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Fake News: Home

Introduction

News literacy is the ability to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports in print, television, and Internet formats, according to the Stony Brook Center for News Literacy. This guide will help you understand fake news and how to tell fact from fiction whether you are browsing social media, watching the daily news, or reading about current events in a newspaper. 

What is Fake News?

1. Fake news is fabricated, sensationalized stories written with the intent to mislead and misinform the reader. 

2. It appeals to the reader's emotion and partisan bias. It often seeks to get a emotional rise out of the reader. 

3. Fake news is not available through mainstream media sources. If a quick internet search on the topic loops back to the same few websites, it is probably an unreliable story. 

4. Fake news is not information that the reader opposes or disagrees with due to personal bias. 

Why Care About Fake News?

1. Sharing fake news can hurt your credibility. If you are citing information for a paper, a debate, or merely talking with a friend, you want your information to be based on facts and evidence. People might not believe you in the future if you form opinions and arguments based on misinformation. 

2. Fake news can hurt you and others. Fake news outlets spread potentially dangerous lies that may hurt someone's health, business, or reputation. Reading reliable news will lead to more informed decision making. 

Fake News in the News

Types of Fake News

Identifying "fake news" can be confusing because there is no clear definition of the term. What are the differences between fake news sources?     

  1. Hoax news deliberately fabricates information to deceive readers. 

  2. Misleading news sources intentionally manipulate legitimate facts to profit from a reader's gullibility.

    • Clickbait headlines spread unreliable information to generate likes, shares, and profit.

    • Misleading new sources may show a highly partisan bias. 

  3. News satire websites and videos are comedic parodies of mainstream journalism created for entertainment purposes. News satire may use satirical comedy to comment on real-world news events or it may report completely fictionalized news stories. These websites are often confused for actual news stories. 

    • The Borowitz Report: A satirical news column featured in The New Yorker

    • The Daily Show: A comedic satire news and late-night talk show television program

    • The Onion: Satirizes real and fictional current events in a traditional news format 

    • Weekly World News: Focuses on stores with supernatural and paranormal themes

    • The Daily Currant: A competitor to The Onion, covers fictional stories on entertainment, global politics, technology, and more. 

Librarian

Lisa Ellis