Fact, Fake, or Biased How to Identify Factual, Fake, and Biased News

The Purpose of the Research

In this unit, we chose three different news articles from three different news sources to research in order to determine which article was factual, reliable news, which article was fake news, and which article was opinionated/biased. The purpose of this research was to be able to practice identifying which articles/sources were reliable and factual, and which articles were not. This skill is an extremely important one to have in today's society, as information is constantly being posted online or on social media platforms, and not all of it is trustworthy. It is very easy for one idea that is not fact-based to be passed along extremely quickly, making it appear to be factual. However, not everything that is posted online is true, and research shows that the current generations are having a harder and harder time differentiating fake news from factual news.

The Topics That I Chose to Research

I chose to research two articles that were about Trump's wiretap accusations, and one article allegedly describing the discovery of blind, zombie-like Disney characters under Space Mountain. The first article that I read about Trump's wiretap accusations was written by Occupy Democrats. The second article that I read about this issue was published by the New York Times. Lastly, the article that I read about the zombie-like characters living under Space Mountain was published by The Onion, a news source famous for satire.

The news sources that I evaluated

Opinionated/Biased News Source

As I read the article about Trump's accusations of Obama wiretapping him written by Occupy Democrats, I could tell that the news source was clearly opinionated. Although the facts seemed to match up with other more reliable news sources, the article clearly included the author's opinions on the issue, and conveyed one side of the story in a positive light, and the other in a negative light. The language and the way the information was presented was clearly designed for the reader to agree with the author's opinion on the issue, and was not presenting all of the sides of the story equally.

Chart of different types and levels of trust for a variety of news sources

Fake News Source

The article published on the Onion called "Hundreds of Blind, Pallid Disney Characters Discovered Living in Caves Deep Within Space Mountain" was clearly fake news. The article was written with a humorous tone in order to convey to the readers that the news was fake, and was simply supposed to amuse the reader. In addition, there is no author name listed, or other resources provided to back up their ideas.

Factual News Source

I determined that the article that I read about Trump's wiretap accusations from the New York Times was a factual article. All of the facts and information included in the article corresponded with the facts from other reliable sources. In addition, the article did not include any opinions or biases about the issue being addressed. The article simply provided the reader with all of the necessary information in order for the reader to form their own opinion on the situation. In addition, they cited other sources to back up their information, and the author of the article was highly qualified.

Fact vs. Fiction

Separating Fact from Fiction

In the future, check your news sources if you are questioning whether a story is true or not. Here are a few things to consider in order to separate factual news sources from fake news sources and opinionated news sources:

  1. Is the author of the article only talking about one side of the story or writing with a specific opinion on an issue?
  2. Is the author trying to appeal to your emotions rather than just providing facts?
  3. After researching the author if there is an author's name provided, is he/she qualified to be writing this article?
  4. Do the headlines use excessive punctuation?
  5. Are there other resources provided in the article to back up the facts and information included in the article?
  6. Does the website have a reputation for reliable information, or is it infamous for publishing fake news articles?

Credits:

Created with images by Pexels - "bundle jute rope newspaper" • stevepb - "newspaper news media print media" • MichaelGaida - "news daily newspaper press" • blitzmaerker - "mailbox rome newspaper" • MiraDeShazer - "typewriter keyboard type" • karriezhu - "table food book" • stevepb - "newspaper spectacles glasses" • Randy Landicho - "Newspaper Boxes" • jackmac34 - "magazines reading journals" • TheSeafarer - "Newspapers in India" • sonja_paetow - "waste paper newspapers paper" • SplitShire - "pillows bar café" • moritz320 - "newspaper daily newspaper news" • Average Jane - "A nice, big cup of tea and a newspaper" • sonja_paetow - "newspaper paper daily newspaper" • NS Newsflash - "Newspapers yellow"

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