Every news outlet has a certain amount of bias, but that does not mean that they are reporting false news. Most of the fake news sources who are going for the shock value and producing false stories are not so well recognized. As discussed earlier, although people go to ideological extremes when they are deciding if they trust mainstream news sources, the fact is most major recognized sources for news reporting are not going to be producing clickbait fake news.
No matter how trusted a TV news source or network might be, dig deeper into questionable facts or claims being promoted on TV before accepting the information as truth. By checking out the claims that you are seeing in social media or an online article, you may verify that they are accurate.
While not easy, there are a few things you can do to help you tell whether or not the story is true. Many people are consuming news now through social media and other online sources — but determining which stories are reliable and which are false is not always straightforward. At the same time, it is becoming more difficult to determine the source of original news stories, which may make assessing their credibility more difficult.
Sometimes journalists do not have the time to verify all of their facts before publication, leading to real mistakes that turn into fake news. This is when genuine news sources are spoofing false, made-up stories in order to trick or mislead the public. This may result in fake news — as typically, the headline that is sensationalist or misleading, along with small pieces of an article, are shared on social media, where they may quickly go viral.
Sometimes, doing some additional research makes it obvious whether the news story is fake. Even people who are aware of the harm fake news can do might not realize that they are reading or viewing fake news until they are identified by friends or legitimate media outlets as fake reporting.
If a news organization or an editorial website reports incorrect information without first verifying it with facts, that incorrect information may turn into fake news. Fact-checking claims with solid information from credible sources is arguably the best way to combat the spread of misinformation.
In addition to recognizing false news stories across media platforms, students should acknowledge their biases and opinions may affect their responses to credible information, as well as material that is disputed in its veracity. Through this guide, you will learn the basics of misinformation and fake news, how to assess sources of information, where to find reputable information, and where to find fact-checking tools. As digital natives, Gen Zers can better appreciate how to assess sources and spot fake news than older generations, who are not as naturally comfortable with the technology.
It is essential that you use verified, trusted sources when you fact-check information – if not, you run the risk of perpetuating this cycle. You should also look the reports up on fact-checking sites like Snopes or FactCheck.org. By checking cited sources, you can verify the information has been applied accurately, rather than altered to fit an authors perspective.
You should always be able to see where the information in the story came from, for example, links to original articles and named sources. If you cannot find prior work about a claim, begin by trying to track down the source of the claim. Once you have reached the source of the claim, read what others have said about the source (publications, authors, etc.). Look at the source itself, and see if it is a site that you can trust.
Click off of the story to find out more about the website, including its stated mission and contact information. Most websites will provide plenty of information on the news outlet, the company running it, its members of leadership, and the mission statement and ethics statement that undergirds the news organization. Others are less forthcoming, such as The Boston Tribune, which provides no information on its mission, its employees, or its physical location – another indication that perhaps the site is not a legitimate news outlet. The site actually changed its name to “Associated Press Coverage” after fact-checking organizations smacked down its work.
All those things are still true, but fake stories–as in, totally made-up news stories–have become much more elaborate, and are typically presented on websites that are designed to (sort of) resemble a legitimate news outlet. Some fake stories are not entirely made-up, but are instead distortions of actual events. These shady claims may take a legitimate news story and twist it — even claim something that happened a long time ago is relevant to a current event.
Many times, these fake stories will quote an official source — or an official-sounding one — but when you investigate, the source does not support the claims. Fake news is completely made-up stories designed to get people to believe something untrue, buy a particular product, or visit a particular website. Good news stories are supported with evidence, dates, and other data that can be verified as true. Good news stories include links to other authoritative reports from reputable organizations.
Professional, global news agencies have editorial guidelines and a wealth of resources to verify facts, so if they are reporting on a story too, it is a good sign. Reputable news sources are accountable for their stories. Whether we are talking about a news story or academic article, a reliable source will always include its outside sources to support its factual claims. Even when content is shared from friends, make sure you take the steps outlined below to verify a publishers reliability.
When you come across an assertion that you would like to verify, the first move is probably to check whether sites such as Politifact, Snopes, or even Wikipedia have investigated the assertion (check for prior work).
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