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Evaluating Sources: Fake News

What is fake news? (...and other false news)

It’s not a new concept.  It’s just a new phrase describing an old problem that has always existed in some form or another.   It has wormed its way into the national discourse through counterfeit news outlets, bogus print publications, and through social media.  False news can be broken down into five categories: (1) fake, (2) misleading, (3) highly partisan, (4) clickbait, and (5) satire.  The most difficult to identity is misleading news because it often contains a kernel of truth taken out of original context and then sensationalized.  False news is different from satire, which uses humor, sarcasm, irony, exaggeration or some other approach to make its point.  And unlike legitimate news that may contain unintentional errors made under deadline pressure or some other valid circumstance, false news reflects a deliberate, cynical attempt to deceive.  The use of hoaxes, lies, and propaganda often wrapped in cloaks of credibility make it challenging to identify in many instances.   The only way to stop the spread of false and misleading news is to exercise a healthy dose of informed skepticism and follow the “when in doubt, don’t” rule.  Don’t use information in an assignment, broadcast it on social media, or relay it to others in any way that implies it’s true if you suspect it is not.

Portions of this content are excerpted and adapted from CQ Researcher’s -- Fact or Fiction?

Fake News - Identified Sources

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