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Fake news: Assessing

Keeping up with the news

Critical consuming model (Stanford University)

Becoming a critical consumer is important

With digital tools, it is easier than ever to create, edit, and publish your work to the world. But there is a cost. It is also easier than ever to spread misinformation. And fake news has become a real issue in recent times.
Assessing the quality of the content is crucial to understanding whether what you are viewing is true or not. It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.
According to a Stanford study, only 25% of high school students were able to identify an accurate news story when also given a fake one. Students also had a hard time distinguishing between real and fake photographs as well as authentic and staged videos. That is why a 5-step model for critical consuming was introduced.

Critical consuming model (Stanford University)

The 5 c’s of critical consuming:

  1. Context - Look at the context of the article. When was it written? Where does it come from? Have the events changed since then? Is there any new information that could change your perspective?
  2. Credibility - Check the credibility of the source. Does the site have a reputation for journalistic integrity? Does the author cite credible sources? Or is it satirical? Is it on a list of fake news sites? Is it actually an advertisement posing as a real news story?
  3. Construction. Analyze the construction of the article. What is the bias? Are there any loaded words? Any propaganda techniques? Any omissions that you should look out for? Can you distinguish between the facts and opinions? Or is it simply all speculation?
  4. Corroboration: Corroborate the information with other credible news sources. Make sure it’s not the only source making the claim. If it is, there’s a good chance it’s actually not true.
  5.  Compare: Compare it to other news sources to get different perspectives. Find other credible sources from other areas of the ideological or political spectrum to provide nuance and get a bigger picture of what’s actually happening.

See the video in the left frame

Exercise

Your job in this exercise is to fact-check the content, evaluate the author's background in the subject he/she writes about, and determine the journalistic standards, values, ethics or guidelines of the source. Can you find a standard of commitment to journalistic integrity in these news sources?

BBC news: Trump Attorney General under fire over Russia meetings

Fox news : Sessions get boost from Senate allies

The Daily Caller : Report: The White House found out about Sessions's contact with Russia through the media

The Huffington Post : Growing numbers of Republicans call on Sessions to step aside

Breitbart : Trial lawyer: Jeff Sessions absolutely did not perjure himself

The Daily Beast:  Jeff Sessions is losing support fast

CNN: Trump: Sessions "did not say anything wrong"

The Red State: Jeff Sessions, Trump's Russian entanglements, and Obama's shadow government

The New York Tiimes: Sticking with Trump, Republicans resist call for broader Russian enquiry
 

Need help? Check out the page in this LibGuide on fact-checking. 

Check, check, check

​Do not take anything at face value, but check your information. See also the How to spot it page in this LibGuide.

Credibility

Credible sources circulate news and information in a manner consistent with traditional and ethical practices in journalism.
Note that even credible sources sometimes rely on clickbait-style headlines or occasionally make mistakes. No news organization is perfect.

LibGuide Information literacy 

In the Libguide Information Literacy you can find tips on how to check for credibility.