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Check It

Please check your sources. I know often it is not intended and only out of ignorance but come 2016, and all the madness it has entailed, I’ve seen a bunch of liberal lefties along my feed forwarding BS alt-right news reports. I know there are many in my network who would not want to be associated with white nationalists or the alt-right but who are becoming lazy dissemination vehicles for propagandists. That goes for alt-left stuff too. Lies and hyperbole are unfortunately bipartisan. We can argue all day on which side the scale tips but don’t waste your time. Side-step the debate and seek the truth.

In our attempts to educate with social media we need to really question if we want to be a channel for extremists or ideologues just because we can’t be bothered to see if their words are even true? It is an extra few steps above just clicking re-post but if you do not do it, you do a real disservice to your to your fellow human. You would be guilty of perpetuating and increasing ignorance. The cost of that ignorance will eventually come home to roost. Perhaps in America’s 2016’s Presidential campaign we are seeing just that. The huge degree of irresponsibility found in social media sourced news may contribute to the entire country’s chaotic downfall. Imagine, they feared the Russians, then they feared the Muslims but it was the lazy blogger that caused the whole thing to implode.

Everyone has confirmation bias and are drawn to the headlines that affirm their ideas but keep some integrity. If you are the bearer of truth, trying to inspire some awareness or action, you must insure what you are sharing adheres to some type of journalistic standard and/or fact checking authority. The descent down the slippery slope of reputation to the boy who cried wolf, Chicken Little or Alex Jones is fueled by a back-draft of unverified, sensational and down right agenda-fueled articles that destroy credibility.

Some basics before you share important news:

  • Check where is this story coming from. What is the quality of the reporting?
  • Look at the Frontpage. Is it full of sensational and/or race baiting headlines? Look at the Fox News website as a touch point. Does it follow along this spectrum but headlines more extreme?
  • Read the About page. Is any person or any type of journalistic credential from any type of official entity listed?

Remember if it is world changing news from a mostly unheard of newspaper who has no actual journalist listed, and the paper has no journalistic credentials, it is probably not true. Don’t spread ignorance. Let us operate from and make decisions based on truth.

Resources:
Snopes.com fact check is one easy resource to use. You might even want to check their about page and see what credentials from an independent might look like.
http://www.snopes.com/category/facts/

Some Fact Checking Resources for 2016
https://ijnet.org/en/blog/11-tools-verification-and-fact-checking-2016