Test your knowledge of fake and biased news

Want to test your knowledge of fake and biased news? Open the document below to find portions of news articles that you can determine if they are fake or biased. There is an answer key located at the end as well as links below that correspond to the questions so that you can investigate further.

Test Your Knowledge-1f6ry0h

  1.  https://nypost.com/2018/04/04/senate-candidate-boasts-endorsement-from-his-dog/
  2.  https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/15-year-old-killed-trespassing-while-playing-pokemon-go/
  3.  http://video.foxnews.com/v/5646143470001/?#sp=show-clips
  4.  https://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2018/04/poetic-justice
  5.  https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/11/opinions/police-preventing-shootings-ikeda-opinion/index.html

Why is fake and biased news a problem?



Currently, K-12 curriculum is not able to keep up with ever-changing technology. Children are now spending more time online than ever before, yet they are not getting better at comprehending the content of what they are seeing. Everyone, from middle school to college, was found to be “easily duped” by misinformation found online. They were not able to reason with information they find. Humanities courses are one way to add this to the curriculum, but teachers say that they do not have enough time to teach the critical skills students desperately need. This is what has led to the under-education of students on this issue. It has been found that even the brightest students struggle to distinguish between fake and biased news.

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We have chosen to target high school aged students with our project for several reasons. First, they are old enough to comprehend what we are trying to teach. They are beginning to learn how to do research, and we hope to help them identify real news sources better. Additionally, we want to educate students before they are old enough to vote. We hope to show them how to consider all sides of the story before forming their own opinion. Better educated voters leads to a brighter future.

“Five years ago, it was difficult to get people to understand what we were doing and what we wanted to see happen in education and the skills students needed to learn,”
“Now there is no question about the vitalness of this in classrooms.” -Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, executive director of the National Association for Media Literacy Education

One example of bias in the news

A study was done on bias about climate change in three major news sources including CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. Today, scientists mostly agree that climate change is a real, human caused problem. Media coverage in general in the US does not do a great job at representing this because media usually downplays the issue. The Project for Excellence in Journalism has found that over half (52%) of news stories from the three major news sources mentioned only covered one side of an issue. This leads to increased polarization in a society that already has difficulty coming together.

Some statistics:

33% of climate change stories from Fox News challenged its existence
Virtually no stories from CNN or MSNBC did

Confirmation of climate change:
Fox- 21%
CNN- 71%
MSNBC- 52%

Claimed that climate change is caused by humans:
Fox- 14%
CNN- 61%
MSNBC- 33%

Claimed that climate change was natural:
Fox- 29%
CNN- 3%

Featured guests on Fox:
Climate change believers- 39.6%
Climate change doubters- 46.3%
Undetermined- 14.1%

Featured guests on CNN:
Climate change believers- 77.4%
Climate change doubters- 17%
Undetermined- 5.7%

Featured guests on MSNBC
Climate change believers- 55%
Climate change doubters- 15%
No stance- 30%

Key takeaways: Out of the three sources, (Fox, CNN, and MSNBC) MSNBC is the place to go if you are looking for the least biased news on this particular issue. If you are reading to be able to engage in intelligent conversation about this topic, or any topic in general, it is best to read from several different sources to get the whole story

How to distinguish fake news

To review:

1. Research the source

2. Read beyond the headline before you trust what it is saying. Even legitimate news articles have flashy headlines that are meant to grab the reader’s attention.

3. Research the author or any awards the article claims they have won. Is this a real person? Did they actually accomplish what the source claims that they have?

4. Sometimes fake news cites real sources. It is important to look into these sources. First, you must make sure they are actually real sources. Second, you should make sure they actually back up the claims being made.

5. Check the date. Fake news often uses old sources and makes them seem relevant to today.

6. Check your bias. Just because something agrees or disagrees with your biases, does not automatically make it true or false.

7. Use fact checking sources. Snopes.com        FactCheck      Washington Post Fact Checker

Partisan Selective Exposure (PSE)

Partisan selective exposure occurs when people choose to only choose to consume news that supports their existing ideological views. This is a form of cognitive dissonance where people do not seek out sources that challenge their existing beliefs. Both the politically elite and the average person are found to have increased PSE since 2000. This was also found in both Democrats and Republicans, however, the most extreme increase was in the group that identified themselves as “extreme conservatives.” PSE is a problem because it leads to different factual beliefs, which makes it difficult for everyone to come together to reach a decision. In the past, PSE could have been a result of not having access to more that one source of news. Today, with the internet and other technology we have, this is not a factor.

To learn more go to: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3046927