The first lesson that I try to teach my students when spotting sketchy news stories is that their common sense is the most powerful tool that they have for fighting back against misinformation on the web. If a story just doesn’t seem plausible, it’s probably fake — and the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of fake news stories really ARE that easy to spot. People with good common sense don’t get fooled very often — as long as they are willing to trust their intuition.
Try that with two recent headlines on Horner’s fake ABC News website: Obama Signs Executive Order Banning National Anthem at All Sporting Events and Obama Signs Executive Order Banning Pledge of Allegience from All Schools Nationwide. Do either of those headlines seem even a little bit believable? Would a person who served as President of our country REALLY want to ban things like the National Anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance? No matter what you think about the people or parties leading our nation, chances are that they care enough about our country to protect our national symbols. That’s just common sense.
And double-checking your common sense is super easy: Just take questionable headlines and drop them into Google. In most cases — including the notion that Obama is banning the Pledge of Allegiance — you’ll see that reliable sites like Snopes and FactCheck.Org that are committed to debunking lies on the Internet have already reviewed the claims in question.
READ MORE from Ferriter on how to help students (and anyone) spot fake news.
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