Stop and look more closely at information:
Red flag phrases:
"Never promote any info or news unless it comes from a source you would trust to tell you which door the tiger is behind." - Peter Sagal
Before trying to evaluate whether or not the story is accurate, learn more about the source. Is it who you thought it was? What is their reputation? Do they have expertise/experience that makes you trust them? Are they trustworthy for this story?
To do this, you want to go outside the source - and one of the best ways to do this is to use Wikipedia.
"About Us" page vs. lateral searching
A lot of us were taught to use the "About Us" page in order to evaluate a source. Let's look at childrenshealthdefense.org in order to discuss why that might not work so well. Look at their "About Us" page, and then compare what you find there to their Wikipedia page.
Look at the two sources below. What are your first impressions of each site? Now use the "just add Wikipedia" method to learn more about them. Does your impression of each site change?
The author of this article is not a reporter, but is presented as an expert. Check out his expertise by doing a Wikipedia search on his name. Is he well qualified to write this article? Why or why not?
What do you think of this source? What about this author?
Find Trusted Coverage
We're often more interested in the story itself rather than the source it's found in. When that's the case, it's best to look for trusted reporting or analysis. For particularly complex topics, you may want to look at multiple sources to determine what the consensus is.
To do this, you can search Google and/or a news aggregator to find other articles on the story. Be sure to practice click restraint! Scan through results before you decide which stories you want to click on. Not everything that comes up in a news search will be credible, and you also want to get a sense of the overall picture before you click through to a specific article.
If you're having a hard time finding conclusive coverage on a story, you may want to see if anyone has done a fact-check by adding the words [fact check] to your search. You can also look on a fact-checking site.
► Your turn
Look at the "Rat Dies After Gorging On Cash While Stuck In ATM" story. Do a search and see if other sites are reporting this. If there are other sites, choose the one you feel is the best source for this story. If it does not appear to be true, explain how you came to that conclusion.
Next, look at the "#FauciLiedDogsDied: Fauci funds experimental drug testing on dogs" story. How would you go about determining the accuracy of the reporting in this story?
Trace Claims and Quotes
Very little of what we find online is original research or reporting, and as a story gets passed around and filtered through different writers important details can be left out and inaccuracies can find their way in. However, it is often possible to find the original reporting, research or image online.
► Your Turn
Look at the following articles. How would you go about tracing the claims made in the articles and their headlines?
► Tracing Images
Sometimes (many times!) claims or stories will come to you in the form of images. If you want to find trusted coverage of the issue, claim, or photo, you have a couple options:
► Your turn
► Additional Resources