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HIST 132 - Evaluating news and other sources - Dr. Swedberg

Check the bias and factuality of online sources

Information and news comes in a variety of unreliable forms

Consider the wide variety of misinformation on the Internet that you have to wade through to find reliable information and news.

  • Fake News: Sources that entirely fabricate information, disseminate deceptive content, or grossly distort actual news reports.
  • Altered Photographs: Photographs that have been changed using software or manipulation of the negative to enhance the image or deceive the viewer. Many changes are sophisticated enough that only software or a keen eye can detect the alteration, unlike the Bernie memes.
  • DeepFakes: Use of video software to create events that never happened or distort a person's statements for propaganda purposes or to discredit public figures for political gain.
  • Satire: Sources that use humor, irony, exaggeration, ridicule, satire, and false information to comment on current events.
  • State-sponsored News: Sources in repressive states operating under government sanctions and control. Propaganda.
  • Junk Science: Sources that promote discredited conspiracy theories, naturalistic fallacies, and scientifically false or dubious claims.
  • Hate News: Sources that actively promote racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of bias and discrimination.
  • Clickbait: Sources that provide generally credible content, but use exaggerated, misleading, or questionable headlines, social media descriptions, and/or images.
  • Editorial/Opinion: Present in most reliable news publications, these are not news but commentary on the news or expressing personal views on a topic.

And even news and information that looks reliable because of where you found it should still be verified.

  • Proceed With Caution: Sources that may be reliable but whose contents require further verification.
  • Political: Sources that provide generally verifiable information in support of certain points of view or political orientations.
  • Credible: Sources that circulate news and information in a manner consistent with traditional and ethical practices in journalism. (Remember: even credible sources sometimes rely on clickbait-style headlines or occasionally make mistakes. No news organization is perfect, which is why a healthy news diet consists of multiple sources of information).

Adapted from Cornell University's "Fake News, Propaganda, and Misinformation: Learning to Critically Evaluate Media Sources: Unreliable News Content - Types"

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