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Fake News

Fake News is Bad! Here's How to Watch Out For It

GetNewsSmart: The News Literacy Basics Short Course

Welcome to GetNewsSmart!  This is the first page of the online prep course in News Literacy.Get Smart News logo.

6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Reading Online News

1. Who created this message? 

Was it created by an individual, a group, an organization, or a company?

2. Why was the message made? 

Is the message's purpose to inform? To entertain? To persuade? (Or some combination? Who's the message's intended audience?

3. Who paid (or is paying) for this message? 

Money motivates a lot of media—who paid to have this message made? What else have they paid for? What other agendas might they have?

4. How is the message trying to get your attention? 

What techniques are being used to grab people's attention?

5. What techniques are being used to keep people's attention?

Who's represented in the message? And who's missing? 

6. Whose points of view and values are represented (or being appealed to)?

Whose points of view and values are missing?



Bias is a way of thinking or writing in a certain way about the world. It strays from a neutral telling of events, or a neutral opinion, in to one that is influenced one way or another.

Media Bias

This can distort ability to weigh evidence in an objective manner and reaching a fair and accurate judgment. People can be biased and so can news sources.

How to spot media bias:

  • Look for evidence of unfairness towards something or someone in a pattern over time.
  • Compare several news sources covering the same thing, to see if any have left out details. This is bias by omission.
  • Take note if someone is claiming a source is biased - look in turn at that person's own biases and if they are trying to unfairly claim bias. This can be done to either influence people against the source, and/or to make them and their agenda look better. 

Types of Bias

Bias by Omission:  leaving one side out of an article, or a series of articles over a period of time; ignoring facts that tend to disprove liberal or conservative claims, or that support liberal or conservative beliefs.

Bias by LabelingBias by labeling comes in two forms.  The first is the tagging of conservative politicians and groups with extreme labels while leaving liberal politicians and groups unlabeled or with more mild labels, or vice versa.  The second kind of bias by labeling occurs when a reporter not only fails to identify a liberal as a liberal or a conservative as a conservative, but describes the person or group with positive labels, such as “an expert” or “independent consumer group.”

Bias by Placement:  is where on a website (or newspaper) or in an article a story or event is printed; a pattern of placing news stories so as to downplay information supportive of either conservative views or liberal views.

Bias by Selection of Sources:  including more sources that support one view over another.

Bias by Spin:  is a reporter’s subjective comments about objective facts; makes one side’s ideological perspective look better than another.

Bias by Story Selection:  a pattern of highlighting news stories that coincide with the agenda of either the Left or the Right, while ignoring stories that coincide with the opposing view.

Confirmation Bias:  also called confirmatory bias or my side bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.

Connotation: the emotional and imaginative association surrounding a word that can be either positive or negative.

Denotation: the strict dictionary meaning of the word.

Loaded Language (Words): (also known as loaded terms or emotive language) is wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes. Such wording is also known as high-inference language or language persuasive techniques.

Purr Words:  words used to describe something that is favored or loved.

Snarl Words: words used when describing something that a person is against or hates.

(Media Bias/Fact

What the...?!

Loch Ness Baby Weekly World News Headline.