Help Combat Harmful Fake Santa Monica College Fox
Select a major news event to examine. It should be an event with plenty of coverage from many different perspectives. Research at least five different news stories of this event, looking for some stories from reputable news organizations, like the New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian, and some from less reputable organizations or Web sites. Take notes about your research and your initial impressions.
Now dig in to the five news stories you selected. What similarities and differences do you see as you analyze the stories? Do you see any patterns across the stories? How easy is it for you to determine which articles are reputable and which are fake news?
In stage three of the critical process, interpret the patterns that came out during the analysis stage. What story or stories are the reputable news organizations telling? Why?
Think about the “fake” news stories you found during your research. Are they telling a similar story or many different stories? What is the motivation of specific news organizations or Web sites framing the story the way they did? Are they trying to be funny? Trying to influence a certain political group? Or, trying to just confuse the news audience?
In the evaluation stage, take all the work you did in the first three stages and make informed judgments. Consider the fake news stories you’ve read and the motivation behind each story. What category of fake news does each fall into (satirists, hoaxes and hucksters, opinion entrepreneurs, propagandists, or information anarchists)? Based on the category, how harmful might these particular news stories be to democracy? Why?
The fifth stage of the critical process encourages you to take action and use your voice for change. Using the knowledge you’ve gained during this activity, what can you do to help combat harmful fake news? Could you write a letter to the editor of a fake news site describing the research you have compiled against their argument? Or a letter to the editor of a great publication thanking them for telling the whole story? Could you spread awareness on social media, encouraging others to think critically about the type of news they’re consuming? What other ideas do you have?