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Fake news, Detected


By now we are all aware of fake news and the real consequences that can happen when these falsehoods are spread. We see that at an international and national level, on Twitter and on Facebook, but we don’t realize that fake news can appear right on our doorstep.
Fake news is always disguised as real news and might even been hidden within real news but, there are always a few very distinct ways to tell the difference.
What claims does it make?
Real news will include multiple primary sources when discussing a controversial claim. Fake news may include fake sources or ‘alternative facts’ that can be disproven through further research. When in doubt, dig deeper because facts can be verified.
Real news will also remain as neutral as possible and will not try to get you to take a side. Real news simply reports what has happened and remains neutral.
Who is making these claims?
Don't trust anonymous sources. When a news outlets simply cites “sources" or even, "a law enforcement official" you should be wary to trust it. A law enforcement official could be anything from the RCMP to a citizen on patrol and sources could be someone at the scene or them simply relaying information their mother heard in the line at the grocery store. When they won’t tell you, you shouldn’t really trust it.
Where was it published?
Real news is published by trustworthy media outlets with a strong fact-checking record. If you get your news primarily via social media, try to verify that the information is from a reliable source before you share it. And, please always check the original publish date to make sure something that is years old isn’t just being recycled.
What language is being used?
Whether you realize it or not, the language the media uses tells you how reliable it is. It’s easy to insinuate something is happening with carefully crafted words when it, in fact, is not what it is made to seem. While there is often no lies in the pieces of information themselves, when put together deviously they can allude to things that just aren’t true.
There’s also some keys in the way that news sources report on matters. When a media outlet says "we are receiving reports" it often means that sources are claiming something has happened, but it has not been confirmed. When they say “we are seeking confirmation" they are confident, but still can't confirm. And, when they say “we can confirm", the information has come from multiple sources, and the news outlet feels confident that it can claim something as an actual fact.
Lastly, how does it make you feel?
Fake news, like all propaganda, is designed to make you feel strong emotions. So, if you read or hear a news item that makes you feel super angry, pause and take a deep breath. Then, double-check the item’s claims and decide for yourself if the item is real news or fake news. Sometimes this can be difficult to do but before you comment and share it remember the bottom line is that you shouldn’t blindly believe everything you read.
There is no substitute for critical thinking. Keep your eyes open and your mind searching for the truth. DGB