Fact or Fiction?

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Fact or Fiction? Use this checklist* to avoid the pitfalls posed by the rise of fake news Take a closer look. Read these books to examine the impact of the 2016 elections on the changing media landscape. Learn more at Consider the source of the information. Is it legitimate and trustworthy? Does it have high standards for accuracy, balance, and fairness? Are the articles bylined– and if so, what do searches on the authors' names tell you about their qualifications and trustworthiness? When you read an article, ask yourself: Why should I believe it? Be wary of bloggers. Some bloggers lack expertise on a subject and don't follow conventional editorial standards. Check blog posts against coverage of the same topic in the mainstream media. Watch for bias among media personalities. Are they fair and impartial or are they promoting their own views or those of a political party, pressure group, or other entity? Media personalities can be bias towards liberal or conservative agendas, especially on cable news shows. Use Google as a starting point, not an ending point, in your research. Remember, the first hits in an internet search aren't always the most reliable. Follow the money. Studies, think tank reports, and opinion articles may be funded by corporations, foundations, or advocacy groups with ideological agendas. Ask yourself: How might funding have influenced the content? Be wary of articles labeled "sponsored content." Such content typically means a company, organization, or perhaps even a government entity paid for it. Look out for strange or unfamiliar URLs or domain names, such as those that end in or lo. They can be the first clues that a site may be trafficking in fake news. Check the site's "About" section – if it has one. Often, you'll find clues to whether the site is legitimate and whether it follows acceptable editorial standards. Some bogus publications have fake mailing addresses, a clear sign of their intent to deceive. When in doubt, don't. Don't use information in an assignment, broadcast it on social media, or tweet it in a way that implies it's true if you suspect it is not. Nothing kills fake news faster than healthy skepticism and a commitment to quality research. CQ Researcher, founded in 1923, is an award winning, single- topic newsmagazine published by SAGE Publishing. Each in-depth, scrupulously balanced weekly report is written by an experienced journalist and professionally fact-checked. *From the editors of

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