Q. What are reliable sources for fact-checking and recognizing "fake news"?

Answered By: Kathryn Ray
Last Updated: Feb 04, 2020     Views: 205243

Honest Abe knows best:       

Fact Checking websites:

Ten fact- and bias-checking sites (Source: iste.org):

Fact Check. This nonpartisan, nonprofit project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by U.S. political players, including politicians, TV ads, debates, interviews and news releases.

Media Matters. This nonprofit and self-described liberal-leaning research center monitors and corrects conservative misinformation in the media.

NewsBusters. A project of the conservative Media Research Center with a right-wing bias, NewsBusters is focused on “documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias.”

Open Secrets. This nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit website run by the Center for Responsive Politics tracks how much and where candidates get their money.

Politifact. This Pulitzer Prize winning website rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials. Run by editors and reporters from the independent newspaper Tampa Bay Times, Politicfact features the Truth-O-Meter that rates statements as “True,” “Mostly True,” “Half True,” “False,” and “Pants on Fire.”

ProPublica. This independent, nonprofit newsroom has won several Pulitzer Prizes, including the 2016 Prize for Explanatory Reporting. ProPublica produces investigative journalism in the public interest.

Snopes. This independent, nonpartisan website run by professional researcher and writer David Mikkelson researches urban legends and other rumors. It is often the first to set the facts straight on wild fake news claims.

The Sunlight Foundation. This nonpartisan, nonprofit organization uses public policy data-based journalism to make politics more transparent and accountable.

Washington Post Fact Checker. Although the Washington Post has a left-center bias, its checks are excellent and sourced. The bias shows up because they fact check conservative claims more than liberal ones.

Websites also of interest:

AllSides. While not a fact-checking site, AllSides curates stories from right, center and left-leaning media so that readers can easily compare how bias influences reporting on each topic. 


Recommended guides at Harvard and Pace

Classroom exercises:

  • "Factitious" is a game developed at American University to evaluate the credibility of a news story
  • Four Moves” blog , created by Mike Caufield of Washington State University & Digital Polarization Initiative of the American Democracy Project, presents news stories that may or may not be real—students have to decide.

Podcasts, Videos and Webinars:

Why should we stop calling it "Fake News" Harvard Kennedy School PolicyCast

Fact or Fiction: What Will It Take To Combat Misinformation and Disinformation in the Digital Age? (newamerica.org)

Videos created by Mike Caufield to review his "Four Moves" 

Recommended Reading:

"Lateral Reading: Reading Less and Learning More When Evaluating Digital Information" Stanford History Education Group Working Paper No. 2017-A1 (Often referred to as the "Stanford Study," students, professional historians, and professional fact checkers were given “fake news” and legitimate news stories. The study found that students and historians sometimes couldn’t determine if a story was real or not. Professional fact checkers got it right 100% of the time.

Fake News. It’s Complicated.” First Draft, which is currently supported by the Knight Foundation, Google News Initiative, Facebook Journalism Project, and others, “undertakes practical journalism projects in the field, to research effective methods for tackling information disorder online” and has other interesting projects and articles on evaluating news sources

Web Literacy for Student Fact Checkers (e-book) by Mike Caufield outlines his "Four Moves"
How could deepfakes impact the 2020 U.S. elections?  Nieman Foundation discusses the ease with which a person can alter videos allowing users to make compelling video and audio clips of individuals doing and saying things they never did or said. 
We Tracked Down a Fake News-creator (2016) NPR report on tracking down and interviewing a fake news operation. 
GoodReads.com bibliography lists 90+ books on "Facts, Fake News, & Critical Literacy" with links to reviews.


Related Topics