There has been an epidemic of fake news throughout the election, and it continues now. It’s been a problem on all sides (because there are certainly more than two “sides” going on right now). A lot of misinformation gets spread through this fake news — and some people seem to think that they can draw information out of the air and turn it into “fact.”
It’s important to be able to be critical of your sources. It’s something I’ve been taught since I was pretty young – in the academic world you have to approach your sources critically, look at what their bias is, and how that might influence their arguments. The same concept applies. We all need to learn how to think about and analyze what we’re reading — and be willing to do a little digging if it is needed in order to determine if it’s a worthwhile source, and to understand the bias it is approaching it’s presentation with. Because, face it, there is no such things as “just the facts.”
Let’s start simple – try to find sites that are actually reporting information that has a basis in reality and in actual events. Find a few sources, if you aren’t sure, to see if you can corroborate the information (and don’t just look at sources that are linked from your original source – branch out… and please, please, don’t cite wikipedia as a source for anything… the academic in me will be very displeased- if you find support for what you’re reading there then go to the source that they site for that information!).
There are some good resources that have grown out of the recent issues of false-news which can help you in trying to vet the news that crosses your path. There are some guidelines to help you as you approach the information, as well as lists of sites that perpetuate fake news (misleading, click-bait, and satire are included in this list, as well as an explanation).
My friends over at Comparative Geeks have gone all-librarian to give some good insight and information on sifting through your news using the C.R.A.A.P test.
And here are some more steps to consider before passing along that news you came across, or that link your friend from elementary school just shared.
I’ve made the mistake of re-sharing some information that is more questionable, of not critically engaging with my source, and I am trying very hard to be more attentive to what I share. I hope you will too!
The more you know…. and all that. 🙂