Read Fact-checking in the Age of Trumpism, a concise primer by Laura M. Browning, creator of the One Small Thing newsletter.
Just after the election ended, much was made of an NPR interview with an admitted purveyor of fake news (by which we mean stories deliberately made up to get clicks and earn ad revenue) who claimed that while right-wing folks swallowed any article that reinforced what they already thought about Hillary Clinton, no matter how ludicrous, left-leaning folks never seemed to fall for fake news focused on Trump.
Specifically, he said: “We’ve tried to do similar things to liberals. It just has never worked, it never takes off. You’ll get debunked within the first two comments and then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out.”
What’s our point? Don’t get cocky. You might have rudimentary skills for spotting and rejecting fake news, but you’re vulnerable to believing things you’d like to be true, but aren’t. You need to hone and maintain your bullshit detector if you want it to work properly.
Laura M. Browning, she of the One Small Thing newsletter, wrote Fact-checking in the Age of Trumpism for a January presentation about how to spot and avoid fake news. It’s not about fact-checking Trump or your MAGA-spouting uncle. It’s about controlling and cultivating your news feed and keeping it free of garbage.
Also, pay special attention to the paragraph about checking your emotions. Does this news flatter your worldview? That’s all the more reason to kick it, pinch it, and generally jump up and down on it to make sure it’s solid before you retweet and repost it and tell friends about it.
Browning’s primer is the difference between eating a free fish lunch and learning to fish. It’s a must-read any day of the year, and doubly so on April Fool’s Day.
Read Fact-checking in the Age of Trumpism:
Sign up for Browning’s newsletter, One Small Thing:
Follow Browning on Twitter:
Read that NPR interview with the creator of fake news who claimed that left-leaning readers were harder to trick:
And for the sake of it, here’s a link to Snopes:
…and a link to Politifact. Browning recommends both sites for fact-checking: