Top 5 Tips to Spot Fake News
by Scott Faith
Before the internet, people always believed in what the news tells them whether on television, radio or newspaper. Now, as more people have access to the internet, a lot of people have claimed that the media we know for a very long time could be fake news. Fake news is considered as a compilation of reports that are either untrue or just partially true. Let’s look at how you can spot them.
1) Clickbait Titles
I’m not going to sugarcoat this one: Vox and Vice are guilty of doing this kind of publicity like how they do it on internet personality Pewdiepie. They’ve called him out in a bunch of ridiculous articles, accusing him of being “alt-right” and a “nazi” when in reality, he’s not. Have you checked out his content? He really isn’t; they just take his humor out of context. Some people in the media just can’t take a joke.
A lot of times, you’ll find your friends on social media getting scared of a shared article saying, “DEER VIRUS CAUSES THEM TO EAT EACH OTHER. ZOMBIE VIRUS SPREADING IN THE US”. It makes people think that a zombie apocalypse is bound to happen – when in reality, it’s just an animal-related illness known for a very long time known as Chronic Wasting Disease.
Clickbait journalism is bountiful these days to the point where it’s just so blatantly obnoxious. We’re looking at you, mainstream media. You can’t blame people for not believing in the news anymore.
Some media will post “10 THINGS YOU WON’T BELIEVE CHILDREN DO THESE DAYS” but when you open the link, it’s just full of rehashed information from 5 years ago regarding kids and video games.
And mostly, they don’t have sources for them. Speaking of which…
2) Fishy Sources
If an article or news video is just based on someone’s opinion that does not support their statement, that’s fake news. Most articles are based on rage and hate nowadays like how BuzzFeed does with their titles; some of their posts are merely based on opinions. Remember that one “issue” they had back in 2016, “MANSPLAINING”? Yeah, only a few select people think it’s a political issue whenever a man sits like a normal person in public transportation and they have to shout it out to the public like it’s the worst thing ever after ISIS.
Other sources may include satirical websites known to twist facts for the sake of sarcasm like TheOnion or ThePanicRoomNews. However, some online media like LADBible, The Sun and Daily Dot that take issues seriously are considered to make fishy reports too.
Independent websites usually have back-ups to support their criticisms and commendations like this internet review from DailyWireless or that article regarding social media. In short, if an article doesn’t have a source, it’s kaput.
3) Political Agenda First, Actual News Second
Remember the fire that killed more than 34 people in the Kyoto Animation studio in Japan back on July 18, 2019? Well… some journalists who work for mainstream media used it to exploit their own political agendas. Look at New York Times and USA Today. Sure, they add some facts in the article but is it always necessary to speak loudly about their political beliefs?
And it’s not just general news too. Gaming journalism has had a bad reputation for the last decade, showing how they care more about their political correctness and less on actually appreciating/playing video games as a whole. For example, Kotaku made a huge issue over a Smash Bros dialogue and Polygon’s “explanation” regarding toxic men in gaming. If you look at them thoroughly, you know it’s just about their ideologies and not facts. Even if it was about their beliefs, they should have strong sources to back up their accusations.
4) Highly Obscure and Satirical Websites
Taking a breather from mainstream media, some websites claim to be official news outlets. Websites like NewsMutiny and Cheezburger are known for laughs and nothing else. If you take these news media seriously, there’s something wrong with you.
5) Misleading URLs
Okay, so not every news by mainstream media like CNN and NYT lacks truth in their reports. However, several websites mislead you into thinking they’re legit.
For example, you got ABC News and then there’s “ABC News” (mind the quotation marks). The difference here is the URL. The legit ABC has a .com while the fake one has .news.com.co. And if you don’t have a keen eye, you might get fooled.
The Remedy: Know What You’re Trusting
With the power of the internet, you can verify the news that you’re reading. As long as the title of the news is related to the body of content, has a reliable source and not based on opinions, it’s legit news… maybe. You should still be cautious. Or, better yet, take my advice (despite it being just a suggestion, from a guy you don’t know, on a site you don’t know): ignore the media and live your life. And, of course, you should continue to read The Havok Journal.
Scott Faith is a veteran of a half-dozen combat deployments and has served in several different Special Operations units over the course of his Army career. Scott’s writing focuses largely on veterans’ issues, but he is also a big proponent of Constitutional rights and has a deep interest in politics. He often allows other veterans who request anonymity to publish their work under his byline. Scott welcomes story ideas and feedback on his articles, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This first appeared in The Havok Journal in August 2019.
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