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Tom’s Guide To Spotting Fake News

Germany Watches U.S. Elections Results
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Whether it’s true of not, President Donald Trump seems to get the credit for coining the term fake news.

But what does that really mean? We are pretty familiar with fake paintings, counterfeit money, — but fake news?

Is it just one story that’s fake? Is it the whole article fake? Is the source a fake source? As you can see there are a lot of things to consider.

Things I Look For When Checking News

Just because a network or news source isn’t liked doesn’t mean it specializes in fake news. So how do you know what you’re reading or seeing is factual?

Here are some of my tips and tricks to find the real story — if there is one.

First, read the entire article or watch the total news feed. Get on the net and see if you can find a second or third source for the story.

So, how do you do that?

Are there names or places in the article? I would search for the person’s name plus the place the story supposedly took place.

Usually what I’ll find, if it’s fake news, is a rewording of the original article. In some cases, there will be the exact wording from the original article with a link back to the original source.

One article that everyone picks up as gospel because they like the topic of the article.

Taking Things Out Of Context

Many fake news sites will pick a comment and truncate it to try to change the meaning. “The governor’s wife was forced to live in shame.” The real story is that after retiring the Governor and his wife moved to a small town called Shame, Mississippi.

Rewriting The Facts To Change The Narrative

Here are the facts of an imaginary story. Picture a two-boat race between Russia and the United States.

The US won and the Russian boat finished second. How would the Russian press cover this story?

There was a boat race today. The Russian boat finished second and the US boat was next to last. Is that a fair account of what happened?

Other than leaving out the part about there being only two boats in the race it’s accurate at face value but it would fit the definition of fake news.

But many so-called credible sources would reprint that because they liked the outcome described without checking any further.

Some Final Thoughts

There’s no way I know of to spot every possible fake news story. But the best way is to search out multiple sources. Even if they are sources you don’t agree with.

Sooner or later all the facts will come to light.

You might not like the truth you find, but the truth is still the truth. If you know something is wrong but continue to repeat it then you’re guilty of spreading fake news and contributing to the problem.

The correct behavior is to dispute fake news if you find it in emails or social media and present the correct account with confirming documentation.

What tips do you have for spotting fake news?

Comments below.

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