The pop-culture-trivia-snark-list website Cracked (and how sad is it that the site based on the inferior magazine knock-off of Mad Magazine is still going and Mad has bitten the metaphorical dust?) has a post listing twenty ways not to be fooled by fake news. It starts out,
Thanks to the Twitters and the Facebooks of the world, these days we pretty much just get our “news” from the clickbait headlines we see while scrolling through poorly-made but still hilarious memes. Which sucks, because it’s pretty much ruining society. So here’s how to avoid becoming an uninformed angry internet denizen in the future.
Among the article’s observations:
- Don’t trust The Daily Mail. I knew it was basically a rag, but I didn’t know the Daily Mail has overtaken the New York Times as the most visited news website.
I’ve never used the Daily Mail for a story without checking other sources, but he’s right; it’s lazy. I won’t use it from now on.
- The use of the term “after ” in a headline implies causation that is often not there.
This is a New York Times specialty, particularly on Trump-bashing stories by reporter Maggie Halberman.
- The post warns of headlines that are composed to nab clicks but that do not accurately reflect the content of the story beneath..
Another New York Times specialty.
- This one was unintentionally funny, especially in the midst of the rest:
What reputable news sources? As the list amply demonstrates, there aren’t any!
- Watch out for “needless editorializing”…
You mean like in virtually every story by any news source about anything involving politics? The tragedy is that people need to be told this.
- Photos are misleading even when they are genuine, and often they are not.
Four caveats on the list involve deceptive photos or videos.
- Watch out for stories on both Reuters and Forbes. The former often posts press releases from organizations without checking or editing, and the latter…well…
I’m happy to say that I almost never use Forbes. I will now upgrade that from “almost never” to “never.”
- Beware of doomsday stories (what I categorize as “future news,” and the topic of the recently posted Michael Crichton speech and stories headlined or framed to provoke outrage.
Yet another daily specialty of the Times and the Washington Post.
- …and of course, polls and any any story containing “many experts say.”
But you already knew that, I hope.
Cracked’s list is still not complete, but staff writer Ryan Menezes did an excellent job. Read the whole thing. And this link you can share on Facebook, and I recommend doing so.