Tag Archives: fake news

Fake news exposé brings real threats

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Communications prof Melissa Zindars posted an exposé of fake news, complete with a list of “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical ‘News’ Sources.” Then, reports the Los Angeles Times, she took down the list, as  “a safety measure in response to threats and harassment she and her students and colleagues had received.” That’s the power, and the peril, of good reporting in a time when fake news wins elections and earns big bucks. Continue reading

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Lies, damn lies and Facebook lies: Update on phony news

Invasion of fake news

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My dad liked to say that there are lies, damn lies and statistics. A Buzzfeed investigative report shows something a little different: lies, damn lies and Facebook’s phony news sites. Buzzfeed analyzed the Facebook pages of three left-wing, three right-wing and three mainstream news sites. They found lies in almost 20 percent of the left-wing pages’ posts and 38 percent of the right-wing pages’ posts. Even worse, they found that “the least accurate pages generated some of the highest numbers of shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook — far more than the three large mainstream political news pages analyzed for comparison.” Continue reading

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Not really the news: Outright lies and hoaxes

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 10.46.01 PMDid President Obama really sign an executive order banning the pledge of allegiance in schools nationwide? Must be real — you can read it in abcnews.com.co. Oh, wait — that’s a phony news site, set up to steal the reputation of the real ABC News and get you to believe fake stories. Just like nbc.com.co or foxnews.com.co or cbs.com.co — all fake sites set up by the News Examiner, which also publishes phony news. Because theses “shill” sites look, at first glance, like legit news organizations, their phony news gets picked up and spread, often over social media and sometimes even fooling real news organizationsContinue reading

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Satire beyond The Onion

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Fact, fiction, or satire?

Does Hilary Clinton wear the bullet that killed Osama bin Laden on a chain around her neck? Did marijuana overdoses kill 37 people in Colorado on the first day of legalization? Was a Black Lives Matter group sued for being racist, not allowing white members? Did a vacationing President Obama really dedicate an 18th hole birdie to Louisiana flood victims? Did Trump really put Ben Carson and Sarah Palin on his foreign policy advisory team? Or is Michele Bachmann going to be his foreign policy adviser?

In this election more, even more than in previous campaign seasons, it can be hard to tell truth from satire. Continue reading

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Don’t believe everything you read: Phony news and how to spot it

Did you read about the world’s biggest baby, born in China, weighing 73 pounds? How about Pope Francis’s denunciation of Pokemon as the devil’s tool? Or about Donald Trump’s cousin leaving a statement for his obituary begging people not to vote for him? Or that Donald Trump says President Obama founded ISIS? Okay – the last one is unfortunately true, which shows how hard it can be to tell actual news from fiction and satire, this year more than ever.

I spend lots of time reading news, and I care passionately about sorting truth from lies. So I’m going to write a series of blog posts to share what I’ve learned over a lifetime of working at this Sisyphean task. Today: phony news sites. Next time: Satire beyond The Onion. After that: Outright lies and hoaxes. Finally: Not really science and not really health. Continue reading

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