Fake News

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Fake news is a prominent topic - which surfaced to the fore in a major way in Amarican politics during the 2020 election, if not earlier.

It is important to keep one's mental hygiene, and part of that is not believing everything on the internet. To that end, it is important to distinguish between fake news and real news.

Author's note: I have now personally seen fake news as comments on OSE YouTube, and in personal communications from conspiracy theorists - tangibly more visible in 2020 than at any time before. This prompted me to find out more about fake news and I'm sharing my findings here to help others navigate fact and fiction.

Some basics to consider for assessing news rationally are:

  1. What is the source? What level of bias in either direction does it have? Start with https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/ to assess which direction any outlet leans. There are other resources at https://www.huffpost.com/entry/fake-news-guide-facebook_n_5831c6aae4b058ce7aaba169?section=politics. Check out the process used at https://www.factcheck.org/our-process/
  2. What is the date? Is it an old recucled story that passes as new?
  3. What is the source of the images? You can use Google's https://tineye.com/ to determine that, or use another software, Berify.
  4. Consideration of basic principles of General Semantics - namely 'the map is not the territory' - what appears to be is not necessarily so. Self-Determination Theory, peak performance and Flow give insights into peoples' motivations, and how they are influenced by stress. It is also important to recognize mechanisms of progaganda or group psychology, such as discussed in Political Ponerology, or Edward Bernay's work from the dark side, Propaganda.


  • How to talk to a family member who subscribes to conspiracy theories - [1]
  • Interesting FactCheck.org - make it a daily show to emphasize accurate information? [2]