The Fake News Explosion – Reader beware!

There has been a lot of talk about fake news. The number of articles that come across my social feeds has increased as everyone of my contacts and me included, share interesting articles that we read. When it comes from a contact, a friend or family, the propensity to follow the link increases. The infrastructure is already there so it as simple as as a tap.

Read this excellent, investigative piece by the New York Times on how a Fake News Masterpiece was created. Click here

An example I came across today was the news about the waitress that got a $450 tip on a $72.60 bill. 

Source 1: Washington Post by Colby Itkowitz

Headlines: A white Trump voter explains why he left a black waitress a $450 tip with an uplifting note

Source 2: The Federalist Papers Project by Robert Gehl

Headlines: Waitress Serves Three White Trump Supporters; NO ONE Expected What Happened Next

Source 1: Quote 1: “But Rosalynd Harris had arrived at work that morning still high off the energy from the Women’s March. Her customers Saturday had been abuzz with an optimism that was contagious.”

Source 2: Quote 1: “Rosalynd Harris had just got back from the Women’s March and she was still feeling that energy.”

Source 2 has click bait headlines and blatantly copies from Source 1. Somewhere in the middle the author even references Source 1 as if that justifies his theft. The picture of the waitress has also been copied by Source 2 without any credit.

In today’s world, it seems easy for anyone to create stories or copy stories and report it with their own perspective, often times with extreme bias. The credentials required for writing in the Federalist Papers Project is minimal. Anyone can submit articles as long as they have the ability to transform any event into profit for their belief.

A quick search on the internet on the Federalist Papers Project shows that it does not have a great rating. See bio of the source.

News always comes from the perspective of those reporting it. So how do we find sources that offer a balanced view without the sensationalism or how do we read a broad variety of perspectives but perspectives that don’t claim to be superior, or insult the opposite side of the debate?

A recent picture posted by WildYucatanMan on Imgur is a great start. Link to source for Picture

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Reputable sources that meet high standards, understanding that problems are complex, analyzing it while providing perspectives that tend to stay neutral or respectable should be part of everyone’s reading list. Most importantly, original content, original thought, and original analysis is important.

 

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