Fact From Fiction

Confirmation Bias

 

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Useful Terms

Fake News: Sources that intentionally fabricate information, disseminate deceptive content, or grossly distort actual news reports.

Satire: Sources that use humor, irony, exaggeration, ridicule, and false information to comment on current events.

Bias: Sources that come from a particular point of view and may rely on propaganda, decontextualized information, and opinions distorted as facts.

Rumor Mill: Sources that traffic in rumors, gossip, innuendo, and unverified claims.

Confirmation Bias: Confirmation bias refers to processing information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one's existing beliefs. This biased approach to decision making is largely unintentional and often results in ignoring inconsistent information. Existing beliefs can include one's expectations in a given situation and predictions about a particular outcome.

Junk Science: Sources that promote pseudoscience, metaphysics, naturalistic fallacies, and other scientifically dubious claims.

Clickbait: A strategically placed hyperlink designed to drive traffic to sources that provide generally credible content, but use exaggerated, misleading, or questionable headlines, social media descriptions, and/or images.

Getting Started

IFLA

Misinformation and Disinformation (other types of "fake news")

The universe of “fake news” is much larger than simply false news stories. Some stories may have a nugget of truth, but lack any contextualizing details. They may not include any verifiable facts or sources. They may use statistics in an incorrect or misleading manner.  Some stories may include basic verifiable facts, but are written using language that is deliberately inflammatory, leaves out pertinent details or only presents one viewpoint (bias). "Fake news" exists within a larger ecosystem of mis- and disinformation.

Misinformation is false or inaccurate information that is mistakenly or inadvertently created or spread, and social media has made this easier than ever to do. Disinformation is false information that is deliberately created and spread "in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth" (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disinformation).

Claire Wardle of FirstDraftNews.com has created the helpful visual image below to help us think about the ecosystem of mis- and disinformation. And as she points out, "it's complicated."

Fact Checking Sites

Fact-checking websites can help you investigate claims to help you determine whether what you hear or read is true. These resources can help you determine the legitimacy of a claim, but even fact-checking websites should be examined critically.

Snopes.com
This site, which has operated since 1995, fact-checks urban legends, rumors, and news.

FactCheck.org
A project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center that checks the accuracy of political statements, news, and claims.

PolitiFact
Run by the Tampa Bay Times (which is owned by journalism school the Poynter Institute), this site checks and ranks political claims.

Media Bias/Fact Check
Aims to call biased or deceptive news and media practices.

Washington Post Fact Checker
Fact checks political and governmental topics.

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