factual (although this may not have always been true).
People now have more access to news content than ever before.
- Having many sources provides diverse perspectives that might not previously have been shared.
- On the flipside, advertising and social media play a huge effect on what you see (and hear).
- Age, race, ethnicity and location
- What they’ve clicked on or “liked”
- What similar people have looked at
Even if you’re not on social media, is that information being conveyed through others?
Reflect on how your biases and preferences may affect what you see
- What type of content do you click on most?
- How are your political views reflected in your social media feed?
Pause to consider whether or not content is true before you like a post or decide to share it.
- Fact: a statement, whether it is quantitative or qualitative, that can be proven with evidence (Allison McCartney, PBS Newshour Extra Editor); a piece of information presented as having objective reality (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fact )
- Opinion: a person’s worldview, applied to a specific situation (Allison McCartney, PBS Newshour Extra Editor); a belief, judgment, or way of thinking about something (Merriam-Webster Dictionary online)
- Informed opinion: belief, judgment or way of thinking about something based on information (Merriam-Webster Dictionary online)
Usually, we expect news to be:
- Trained reporters
- Quality research
- Fair, balanced
- Created to educate and inform
What might you encounter?
When we read the news, we encounter much more. There’s your basic, face-value information, advertising, entertainment, opinion & analysis, advocacy, and social media content.
And then, there are different types of disinformation and misinformation. Ranging from satire, to poor quality news, to lies with an intent to deceive.
You can take a look at the Anatomy of a News website here:
Consider this graphic from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) on analyzing a news story
Consider the source
- What kind of website or media is it?
- Is this a news, opinion, advocacy, or commerce site?
- Check the “About Us” page—how does the site represent itself? Do they provide information about their mission and methods?
Check the Author and the Date
- Does the article include contact information for the author?
- What other articles have they written?
- When was the story published?
Check Your Biases
- Reflect on how your biases and preferences may affect how you read the material
- Consider multiple sources, including those you may not normally read or agree with
- Try to avoid this trap:
Read Past the Headline
- Headlines can be deceiving! You don’t know what could really be in the article.
Are there supporting sources?
- Do they link to or cite other sources within the article?
Is It a Joke?
- Check what other content is on the site
- Some popular satire site include:
- The Onion
- Borowitz Report
- Daily Currant
- Daily Squib
And finally, Ask the Experts:
Use fact-checking sites, some basic strategies, and your librarians.
Some popular fact-checking sites:
- Snopes: http://www.snopes.com
- Politifact: http://www.politifact.com/
- FactCheck.org http://factcheck.org/
- AllSides.com: https://www.allsides.com/
Strategies and Tools:
- Refine your Google Searches https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/2466433?hl=en
- Add a word like hoax, fake, bias to your search
- Google Reverse Image Search https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/1325808?hl=en—check the real story behind an image!
- Wikipedia List of common misconceptions https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_common_misconceptions
- Use Whois lookup of domains (to see who owns the domain) https://whois.icann.org/en and https://www.whois.com/whois/
Burlingame Library Resources:
- State, Local, and National Newspapers in print (located in the Reading Room, Main Level)
- Full Text Newspapers http://burlingame.org/index.aspx?page=1578#Articles (Access from home, all you need is your PLS Card!)
- AtoZ Databases (requires a BPL Card), first link on the list http://burlingame.org/index.aspx?page=1578#Business
- Curated Reading List
- News Literacy Project: https://newslit.org/educators/checkology/
- Poynter Institute: https://www.poynter.org/channels/fact-checking/
- Stanford Historical Education Group https://sheg.stanford.edu/history-lessons
- Historical Thinking Chart: http://plpinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/2a-SHEG-Historical-Thinking-Chart.pdf
- Wall Street Journal Blue Feed Red Feed http://graphics.wsj.com/blue-feed-red-feed/
- Blog post: How to verify information from tweets https://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/how-to-verify-information-from-tweets-check-it-out/
- Read beyond the headlines
- Find out more about the source and author
- Use known and accepted sources for fact-checking
- Be a little skeptical
- Look at more than one source
- Check your own bias and read outside your filter bubble
1. Spot the facts and opinions w/ this exercise
Article Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4626857.stm
BBC Skillwise Exercise using this article: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/english/en06opin/factsheet/en06opin-l1-f-fact-opinion-and-news.pdf
More on Fact and Opinion from BBC Skillwise http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/topic/fact-or-opinion/resources/l1
2. Differing views of the same news:
Assess the articles and its differences using what you’ve learned
February 23-24, 2017 Repeal of Obamacare
- February 23, Breitbart Blue State Blues http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/02/23/obamacare-blue-state-blues-way-lose-house-fail-repeal/
- February 23, FoxNews Politics http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/23/cpac-pence-says-americas-obamacare-nightmare-is-about-to-end.html
- February 23, National Review http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445166/repeal-obamacare-replace-obamacare-republicans-disagree
- February 23, NY Times (online) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/us/politics/obamacare-affordable-care-act-house-republicans.html
- February 24, 2017, VICE.com https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/obamacare-repeal-is-turning-into-a-big-hot-mess