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The new civics course in schools: How to avoid fake news

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By CAROLYN THOMPSON

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Trolling forums is easy as when claims are debunked, the thread is already too old and posters moved to newer threads.

Trolling is a powerful tool for spreading false information.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Don't watch Fox?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Don't watch Fox?

If people do watch FOX or any Murdoch station, they should also watch other channels to get a different perspective. Media silo-ization is a huge problem.

Fake news has to be called out immediately. If someone pushes fake news, they should be challenged and made to show a source.

Another problem is the number of people who call wolf, who say something that doesn't fit their worldview is fake news. These people should also be called out immediately.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

In this respect, Trump and the alt-right have been a gold mine of material for teachers. Unfortunately, the people most in need of the lesson are the people least likely to trust teachers or information that reflects poorly on Trump or the alt-right.

And not to present a false equivalency because fake news is a far greater problem on the right than the left, but the left is not blameless. I'm particularly getting tired of the "Here's the dumb thing Trump did today, isn't he such a dummy?" genre of story which, while not exactly full-on fake news, sacrifices meaningful and complicated analysis of the consequences of Trump's policies on the public and how the public might resist those policies, and replaces that with the smug self-satisfaction that the guy who beat your team really is just as big of a dummy as you thought he is.

TumbleDryFEB. 13, 2017 - 03:54PM JST Trolling forums is easy as when claims are debunked, the thread is already too old and posters moved to newer threads. Trolling is a powerful tool for spreading false information.

Excellent point. Sadly, all too often site moderators refuse to do their jobs in dealing with trolling. Maybe they just want to cynically exploit controversy, no matter how imaginary it is, in order to drive up page views (and thus advertising revenue) in the short term without giving a thought to the toxic environment it creates in the long term. Maybe they're just cowards afraid to face the accusations of being partisan if they silence trolls, which predominantly seem to come from one political orientation. Or maybe they're just afraid to do anything that catches the ire of rabble-rousers like Milo Yiannopoulos, well known for directing hordes of minions to destroy communities that disagree with their far-right ideology.

Whatever the reason, our basic faculties of discourse are being poisoned and if the people who profit from online communities don't do something about it soon, I can imagine a future where their source of revenue no longer exists.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A California lawmaker last month introduced a bill to require the state to add lessons on how to distinguish between real and fake news to the grade 7-12 curriculum.

This course will be rendered meaningless if the state apparatuses get their hands on it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Fake news is not always easy to identify.

Mostly, you should develop some trust over time in a news source, e.g., New York Times, Washington Post, etc. However, different writers in each source may be more or less trustworthy. That means you need to develop a history of obtaining news from a source and comparing that history with further details from other sources. The trust develops over time as you learn how reliable the source has been.

Even stories two weeks old can be incorrect as facts get clarified.

In this age, fake news is associated with political agendas. If a politician is talking, they are probably lying.

If a news article tells you the answer is obvious and clear, it is probably lying. Almost nothing is obvious or clear.

Try to read more than one source of news and sources of news from different countries.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Fake news? You don't have to look far. Some views of Trump supporters:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/rampage/wp/2016/12/28/americans-especially-but-not-exclusively-trump-voters-believe-crazy-wrong-things/?utm_term=.e66505476e96

46% believe pizzagate is true (it's not)

52% believe President Obama was born in Kenya (he wasn't)

62% believe millions of illegal votes were cast in election (there weren't)

80% believe Russia didn't hack emails to help Trump (they did)

31% believe vaccines cause autism - (they don't)

74% believe people with health insurance has stayed the same or decreased under Obamacare (it has increased substantially)

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/8/14536074/obamacare-aca-polling-republicans

45% don't know that repealing Obamacare means repealing the A.C.A. (it does - it's the same thing)

53% don't know that repealing Obamacare means ending the Medicaid expansion (it does)

http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/poll-two-thirds-trump-supporters-think-obama-muslim

59% think President Obama was not born in the United States (he was)

65% think Obama is Muslim (he isn't)

13% think Obama is Christian (he is)

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Good on the schools

It's actually a skill that students can use in real life - street smarts

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Stop watching all the television network and cable news shows that ran the biggest fake news story of last year: "Donald Trump has no path to 270", and: "Hillary Clinton by a landslide" would be a start. . . .

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Fake news? How about simply heavily biased news? That's the actual problem: With 90% of news sources in the tank for the left(reminder of the 85% probability of a Hillary win on all news media/channels) the average person looking for unbiased information is left to their own devices. There IS no neutral news.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Frederic BastiatFEB. 13, 2017 - 09:13PM JST Fake news? How about simply heavily biased news? That's the actual problem: With 90% of news sources in the tank for the left(reminder of the 85% probability of a Hillary win on all news media/channels) the average person looking for unbiased information is left to their own devices. There IS no neutral news.

It's well known that reality has a liberal bias.

But you've brought up the chief fallacy here, the lie that the alt-right has used to weasel their way into the highest office in the land- the false equivocation of neutral political stance with honest retelling of facts. All things are political, and facts are not open to opinion. Take for example, the fact that you're more likely to die from a lightning strike or an angry white dude with a gun than from a Muslim terror attack in the US - that's a fact. It is backed up with statistical evidence. It's also information that skews heavily toward one political stance vs. another. Another fact is global warming caused by humanity's unprecedented use of fossil fuels which release CO2 into the atmosphere. That's not a matter of opinion, we actually have satellites in orbit measuring it - and it also heavily supports one political stance vs. another.

The problem with news isn't it having a political stance, it's with it being unable to follow a fact-checkable procedure to confirm that what it reports is true. Two dudes in a basement making up a story about Hillary Clinton's child sex ring in the basement of a pizza restaurant that has no basement isn't a problem because it is biased against Clinton, it's biased because it never happened and none of the people who claimed it did can show a shred of evidence to support their case.

It's weird that American children generally have a good understanding of the difference between reality and make believe, but somehow that understanding flies out the window the moment Americans get old enough to attend a Trump rally.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Stop watching all the television network and cable news shows that ran the biggest fake news story of last year: "Donald Trump has no path to 270", and: "Hillary Clinton by a landslide" would be a start. . . .

Um, that wasn't fake news. Obviously you don't know (or want to admit) what fake news is. That news was incorrect predictions. The predictions themselves were entirely real. Therefore the news itself was real. They just weren't very good predictions, but until someone figures out a way to see the future, all predictions will be just that - predictions.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And yet the MSM is at record lows with the American public. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

FizzBit: probably a wake up call for some media but DT machination seems to be working. The new normal is alternative facts and Tweets in caps...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@strangerland,

Um, yes it was fake news. Obviously you don't know (or want to admit) but considering the overt collusion between the radical alt-left news media and the Clinton campaign courtesy of WikiLeaks, the DNC Super Pac (aka, the MSM) worked overtime last summer (example: reporting opinion polls that were oversampled liberals by as much as 10 percent as fact) in a futile attempt to drag Hillary across the finish line and into the White House. So, yes, perpetuating the lie non-stop that she had won all the way up to Election Night wound up being the biggest fake news story here in the U.S. In 2016. . . .

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Um, yes it was fake news.

Ok, if it was fake news, then that means that the predictions they reported didn't exist. Please show some evidence to show that the reporting on the predictions was false, and not based in reality.

And if you say 'the proof is that DT became president', it means you are admitting it was not fake news. Because the proof isn't whether or not DT became president, for it to be fake news, the predictions have to have not been made by the organizations that the reports said made them.

So, yes, perpetuating the lie non-stop that she had won all the way up to Election Night wound up being the biggest fake news story here in the U.S. In 2016. . . .

Nope. It turns out you don't know what fake news is.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You mean this post where you proved you don't know what fake news is?

Stop watching all the television network and cable news shows that ran the biggest fake news story of last year: "Donald Trump has no path to 270", and: "Hillary Clinton by a landslide" would be a start. . . .

Hint: Fake news is not news you disagree with.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think Texas is trying to say that any poll that did not predict Trump losing by 3,000,000 votes and winning the White House is fake news. Which would be pretty much all of them from any newspaper, left or right.

And admit it, Texas. You thought Trump would lose. You vanished a few weeks before the election and came back the day he won when it was a safe spot for you again.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I hope that while their at it they teach their students about the Electoral College and how the American form of Government operates. There seems to be a lot of confusion about that as of late.

There IS no neutral news.

@Frederic Bastiat

I agree 100%. What is presented to the American public as "News" is really nothing more than opinions presented from a specific perspective. It doesn't matter if it's on the right or the left or any point in between, bias in favor of specific agendas is universal. Like Nietzche wrote "There are no facts, only interpretations" And what I see coming from the news/entertainment industry are interpretations of events filtered through agenda driven biases and in support of a specific point of view.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Kuya 808: Very good quote there about the interpretations. I usually say that unless we were there in person, we really have no way of telling whether anything is true or not, or what really happened. These days anything can be easily fabricated and presented as "evidence", also depending on how something is presented, it can be two completely different stories. Furthermore if a number of people observe any event, it can be reported in as many ways as many people were there, for each and every person will experience it in their unique way. So it's kinda difficult. Too bad we cannot distinguish between fake and true with our hearts (yet).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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