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Controversy and Opinion: Fact or Fiction?

Pro/Con, commentary, controversy, opinion, and issues.

The Problem

Most Americans Who See Fake News Believe It, New Survey Says

The new data comes from an online survey of 3,015 U.S. adults conducted between November 28 and December 1, 2016.  Read about the study conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for BuzzFeed News. A detailed summary of results to all questions can be found here.  

Case Studies in Fake News

Suggested Books

How to Spot Fake News

How to Spot Fake News

Image Source: "How to Spot Fake News" by IFLA is CC BY 4.0

Assignment Ideas

  • Do a "claim check."  Identify a claim from a website or news story like "red wine prevents cancer." Find at least three articles to substantiate or refute the claim or provide deeper analysis of the claim. See if the articles cite their sources. 
  • Evaluate news sites with this worksheet.
  • Complete an analysis of a news article using this news literacy guide and exercise.

Self Study

Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data
A course taught at the University of Washington in Spring 2017 by Dr. Carl Bergstrom (Biology Department) and Dr. Jevin West (Information School)

Questions to Ask

  • Have I read at least three different articles about this topic? Do the facts match up in each article
  • Does this article indicate its sources: are there quotes from eyewitnesses, subject experts, elected officials, or policy makers?
  • What kind of information source is this: breaking news? Commentary on an event? Opinion or analysis?
  • When was this published?
  • Who is the publisher? What is their publication track record?

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