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What is “fake news” and how can you stop it?


DETROIT (WXYZ) – Fake news. It creates confusion and makes it difficult for people to share a common reality.

It’s a phrase yelled at at legitimate reporters. It was used as a weapon against our country. It even got a WXYZ TV team member in the middle of a trumped-up election fraud scandal.

The fictional scandal began with a video that has now been seen by millions of people around the world. It shows a man who rolls a cart with a suitcase into the TCF Center in Detroit after the election.

The Texas Scorecard website posted the video and said it was taped by Kellye SoRelle, a Texas attorney and member of Lawyers for Trump.

“Where does this guy come from in the middle of the night?” Asks a voice in the video.

When interviewed by conservative YouTuber Steven Crowder, SoRelle implied that the video showed a man smuggling ballots long after all of the ballots were supposed to have arrived at the TCF Center.

“I get in the car and see him drop the box. And we’d worked at polling stations that night. And it was similar to boxes that we had seen and observed and monitored, ”said Sorelle in the interview.

“If the lady had just rolled down the window and said what’s in the box, I would have told her it was batteries,” said veteran WXYZ photojournalist Josh Bowren.

Bowren soon became the subject of a fake news viral story. He was shocked that he was only attacked by innocently installing new camera batteries.

WXYZ worked quickly to raise awareness of the disinformation, reported it and contacted some of the first to share it. The video stays everywhere on the internet. Even Eric Trump shared the video.

“It was very sad for me. It was very sad that someone in such a high position and with high power was just reposting that, ”said Bowren.

“We should all feel responsible for sharing accurate, fact-based information,” said Jennifer Kavanagh, senior political scientist at RAND Corporation and a co-author of Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life .

Truth Decay explores how people need facts to make the best decisions for themselves and their country. At the same time, the blurring of the lines between opinions, interpretations, and facts leads to disagreements about facts.

Truth Decay defines fake news as newspaper articles, television news broadcasts, or other information that is broadcast over the air or on social media that is intentionally based on falsehood or that intentionally uses misleading framing to offer distorted information that is broadcast over the air or social media and that is purposely are based on falsehoods or that intentionally use misleading frames to offer a skewed narrative.

Defining it helps facilitate conversation, but we know that a 2017 Gallup / Knight Foundation survey on trust, media and democracy found that “fake news” means different things to different people.

Truth Decay defines other phrases that are important and empower people to constructively criticize information they see, such as misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda.

Disinformation and propaganda, like fake news, are false or misleading information that is deliberately disseminated.

Misinformation is misleading information that is accidentally or accidentally distributed.

Truth Decay examines how technology has improved access to data that enables us to determine facts exponentially. At the same time, the technology enables anyone to become a source of “news” information on their social media pages.

The data shows that social media helps spread fake news and disinformation in some ways faster than real information. Truth Decay said that “fake news” sites get about four times as much of their traffic from social media compared to “real news” sites.

“I think it’s important to approach everything with skepticism. You want to be convinced. But not cynical. There are certainly actors who try to mislead us and divide us, but there are also people who try to give us good information, ”said Kavanagh.

So how do you fight fake news?

  1. Look for journalists you can trust. Share your work.
  2. If something triggers a strong emotion in you, check it out.
  3. If you are unsure or if you know something is wrong, don’t share it on your social media page.

“We all get a platform and that comes with responsibility. We need to think about what you share, ”said Kavanagh.


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