Dec 16

Fake it until you make it, or brake it

Fighting fake news is now a big deal.

Horses and Barndoors.

But let's talk about that for a second. Since I deal with religious news here it seems appropriate. I have given up on fighting back against all the fake news I see people post on Facebook. The reality is people will believe what ever already fits their world view. But you, my readers, are more intelligent than that. You aren't going to just share some news article because it is sensational, are you?

Of course not.

Because you are going to follow these Commandments for Vetting Internet News:
1. Thou shall read dispassionately. The hard one and important one first. You must be able to separate your agenda from the sources you consider. Accepting bad sources harms your credibility and your cause.
2. Thou shall ask the intent of the article. Is it news or is it editorial? Does it have an obvious bias?
3. Thou shall find the original source. Copy a line from the site you are viewing and paste it into a search engine. You should be able to find the original author and date.
4. Thou shall investigate the nature of the original source. Is it a blog? Is it *.com, *.org, *.net? Or *.edu or *.mil (these two have higher authority as one is for universities and the other military.) If you don’t recognize the extension, research it. If it were .cl that would be Chile, and .cm would be Cameroon.
5. Thou shall research the author and the organization. Is it even a real person? Is there a "contact me" feature? What other things is this person associated with? Can you confirm the existence of this "news" site from anyone else?
6. Thou shall investigate the sources of the article. No I am not repeating myself. If the article says "according to the National Association for Fake News" find out what that is. Lots of very openly biased groups have very innocuous sounding names.
7. Thou shall verify. Does the information appear from multiple sources, and if so do they have different sources or are they sharing one?
8. Thou shall accept the existence of facts. If it can be verified from multiple unrelated sources then it is likely a fact, whether you want it to be or not.
9. Thou shall not confuse Satire with News. BabylonBee and the Onion are humor sites, not news sites. Know the difference.
10. Thou shall use logic and reason. Fake news is sometimes a mix of real facts and false conclusions, see if logic follows. Even if the information is verified, you shall not jump to conclusions of your own.

This has been brought to you in and effort to not talk about and maybe lessen the Culture War.

Don't be a Mo-mo.