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A Better Way to Spot Fake News Articles

Written by Karl Dahlfred on .

In light of numerous articles recently about how to discern fake news from real news, I have a suggestion that will take some time and commitment but in the long run will be more useful than trying to remember a list of fake news websites to watch out for.  

Read books by reputable authors who are associated with reputable universities, and are published by reputable publishing houses.  

 

For instance, if you want to know what the founders of America really intended with the electoral college, church-state separation, etc., then read a history book about the founding of the United States. How do you find a good book that isn't written by an ill-informed wacko with a severely biased agenda?

 

1) Is it written by a scholar who is recognized by his or her peers?  
How do you check that?  A quick look at the Wikipedia page for an author will tell you where they went to school, what school they currently teach at, other books that they have written, and (on many wiki pages), criticism or controversy surrounding their work.  

 

2) If you are interested in a particular book on a topic, google "[name of book] book review" to see if their are any reviews out there by people who teach / write in the same general topic area. 

 

3) Who published the book?   A publisher like Yale, Oxford, Princeton, Cambridge, etc. university presses are more likely to put out a book with high standards for accuracy.  Self-published books are not necessarily low quality, but with a reputable, established academic publisher, you have a much better likelihood of reading something substantial and well-researched.

 

4) Read the Amazon review of the books. Read the top 5 star review, a 3 star review, and a 1 star review. Also, a 4 star review will also tell you the pluses of the book, as well as reveal a few weak points.

 

Over the long run, reading well-researched, well-written books on various topics will give you a much better knowledge base from which to assess current news so you will be able to spot fakes and provide an informed opinion on the accuracy or inaccuracy of claims being made because you understand the broader context of the issue(s) in the article.

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