Checking for the Truth of ThingsNov 27, 2022
We all know that what we read on the news isn't always the truth. But unfortunately, many people don't take the time to fact-check and get to the real story behind things. This can be very dangerous, especially in today's society, where fake news is everywhere. This blog post will discuss tips for checking for the truth and getting to the bottom of what's happening.
Don't be a victim of fake news.
News and information spread much faster nowadays. The Internet, social media, and technology have made this possible. Technological advancements have also enabled people from all walks of life to post information, be the author or source of whatever they like to share and let others read them. However, the ease with which new information can be created and spread can make it overwhelming to verify whether you are reading the truth. Some post information to earn clicks and boost their reputation, even if what is posted is not valid or unreliable. People can also hide their true identities through usernames or fake names, so verifying the authenticity of sources is difficult. Information can also get modified along the way as it gets passed from one person to another.
Fake news has become a phenomenon in our current times. It is a deceitful way of communication and can manipulate people to do the bidding of others. It is also a problem that some people won't bother to do fact-checking to verify news sources and see if they are true or not. Getting to the truth behind things is essential so we won't get deceived or manipulated by a fake news story or whatever falsified information we may encounter. However, one can do some things to help get to the bottom of things and check if your reading is accurate.
1. Don't just read the headlines
Most information or articles we see will have a headline, which is the first thing that will catch readers' attention. So author and publishers will do their best to write a catchy headline that will get people's attention. However, headlines can be misleading. What they say can differ from what is in the article's content. But, of course, a headline's job is to catch attention; to inform is probably just secondary. And then, people who are in a rush or have a short attention span may just read the headline and take it as it is. To get more information and verify the accuracy of what somebody reads, it is essential that one at least reads up until the introductory paragraph, or better yet, read the entire article if possible, to digest what the article is talking about and see if it is accurate.
2. Check the publisher
Publishers refer to the organization or website that puts the content you read out there. They can edit and revise various authors' articles and regulate what gets published. As such, changes may be made in the author's article, which may not be what the author stated. It is essential to check the credibility and reputation of publishers as they can affect the accuracy and quality of what you read. No problem when what you read comes from reputable and trustworthy publishers; it's another story if the information you read comes from sketchy publishers who may be biased or publish click bait articles.
3. Check the author
Aside from the publisher, you can also check the reputation and credibility of an article's author. Check if they are trustworthy and objective when writing their articles. Just because an author is well-known doesn't mean what they write will automatically be trustworthy. It is essential to get an idea of how an author writes their articles and a history of what they have written. Check other people's views about the author to see if they are credible.
4. Check the sources
Reputable articles will have references to cite where they got their information from and thus making them more credible. The same thing also happens for online articles and information that cite their sources and can be in the form of hyperlinks. You can always check the references and links to see if what is being said in the article is true and accurate.
It is a different story for information that is not as lengthy and cited as well-curated articles, such as those posted by people on social media or passed by word-of-mouth. Sure, people can say they got their sources from something or somewhere that is trustworthy, but it may not be easy to track down such sources compared to well-referenced articles. Still, you can always check the references of various information to see if your readings are accurate, and don't just believe what you read if you have doubts.
5. Check for bias
While reading something, you may want to check for any bias in how facts are stated and if the writer is leaning towards one particular side of something. The problem with media bias is that points may get distorted, and the whole story may not get depicted correctly. If you notice what you are reading is leaning heavily towards one side, and you want the complete truth about something, you can be better off finding an article that is objective and simply stating facts as they happened.
6. Compare with other articles
Suppose you have doubts about the accuracy and truthfulness of your reading. In that case, you may want to find other articles or information that tell the same information and see if they are consistent and identical in telling facts. If what you are reading paints a different picture from what other articles say, you may want to verify sources and check if others articles are instead telling the truth. Check more reputable websites and sources of information, or go to fact-checking websites to see if your reading is accurate. If the information you got is hearsay from somebody, ask others to check if the information is correct.
7. Develop critical thinking
With the proliferation of fake news and other information that can be manipulative, you can't help but doubt first whether what you are reading is accurate and the truth. Practically anybody can create and post anything nowadays. With many sources of information, it's not just those in the journalism field now that have the authority to write and publish articles. What somebody says can now be news to somebody else. Lies and fiction can exist among all the information presented to us, so it is vital not to believe everything immediately the first time you read about something. Not to be a total skeptic about everything, but it's good to develop a critical mindset. Critical thinking can help us differentiate the truth from fiction. When something sounds suspicious or suggestive, it's better to check claims and see whether what you are reading is just rumors or facts.
The truth lies out there.
Finding the truth behind what we read may seem like a job for detectives, researchers, or investigative journalists. However, even as ordinary people, we can do our best to become fact-checkers and see if what we read is just urban legends or ridiculous falsehoods. After all, those who don't have a critical eye and mind become targets of dubious information and news. Authors and perpetrators of such falsehoods know that people will bite into deceptive news practices and can be manipulated to favor somebody else's interests. Not that everybody is a manipulator; it's just that there are people like that, and in the digital age, it's easy to spread information and make people believe it. We can be the judge of what we read and choose to dig deeper if we want to know the truth.