I've heard the laments lately, "You can't believe anything anymore," "It's hard to know what's true," or "That's probably fake news anyway." These are coming up now because of frustrations over the highly charged partisan climate of the 2016 election campaigns. However, propaganda, misinformation and sensationalized stories are not new. Neither is the ultimate defense against any kind of fakery:
That's it. Read with a critical mind, ready to scrutinize reports before giving them any credence. The next page, Questions, gives some tips that can be especially helpful when reading purported news reports you will see on social media or other places on the internet.
Remember, too, that all news has context. The information below can help you understand news reporting as a community of professional practice, and the media and forms in which public discourse takes place.
We should note that fake news is only a part of a much larger landscape of news and political media and conversation. As in any landscape, the parts vary from each 0ther and cannot be seen as equal or equivalent to each other. This does not necessarily mean one source is better or superior; it means that we must consider the purpose of the source and our use of it before we pass judgment.