On December 29, the New York Times headlined, Obama Strikes Back at Russia for Election Hacking. As news consumers, what questions do we need to ask about that story?
Question #1: What is this “election hacking?” Continue reading
As thousands of Native Americans gather in North Dakota to resist the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), local law enforcement has pushed back by arresting journalists covering the protests and the Sacred Stone Camp and by outright lies about the protests and protesters. In addition, misinformation and propaganda is flooding social media, posted through sock puppets and other sources. 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
When I read the Strib article on home health care overbilling, I recalled last year’s 60 Minutes exposé of highly-organized health care fraud in Florida, and tried to check back to see what has been done to investigate, prosecute, and stop the fraud. The first article that turned up was a May 6 CBS I-Team report from Florida, charging that “government investigators say CMS still can’t accurately track improper Medicare payments.” That sounded important, but the article itself was confusing, referring to the 60 Minutes report, quoting President Obama in a context that was not clear, and referring to “a new bill” to attack fraud. Continue reading