Fake News

Don’t Be Fooled: Know Your Facts

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Your DGB for today is to take the Pew Research Center’s quiz on how well you can sort fact from opinion.

Contrary to what the GOP would like you to believe, all opinions are not created equal. Facts may be uncomfortable, they may be hard to face, but they have the benefit of being, well, true. The Trump regime’s constant barrage of false, ridiculous, and even bizarre assertions can warp your mind to the point that it becomes difficult to filter what is fact from what is… alternative. POTUS himself has repeated the lies that “Democrats are for open borders,” that Obama tore kids from their parents too, and that the special counsel’s investigation is a “WITCH HUNT” so many times that it makes our heads swim. But we know better, right? As the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

We want you to keep your mind sharp, so take the quiz and report back.  

 

Sinclair Broadcasting

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Your DGB for today is to check out this list of TV stations https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_stations_owned_or_operated_by_Sinclair_Broadcast_Group and if your local station turns out to be part of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, please boycott the hell out of it.

What is Sinclair Broadcast Group and why should you care? As is more and more common in this day and age, we must turn to comedy for the answer. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has a brilliant segment on the company that explains what you need to know. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvtNyOzGogc Basically, Sinclair is a right-leaning, pro-Trump outfit that owns an alarming number of local outlets, and it is sneakily inserting its agenda into TV news across the country. A deal in the works to merge with another broadcast group makes Sinclair more relevant - and dangerous - than ever. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/10/ready-for-trump-tv-inside-sinclair-broadcastings-plot-to-take-over-your-local-news-1/

Recently, Sinclair sent a script to its affiliates that it required newscasters to deliver. https://www.snopes.com/news/2017/07/11/sinclair-broadcast-group-propaganda/  The script has your local anchors delivering a speech that decries the current rise of “fake news” and vowing to offer a more balanced view. The trouble is, that what they are calling fake news is the same stuff Trump calls fake news. You know - FACTS. This mandatory announcement sounds okay on the surface, but actually signals a sort of Trumpist “both-sides-ism.” And as we all know, sometimes there really AREN’T good people on both sides.

So we’re asking you to boycott these Sinclair-owned stations. Let them know you won’t be watching, and why. If your market has a competitor, give them some love. And share your actions on social media.

Bad News

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Your DGB for today is to play a game designed to inoculate your brain against fake news.

Of all the modern social plagues currently being visited upon humanity there are few as destructive as fake news. Whether it be influencing elections, industry, government or communities, the perpetrators of these stories prey upon the parts of the human brain that make it difficult for even the smartest and most educated to combat. So what is the average person to do?

Thankfully Cambridge University has stepped up to help save the world from the grip of this scourge. Play the Bad News game here and train your brain to stop a fake story before it infects your mind: https://www.getbadnews.com/#next

Grab back and prevent the spread of fake news!

 

 

Rachel Maddow and the Fake News That Almost Was

Your DGB for today is to watch this 21 minute clip from a recent episode of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show and then share it via social media.

On the July 6th episode of her show, Maddow describes how a “carefully forged” top secret NSA document was sent in to her tip-line website that seems to be a big, juicy scoop about who in the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to hack the 2016 elections. She outlines why she and her staff believe it is a fake, and she explains why someone might want her show to run this story, based on a ginned-up NSA document. Maddow believes that someone [insert chin rubbing emoji here] wants to discredit her show and the media in general as it pertains to the Russian election-meddling AND possible collusion by the Trump campaign in that effort.

After you’ve watched the clip and shared it far and wide, go ahead and tell Rachel what a great job she’s doing. The lady has been on FIRE since the election and we should tell her so: @Maddow on Twitter, rachel@msnbc.com via email, or:

 

The Rachel Maddow Show

Floor 4 West

30 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, NY 10112

(don’t forget we have downloadable postcards if you go the postal route)

 

Rachel wants other news organizations to be on the look-out for similar attempts to trick the media into reporting on false stories. And we want YOU to watch so that you can better understand what the media is up against when it comes to reporting on this administration. Now that it’s clear President Twitterthumbs has help in his campaign to discredit the press, we all need to be more awake than ever.  

 

News Literacy

Your DGB for today is to promote programs like The News Literacy Project and to brush up on your own fake news spotting skills.

Fake news has been a hot topic lately. Trump and his supporters tend to shout “FAKE NEWS” about any news story that doesn’t fit with their warped ideas of how the world works. Check any comments section on a story about Trump’s presidency and possible downfall and you’ll see numerous dismissals of the “fake news”. Here are some actual comments from Facebook on a CNN article about Trump attempting to compromise Comey:

 

This obsession about the alledged (sic) Trump's ties with Russia can only be explained as a paranoia.USA is obviously in a state of internal conflict and this will not be solved easy.The Russian card is a pure propaganda.”

 

“CNN and MSNBC have declared war on our duly elected President. Who else's thinks it's time to start using social and mainstream media to identify seditious activity and start filling up the FEMA camps?“

 

“Says who? Another fake unnamed source! CNN and their destroy America, destroy the first and second amendment, destroy our constitution, destroy the electoral college via their brainwashed cult followers!!”

 

These comments are why we HATE reading comments sections. There were hundreds more like this and that’s a huge problem. Many people just don’t know how to spot fake news anymore and when actual news breaks, they claim it’s fake because it doesn’t fit the narrative that has been fed to them by websites like Breitbart.

This is where The News Literacy Project comes in. NLP aims to teach middle and high school students how to spot fake news, be informed and engaged citizens, and encourages them to share and produce their own fair, accurate, and responsible news content. We encourage you to reach out to local schools and ask that they work NLP into their curriculum, either by offering an after school program or a classroom or virtual classroom program. You can also donate and support them on their website linked above. Fake news is an issue for both parties, and now more than ever it is important to learn how to spot it. We want you to check out FactCheck.org’s article on how to spot fake news. It gives important tips like checking the source, reading beyond the headline, and checking the date.

We don’t want you to be embarrassed by accidentally sharing an Onion piece thinking it’s real news and we definitely don’t want you sharing a fake news story that is not only false, but can put people’s lives at risk like Pizzagate. Combat the assault on accurate journalism and learn how to spot fake news.

 

“I like big butts and I cannot lie.” -Thoreau

Your DGB for today is to take a short quiz on spotting fake quotations.

Fake or falsely attributed quotations are prevalent in politics on BOTH the right and left sides of the aisle.

As much as we want that Trump quote to be true, it’s not, and integrity is more important than schadenfreude, especially in the age of fake news and a Pathological Liar-In-Chief.

Sure, attribution of obscure quotations is a bit snobby and probably won’t make or break your success in life, but we do need to practice critical reading every chance we can get.

 

 

Fight Fake News on Facebook

One of the most damaging aspects to appear in the 2016 election cycles is the rise and dominance of fake news on the internet. Your DGB for today is to get started fighting these fake news stories and stop them from spreading around and becoming “fact” to many people. Report as many fake news posts as you have time for, but we ask that you report at least one. Let’s work together to cut off the views and revenue to these unethical sites and stifle the damage they cause. First, take a minute to read one or both of these stories on spotting fake news:

 

WaPo

 

CNN

 

Now follow these steps:

  1. Go here and find some of the bad actors from the site linked above.

  2. In the upper right dropdown arrow menu of a post, select “report post”

  3. Select “I think it shouldn’t be on facebook”

  4. Select “it’s a false news story”

  5. Select “hide all from (poster)”

 

There are different flavors of sensationalized news, from pure fakes to merely partisan news on both sides of the aisle. Today, we ask you to find the fakes and Grab Back.