As one who studied journalism, law, and library science, I am dismayed by the amount of half-baked crap and outright fake information on the Internet. While the problem of fake news isn’t actually new at all, the Internet has made it possible to distribute it more widely than ever.
So, in the interest of helping to separate that which is fake from that which is real news, I’m offering a short list of suggestions:
- Consider the source—not all information sources are created equal. Make sure you’re getting the information from as unbiased a source as possible. Keep in mind that no one is completely unbiased. Which leads me to my second point.
- Seek opposing viewpoints—don’t simply read sources that agree with your own biases. Read the ones that disagree with you and be willing to consider (if not agree with) a differing viewpoint.
- Watch out for clickbait and listicles, with eye-catching headlines that often lead to either advertising or a list of [fill-in the number] things that when you think about it, amount to plain common sense.
Other resources for avoiding fake news and promoting information literacy can be found at these websites:
- Stony Brook University School of Journalism Center for news Literacy.
- The News Literacy Project.
- National Association for Media.
- Action Coalition for Media.
And this article about how George Washington also dealt with fake news.
This is fake news! 🙂 Wa-a-a-y up at the top, it says (in really faint print) “Truth in Satire”. At least, I guess it’s fake news. Is it truth or satire or what? See what I mean? 🙂