Be Bold Tool Box Strategy #3

Keep/Stops/Starts to Combat Fake News

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (excerpt):

This article is about the type of hoax. For the online type and the websites that specialize in it, see Fake news website. For other uses, see Fake news (disambiguation).

Fake news or junk news or pseudo-news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media.[1][2] The false information is often caused by reporters paying sources for stories, an unethical practice called checkbook journalism. Digital news has brought back and increased the usage of fake news, or yellow journalism.[3] The news is then often reverberated as misinformation in social media but occasionally finds its way to the mainstream media as well.[4]

Fake news is written and published usually with the intent to mislead in order to damage an agency, entity, or person, and/or gain financially or politically,[5][6][7] often using sensationalist, dishonest, or outright fabricated headlines to increase readership. Similarly, clickbait stories and headlines earn advertising revenue from this activity.[5]

The relevance of fake news has increased in post-truth politics. For media outlets, the ability to attract viewers to their websites is necessary to generate online advertising revenue. Publishing a story with false content that attracts users benefits advertisers and improves ratings. Easy access to online advertisement revenue, increased political polarization, and the popularity of social media, primarily the Facebook News Feed,[1] have all been implicated in the spread of fake news,[5][8] which competes with legitimate news stories. Hostile government actors have also been implicated in generating and propagating fake news, particularly during elections.[9]

Fake news undermines serious media coverage and makes it more difficult for journalists to cover significant news stories.[11] An analysis by BuzzFeed found that the top 20 fake news stories about the 2016 U.S. presidential election received more engagement on Facebook than the top 20 election stories from 19 major media outlets.[12] Anonymously-hosted fake news websites[1] lacking known publishers have also been criticized, because they make it difficult to prosecute sources of fake news for libel.[13]

Axios article link: “4 Ways to Fix Fake News”:

From Jessica Goodman, Reginal Manager, Santa Cruz Public Libraries:


Reading & supporting reputable journalism.

Many newspapers & magazines are free to you with your library card, whether in print at your local library or accessible online through the library’s subscriptions.

Find them under “Research” on the library website


Using fact checking tools to verify information and understand biases of different sources:

Flagging fake news when possible.

For example, on Facebook posts you can click the 3 dots to provide feedback and mark a post as fake news.

Having conversations with people in your community who have different points of view. For example, attend a “Conversation for Change” at the library (more info on the library website’s calendar of events)

Read articles from reputable sources that have a different point of view than your own.


Slow down & stop impulse sharing articles without evaluating whether they are fake news. Similarly, stop sharing articles without reading beyond the headlines.

From John Pettus, Founder and CEO of Fiskkit:

  1. Keep your [constructive] moral outrage. People make money off of keeping the population outraged, but the one part you should NOT lose is your sense of right and wrong. We have to return to a time when unlawful and immoral behavior was punished. That requires us not to accept that “that’s just how it is now.” Only if we let it be.
  2. Stop characterizing what the other side says. Don’t do it. Because you almost certainly can’t or won’t do it honestly, so don’t do it. We wind up making what are called “straw man arguments” where we set up a weak/fake version of the other side so we can knock it down or be outraged by it. This is for discourse purposes. You can and should try to understand what the other side believes. But you should not try to represent their side of an argument.
  3. START participating in public discourse. Totally unintuitive, because it seems like a cesspool and nobody’s mind gets changed. Seems like a waste of time. But two reasons to get involved.
  4. People’s minds DO get changed – both casual citizens, but also young people who are learning and deciding what to believe.
  5. Who you are and what you do during this period of American history will DEFINE your values. When we were in school and we heard about slavery or the holocaust or Jim Crow we all thought, “If I were there, I would have stood up for what was right.” But most people didn’t, in all of those cases. I believe this is another one of those historical periods – a historic moral abomination in our country’s history – and at the end of each of our lives we’ll know if we stood against it or were “just too busy” with our own lives.

From Jill Cody, “Be Bold America!” producer and host:

KEEP your head! Don’t let yourself be manipulated by fear and anger (see Be Bold Tool Box strategy #1).

STOP long enough on a website to research staff and/or board of directors. If the site doesn’t contain a list, then it is suspect. If it does have a list, then check out who they are a little. When I did this for a recycled paper certification I saw on a ream of paper, I was three clicks away from buying a gun. I realized it wasn’t a neutral certification, it was from the lumber industry, an astroturf association.

START looking for more strategies such as those at Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA: Many library systems and universities have tips on their websites.