How To Spot Disinformation In The News

( – Disinformation has become a staple in today’s corporate news media and online. Technology has allowed the public to see video evidence and other information that helps determine their beliefs. Many news organizations have been scrutinized for blatantly sharing misinformation and disinformation to sway public opinion. Often, those organizations never retract or correct stories that have been disproven by the public, which leads to many people never learning the truth.

Despite hundreds of instances of this, corporate media points the finger at social media for spreading the most disinformation. Some outlets have called for the government to regulate speech online. Government agencies have been caught working with social media platforms to censor, de-platform, and de-monetize people whom they claim are spreading disinformation.

The 2016 and 2020 presidential elections thrust so-called “fact-checkers” into the forefront as the arbiters of truth, such as Politifact and Media Matters. However, both organizations have faced blowback for bias. Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s company X, formerly Twitter, recently filed a lawsuit against Media Matters, alleging that it “maliciously manufactured side-by-side images” of neo-Nazi content and advertisers posts to convince advertisers to boycott the platform. Attorneys General Ken Paxton of Texas and Andrew Bailey of Missouri opened investigations into Media Matters for fraud shortly after Musk filed the lawsuit.

Determining what is real and what is fake in the media and online can be tricky, but there are a few things to look out for when scrolling. If you see multiple spelling and grammatical errors in a story, search online for the same story from other sources to see if the information checks out. If a story is full of anonymous sources, it is best to proceed with caution until hard evidence emerges.

Utilize fact-checking sources if you have doubts, but always read the fact-check thoroughly to determine if it directly addresses the claim. If you discover that a particular news outlet or online public figure has repeatedly shared disinformation, it may be best to find a new information source. Join in the conversation and demand accountability from sources that engage in sharing disinformation.

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