The Dundalk Eagle

How to not let ‘fake news’ fake you out

Dun­dalk High Class of 1980 finds bright spot in 2020

- By DAVID DOZIER Social Media · United States of America · Donald Trump · Hillary Clinton · Facebook · San Diego State University · San Diego · California

The term “fake news” gained trac­tion dur­ing the 2016 U. S. pres­i­den­tial race be­tween Don­ald Trump and Hil­lary Clin­ton, and it has since be­come a fa­mil­iar phrase in the Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal ver­nac­u­lar.

Could fake news fac­tor into the cur­rent pres­i­den­tial elec­tion sea­son? The QAnon move­ment has been seen by some media and po­lit­i­cal ob­servers as an ex­am­ple of a po­lit­i­cal­ly­driven group pro­mot­ing fake news. De­spite a lack of ev­i­dence to sup­port their be­liefs, fol­low­ers of the QAnon move­ment be­lieve that Pres­i­dent Trump is fight­ing a satanic deep state of global elites. Face­book booted ac­counts pro­mot­ing QAnon.

David Dozier (www.DavidDozie­rBooks.com), a pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus in the School of Jour­nal­ism & Media Stud­ies at San Diego State Univer­sity and au­thor of The Cal­i­for­nia Killing Field, thinks QAnon’s ori­gins and emer­gence into na­tional news cy­cles sym­bol­izes the in­tent of fake news: to in­flu­ence voters.

“We live in a world where it’s hard to be­lieve al­most any­thing you see re­lated to pol­i­tics on so­cial media, and some­times in the main­stream media as well,” Dozier says. “Our demo­cratic process for elect­ing po­lit­i­cal lead­ers has suf­fered great harm due to th­ese dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns.

“Fake news is def­i­nitely an is­sue head­ing into this crit­i­cal pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. QAnon is the lat­est ex­am­ple of how con­spir­acy the­o­ries on the in­ter­net can gain trac­tion and build fol­low­ings.”

Re­searchers have sug­gested that false in­for­ma­tion pre­sented as news fu­els public dis­trust of po­lit­i­cal lead­ers and the media, in­flu­ences peo­ple’s at­ti­tudes, and dam­ages democ­racy.

“We’ve never been more po­lar­ized as a coun­try, and fake news is di­vid­ing us fur­ther,” Dozier says. “It’s be­come a phe­nom­e­non, but peo­ple still have the power to sort the true from the false.”

Dozier sug­gests th­ese ways to spot fake news:

* Don’t fall into the bias trap. Peo­ple can fall prey to con­fir­ma­tion bias, a ten­dency to fa­vor in­for­ma­tion that con­firms or sup­ports one’s prior be­liefs or val­ues. “Re­gard­less of where you fall on the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum,” Dozier says, “peo­ple lend more cre­dence to in­for­ma­tion that re­in­forces what they al­ready be­lieve. To coun­ter­act the con­fir­ma­tion bias trap, try chang­ing your per­spec­tive by tak­ing the other side of the ar­gu­ment. Over­all, be skep­ti­cal and think crit­i­cally.”

* Pause be­fore you share or retweet. “Some peo­ple have an emo­tional re­ac­tion to a piece of news and think they should share it,” Dozier says. “But it’s im­por­tant to know that the peo­ple who cre­ate dis­in­for­ma­tion are de­sign­ing it to do just that – trig­ger an emo­tional re­ac­tion. So wait and ask ques­tions about the con­tent. Who shared it or cre­ated it? Why was this shared? Do some in­ves­ti­gat­ing.”

* Go straight to the source. “The al­go­rithms used by so­cial media and news ag­gre­ga­tor sites are de­signed to make sure we see sto­ries geared to our in­ter­ests,” Dozier says. “This makes it harder to iden­tify if a story is real or fake, and who cre­ated it. In­stead of fol­low­ing a link from the out­let that shows up on your so­cial media, go on­line and head straight to the source. In­spect the poster’s pro­file and their post his­tory. See if the poster has af­fil­i­a­tions that are in line with spread­ing a cer­tain point of view.”

* In­spect the con­tent the ac­count posted. Con­duct­ing a re­verse image search can make it eas­ier to au­then­ti­cate an image by finding its source. “Fake news/ dis­in­for­ma­tion of­ten uses old im­ages,” Dozier says. “With a re­verse image search, you can search for pre­vi­ous in­stances of an image that ap­pears on­line and to find if the image used is from a dif­fer­ent story. You can also re­verse image search the pro­file picture to see if that picture or sim­i­lar pho­tos are be­ing used on other ac­counts. That’s a com­mon prac­tice to cre­ate fake per­sonas on­line.

“Get­ting to the facts is get­ting more dif­fi­cult,” Dozier says. “We have tons of in­for­ma­tion com­ing at us from all an­gles and plat­forms. It’s more im­por­tant than ever to think for our­selves.”

 ??  ?? It took some do­ing, but the Dun­dalk High Class of 1980 man­aged to hold it’s 40-year re­u­nion on Sept. 12 at the Spar­rows Point Coun­try Club dur­ing this tu­mul­tuous year of 2020. About 80 grad­u­ates and guests at­tended the event and en­joyed an evening of catch­ing up with old class­mates. We took our masks off for the group pic. Hon­est.
It took some do­ing, but the Dun­dalk High Class of 1980 man­aged to hold it’s 40-year re­u­nion on Sept. 12 at the Spar­rows Point Coun­try Club dur­ing this tu­mul­tuous year of 2020. About 80 grad­u­ates and guests at­tended the event and en­joyed an evening of catch­ing up with old class­mates. We took our masks off for the group pic. Hon­est.

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