#DigiLitSunday: Real vs. Fake News


What is “Fake” news?  What is “Real News”?

I have NOT YET taught this but I so appreciate that Margaret Simon has posed this for today’s conversation and you can read more posts at “Reflections on the Teche” here.

Defining the Issue:  Fake?  Real?  Is it that Simple?


I was thinking that this graphic would be black and white so I was surprised to see the green and red that I found when looking for a graphic for “real/fake”.  But yet I don’t believe it’s that simple.  I wonder if there’s really a range of possibilities inspired by all the “reality” shows and images that now exist in life. (Note:  I am deliberately not YET using “True”opposite “Fake”.)

I’m going to work with this topic in an inquiry mode.  I really want to see how this grows as teachers and students think through how they understand and truly know whether news/events are “real” or “fake”.  I believe that there is going to be a continuum and this chart shows my beginning thinking.

real fake continuum.JPG

What needs to be explored?

Every newspaper headline could be explored.  Any statement by a political figure stated as a fact that sounds totally bogus could also be explored.  Or google “John Lewis civil rights hero” or “best president ever” and see the articles that pop up.  How do you determine whether they are “real” or “fake”?

What are some criteria to consider?

Source of the information – online (.org or .gov = tend to be real; co. or lo. = tend to be fake)

Who is “reporting”? What information is available about the author?

Who is the “audience”?

Is only one side of the issue presented?

Do the headline, quotes, picture and story support the same conclusion?

Are there “exaggerations” or blatant “lies”?  Is the supporting information “credible evidence” or “suspicious photo shopped pictures or unidentified sources”?

Are there discrepancies between “words spoken” and “actions”?

Are there other stories, quotes or pictures that support an opposing view?  How credible are those sources?

Can you fact check with  FactCheck.org,  PolitiFact.com, or Snopes.com?

Will this “study” change readers’ minds?

Doubtful.  However, a frank discussion of the rights from the First Amendment may need to also occur.  Just because one has the “right” to say anything doesn’t mean that “anything and everything” should be said!  Discerning citizens need to have a “filter” or “lens” to dig into statements, articles, reporting that seems to be less than accurate.  Maybe the goal is to begin to understand how much of “reporting” seems to have a purpose of shaping the news rather than simply stating the facts.

Personally . . .

I remember following my Twitter feed on Monday, May 2, 2011 to find out that Osama bin Laden was killed.  That was where I first saw it reported.  I verified with multiple other sources, ever hopeful that initial announcement was correct.  However, Twitter is not currently my  source of “Real News”. Neither is Facebook.  News and social media don’t always mix in my opinion because the rush to be “first” often does not allow for the “paragraphs” that need to address all of the possibilities. Being cautious and a bit skeptical works for me!

How will you determine whether news is “Real” or “Fake”?





4 responses

  1. There are so many aspects to consider when thinking about this issue. “Being cautious and a bit skeptical” seems like a good stance to adopt as we continue to educate ourselves and our students about being discerning consumers of news.

    1. Thanks, Catherine!

      This is a big topic. It’s not over YET! I think we will “continue to educate ourselves and our students about being discerning consumers of news” as more news sources pop up every day!

  2. I think when we have the experience of reacting to news that later is found out to be fake, we get it. We feel abused. Many adults do not question or think when they read their news feed. We become awash in the volume. I am choosing to look at the explosion of fake vs. real news stories as a good thing. It heightens our awareness. Social media can become tabloids on steroids.

    1. Julieanne,
      OMG – YES! “Social media can become tabloids on steroids.” I think so many people believe every stinking word on social media and some of it really is “stinking” before the send button is pushed!

      And yes, “We become awash in the volume.” The more times that the same info is repeated the more it “seems” to be true!

      So much to think about! And so much that we need to learn about!

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