Are you suffering from information overload illness? Does reading the news give you insomnia, heightened anxiety, indigestion, panic attacks, depression, migraines, or uncontrollable rage? If you suffer from any of these reactions, then here’s a four-step prescription that can help. Continue reading
Want to know how to tell if a report is true or false? Some things are complicated, but others are really easy to check. Here are three simple tips for do-it-yourself fact checking, and three good fact checking sites for back-up. Continue reading
The flood of news and propaganda continues, and so I’m occasionally drawn into fact checking. Here are some of my fact checks for the past 24 hours. Continue reading
PolitiFact is a fact-checking website run by the Tampa Bay Times that focuses on political actors and statements. Politifact classifies statements as True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False, and Pants on Fire.
The Star Tribune published a commentary piece October 28 featuring “The Top 10 whoppers of both leading presidential candidates” as identified by Politifact.com. What’s wrong with that? Plenty.
The clear implication is that both candidates are equally liars. That’s wrong. Even worse, the “everybody is a liar” meme increases cynicism not only about the candidates but about the political system, voting, and the possibility of meaningful choice. Continue reading
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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
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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When two elephants fight, the grass gets trampled, says a Swahili proverb, which puts me in mind of the RNC and DNC domination of July news. Despite the elephants, other news is happening to people who, like grass under elephants’ feet, seem barely noticed. If you, like me, feel closer to the grass underfoot than to the elephants in Cleveland and Philadelphia, here’s a quick round-up of some important news items you may have missed. Continue reading