How to Identify And Evaluate Fake Political News: What makes for Legitimate Political Reporting and Commentary? A checklist for what to look for.
In today’s world, more digital media platforms have been introduced, making it easier for people to share news and information with others around the globe. But with this advantage is a downside. As fast as people can share news through paper publications and online, it’s also just as fast to spread false news and misleading information. What’s worst, many of these fake news is often provided by well-known news sites, so it becomes even more difficult to believe which is true and which is not.
Many news subjects are victims of fake news, and one of these is politics. Everyone knows how heated the discussion of politics can be, especially when it comes to political news. Every news site and reporter have their own political stands and opinions, so they create fake or misleading information to lure people into taking their side. Another reason some resources often spread fakes news is to make their headlines more striking and increase their views. Hence, it is up to the readers to work on identifying which news is factual and fictional.
Evaluating whether the news is fake can be challenging. After all, ever since you were a child, you’ve been wired to believe that everything you see in the news is true. But now that you’re aware of the reality, you can take action by determining which news is accurate and credible and stopping false information from spreading further.
Continuing reading this guide to learn six ways that can help you recognize and assess fake political news.
Check The Reputation Of The Author, News Site, Or Publication
Nowadays, more people find it easier to read the news on social media platforms than newspapers. And so, every time they come across a news article on their newsfeeds, they click on it right away and absorb whatever information is written on it. Unfortunately, not all news sites you find on social media are credible. Before clicking on a news article, it’ll be a good idea to check the reputation of that website first.
For instance, avoid trusting websites with links ending in ‘.com.co’ as they’re often an imitation of the real news sources, or they’re a source that produces misleading information for satire or humor. Real news sites often end with ‘.com,’ such as ThisNation.com, and other factual news resources.
Furthermore, before you even believe in whatever you’ve read in that particular article, take time to browse the website and see its past articles. If you spot some grammatical errors, typos, articles trying to disgrace a politician, or articles written by the same author, that could be a red flag for fake news.
Browse Other Resources And See If They’re Reporting The Same News
When a huge event happens in politics, it’s natural that multiple media organizations will cover a story about it and report it on their publications. But before believing a certain piece of news, try to browse other publications and find out if they’re reporting the same news. If you can find almost every news site discussing the same political subject, you can ensure that it’s true and it’s happening. However, if no one else is reporting that news you’ve read, the accuracy of that piece of political news is simply suspicious.
Be Cautious About Scandalous Political Headlines
As mentioned earlier, some publications publish fake and misleading news to increase their views or attract readers. That’s why most fake news is designed with alarming or eye-catching headlines to ensure many readers will click on their articles. What’s worst, many people would believe in such a story right away, just by basing it on the headline alone. Because of this, some people will end up attacking a politician in the comments section and spread the same article link to other people to back up their claims on the political figure.
As a responsible newsreader and listener, check the accuracy of the news articles first, especially if they have sensational headlines. As much as possible, avoid attacking politicians in comment sections, as many people also read them and support others’ opinions despite the lack of accuracy.
Carefully Survey The Photos Or Videos Attached To The News Article
Another technique often used by fake news purveyors is attaching eye-catching and almost plausible photos and videos to make the news realistic and believable. Keep in mind that pictures are stronger evidence than a thousand words, so they could easily mislead people who haven’t even read the whole article. What’s more, some fake news would use edited images or photographs taken years ago, which means they’re irrelevant to the current article.
If you find a suspicious photo or video in the news article, carefully scrutinize it and see if the media is trying to taint the politician’s image or fuel outrage from the readers and viewers. You can also research the photo to determine if it is a recent picture or a past picture that they only interpreted out of context.
Shared videos aren’t trustworthy if sources use a compilation of old videos of that same political figure and edited it to make it look like that subject is up to no good. You can also determine the trustworthiness of the images or videos based on who published them.
All you have to do is set some time to dig into the publication and its reputation.
Consider The Person Sharing The News With You
Sometimes, fake news is spread by your own friends and family. Because of digital technology, many people would often choose to only read news articles or publications that reinforce or hold up with their current political views.
You’ve probably been in a situation wherein one of your friends or relatives (with strong political views on a certain subject) has sent you a link to an article that leans towards their political beliefs. So, before you believe in the stories right away, take a moment to assess the person sharing that article to you and see if that person has always been a supporter of political biases.
Check If The News Is For Humor
As you all know, some publications spread false or misleading news for humor or comedic purposes only. If you come across political news that seems questionable to you, check the media site or publication and read its previous articles. Based on previous reports, you might find that most of the pieces are only intended for attention and humor.
Now that you know how to identify fake news on all media platforms, it’s a good time to take action, starting with yourself. When you encounter fake news, make sure to avoid spreading it anywhere, and, instead, encourage other people to avoid following certain news sites and publications. You can also share these tips, so they’ll know how to identify fake news themselves. Most importantly, don’t let your own political biases or beliefs drive you to provide unreliable information.