Chapter 8: Argument based on fact. Spotting Fake News
For this textbook grade, i am veering off what’s in the book (as I fond that insufficient – though you may still read that chapter) and have created my own assignment.
Browse through everything on Modules which is under the title: Arguments based on Facts Chapter 8 (Everything is an Argument Textbook).
Watch the TED Lesson under modules: https://ed.ted.com/on/9GG0p5Sy#watch (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Then answer the question in “Finally”.
Write about a “Fake News” article you shared with your friends on SM Iif you have never shared a fake news article then choose 1 for the news that is fake news). What was it about? Why did you believe it?
Then use the Crap Test and 10 Questions and tell me why you now believe it to be fake news.
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Evaluating Research Sources
Is the information recent enough for your topic?
Has it been published in the last x years? (x will vary, depending on your topic)
If you have a historical research topic, was it published around the date of the
Where does the information come from, and does the information apply to your topic?
Is it a primary or secondary source?
Are methods or references provided?
Who published the information?
Was it peer-reviewed?
Does all of the information apply to your topic, or only part of it?
Is the information general or detailed?
Is the information balanced or biased?
Who authored this information?
Was it a single person or several people?
Was it a corporation or organization?
Are their credentials provided?
What is their reputation or expertise?
What was the intent of the author, and how is the author connected to the information?
Who is the intended audience?
Is the information intended to inform, persuade, sell, entertain, …?
Is this a first-hand account of an event or research?
Does the author have a vested interest in the topic?
Additional Questions for Online Sources:
What is the domain (i.e. .com, .org, .gov, .edu)?
Who is the site publisher or sponsor, and
is this information easy to find?
Has it been updated recently?
Are there any advertisements or other distractions?
Could the site be ironic, like a satire or a spoof?
HOW TO SPOT FAKE NEWS AND TRAIN STUDENTS
TO BE EDUCATED NEWS CONSUMERS
WARM UP QUESTIONS
• Where do you get your news?
• How do you define fake news?
• Why this sudden interest in fake news?
• What are some real consequences of this?
• What can YOU do to thwart fake news?
1.79 BILLION PEOPLE USE FACEBOOK
63% of US adults get their news from Social Media
• One of the more colorful definitions of fake news comes from PolitiFact:
“Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible
journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to
believe the fictions and spread the word.“
• Oxford Dictionaries selected “post-truth” as its word of the year and defined it
as the state of affairs when “objective facts are less influential in shaping
public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
IN FAKE NEWS?
• No, Fake news has been
around since print media
started, even before
• But now……
• Our 4th Estate (Journalistic
integrity) is under attack.
• Personal (health and mental well being)
• Delegitimize science (create doubt on legitimate scientific facts or cherry
• Societal (racist bigotry)
• Democracy (our ideals)
EXAMPLES OF PERSONAL
MERCHANTS OF DOUBT
BEGAN WITH THE TOBACCO
TO CURRENT DOUBTS ABOUT
• Rhetoric of Hate to marginalize one segment of the population
4TH ESTATE UNDER ATTACK
• Democratic ideals: freedom /
independence of the press questioned
• What can we do to protect ourselves, our neighbors, our
fellow citizens, and our democracy from the onslaught of
• “There’s a real darkness here
if we give up on facts,”
• “Standing up for facts is a
kind of patriotic act, and a
Professor of Darthmouth College
who studies fact-checking
TEN QUESTIONS FOR NEWS DETECTION
Use the questions below to assess the likelihood that a piece of information is fake news. The more red flags
you circle, the more skeptical you should be!
1. Gauge your emotional reaction:
Is it strong? Are you angry? Are you intensely hoping that the information turns out to be true? False?
2. Reflect on how you encountered this. Was it promoted on a website? Did it show up in a social media feed? Was it sent to you by
someone you know?
3. Consider the headline or main message:
Does it use excessive punctuation(!!) or ALL CAPS for emphasis?
Does it make a claim about containing a secret or telling you something that “the media” doesn’t want you to know?
Don’t stop at the headline! Keep exploring.
4. Is this information designed for easy sharing, like a meme?
5. Consider the source of the information:
Is it a well-known source?
Is there a byline (an author’s name) attached to this piece?
Go to the website’s “About” section: Does the site describe itself as a “fantasy news” or “satirical news” site?
Does the person or organization that produced the information have any editorial standards?
Does the “contact us” section include an email address that matches the domain (not a Gmail or Yahoo email address)?
Does a quick search for the name of the website raise any suspicions?
6. Does the example you’re evaluating have a current date on it?
7. Does the example cite a variety of sources, including official and expert sources? Does the information this example provides appear in reports from
(other) news outlets?
8. Does the example hyperlink to other quality sources? In other words, they haven’t been altered or taken from another context?
9. Can you confirm, using a reverse image search, that any images in your example are authentic (in other words, sources that haven’t been
altered or taken from another context)?
10. If you searched for this example on a fact-checking site such as Snopes.com, FactCheck.org or PolitiFact.com, is there a fact-check that labels it
as less than true?
It is easy to clone an existing website and create fake tweets to fool people.
Bots are extremely active on social media and are designed to dominate conversations and spread propaganda.
Fake news and other misinformation often use a real image from an unrelated event.
Debunk examples of misinformation whenever you see them. It’s good for democracy!
Visit www.checkology.org for a comprehensive collection of news literacy e-learning experiences and
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