We’ve had a couple decent days now in Oregon and were able to get out hiking again. All four of us ventured out the day after Thanksgiving.
That’s a high river right there! It shows you how much rain there has been lately. There’s a lot of the shore underwater that is usually covered by brush and geese. It reminds me that a large amount of fast flowing water is incredibly powerful.
Continuing to think about fake news (see Part 1), I wondered if there was an equivalent to this kind of fake news on the liberal side. I did a little research. This is the kind of thing that I used to avoid because it makes my stomach tie in knots and I get worked up. This is apparently the norm now for people when we interact with differing political views. I want to challenge myself to listen to others’ opinions and political arguments going forward. I want to be able to come together with people who might not completely align with me politically, but could come together to stand up for what’s right and to keep the Trump administration accountable. In order to bring people together, I have to be able to listen.
Back to the research, I took a look at the website called The Federalist. I read an article that was in response to the mainstream media’s deluge of news about fake news that Trump supporters were reading and sharing online. This article named several sites that they said are liberal fake news: Vox, Huffington Post and Daily Kos. Basically they’re saying these sites are opinion, very liberal leaning, and that they don’t cite legitimate sources. That article pointed also out that people seemed to have solid reasons not to believe the mainstream media considering the way they covered the 2016 election, acting like DT had no chance to win. This is a reason that people turned to alternative information sources.
I read a blog post that a Facebook friend shared from Patheos that urges liberals to stop sharing articles from many left leaning sites that have click bait headlines and are highly distorted and feed into confirmation bias of the intended audience. That list of sites includes Occupy Democrats, USUncut, Addicting Info, Being Liberal and The Other 98%. Since this is from a blog post, I am not going to just the author’s word for it. I took a look at these sites and checked Politifact and Allsides. Politifact ranked Occupy Democrats'”news” 33% false and 33% pants on fire. Allsides ranked Daily Kos and Vox as left leaning and Huffington Post all the way left on their spectrum.
A list compiled by a professor called False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical “News” Sources has been making its way around the internet and I thought it had really good guidelines for analyzing news sources. Here’s a brief summary, but I also encourage you to take a look at the link especially if you have specific sources you’d like to look into.
-Avoid websites that end in “lo” or “.com.co”.
-Watch out if known/reputable news sites are not also reporting the story. There should typically be more than one source reporting on a topic or event.
-If a story makes you really angry it’s probably a good idea to keep reading about the topic via other sources to make sure the story you were reading wasn’t purposely trying to make you angry using potentially misleading or false info in order to generate shares and ad revenue.
-Bad web design and use of ALL CAPS can be a sign that what you’re reading should be verified or read in conjunction with other sources.
-Check out the About Us tab on websites or look the website up on Snopes or Wikipedia for more info about the source.
-Some news organizations are letting people blog under the banner of particular news brands like BuzzFeed Community Posts, Forbes blogs), but some of that does not go through the same editing process as the actual news articles.
.-Interestingly, the author says that some sources at times may qualify them for addition to the list of false, misleading, clickbait-y or satirical news include The Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, and Fox News. They vacillate between providing important, legitimate, problematic and hyperbolic news coverage, requiring readers and viewers to verify and contextualize information with other sources.
The author responded to questions about which news sources he trusts, and he responded by saying he reads/watches/listens very widely from mainstream, corporate owned sources (The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes) as well as The Atlantic, National Public Radio, and various local and alternative sources with different political perspectives, some of which are included on his list of sources for which we should take caution. He said this is the best thing for us to do in our contemporary media environment, and to be critical of the sources we share and engage with on social media.
His actual list includes liberal sites such as Occupy Democrats and The Other 98%.
At this point I ask myself, how responsible are we as individuals to ensure what we consume is fact or as close to it as possible? How responsible are we to fact check before we share what is supposed to be fact? I have no problem with people sharing what is clearly opinion, but I’m specifically thinking about media that presents itself as news or facts that can so easily be misleading and spread so quickly without people fact checking. How responsible is Facebook where so much of the real and fake news is shared?
If you missed part 1, check it out: The scourge of fake news and how to fight it, part 1.