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Real News vs. Fake News

How to tell real news from fake.


Types of Fake News

Image result for fake news

There are four broad categories of fake news, according to media professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College.

CATEGORY 1: Fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media. Some of these websites may rely on “outrage” by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits.

CATEGORY 2: Websites that may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information

CATEGORY 3: Websites which sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions

CATEGORY 4: Satire/comedy sites, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news

No single topic falls under a single category - for example, false or misleading medical news may be entirely fabricated (Category 1), may intentionally misinterpret facts or misrepresent data (Category 2), may be accurate or partially accurate but use an alarmist title to get your attention (Category 3) or may be a critique on modern medical practice (Category 4.)  Some articles fall under more than one category.  It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.

Real News about Fake News, Misinformation, and Disinformation

Tips

What to do:

 

  1. Read/watch/listen very widely.

  2. Some generally reliable sources are (may require a subscription for access to all content; most available in some format through Pace University Libraries): The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston GlobeThe Wall Street JournalForbesThe Atlantic, Al Jazeera, National Public Radio, The Christian Science Monitor ,  PBS NewsHour, The Economist, The Pew Research Center, Democracy Now, as well as various local sources.

  3. Recognize that even typically reliable sources, whether mainstream or alternative, corporate or nonprofit, rely on particular media frames to report stories and select stories based on different notions of newsworthiness.

  4. Be critical of the sources we share and engage with on social media.

What to avoid:

  1. “Fake, false, regularly misleading sites” which rely on “outrage” using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits” (examples: PoliticaloAmericanNews.com)​

  2. Websites that may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information (examples: ConsciousLifeNews.comCountdownToZeroTime.com)

  3. These websites sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions (examples: BipartisanReport.comTheFreeThoughtProject.com)

  4. Purposefully fake satire/comedy sites that can offer critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news (examples: Christwire.orgTheOnion.com)

Serious Consequences of Fake News