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Bias, Fake News, Hoaxes, & Lies

Strategies and guidelines for detecting bias, lies, fake news, misinformation, propaganda. Don't be fooled!

Error is everywhere

The responsibility for detecting and avoiding error lies with the reader, the consumer, the receiver, the end-user of the information, and that's you. You are responsible for the information that you decide to use in your assignments, and in your life.

There are some strategies that can be applied, and some guidelines that can be followed, to protect yourself from the negative impacts of error on yourself or on your work products or assignments. This guide presents some strategies and other useful tips. Remember that although error is everywhere, so is truth.

What is Fake News?

Check your bias

Is bias inherently bad? or wrong? Can we say that because a source (or a person) exhibits or expresses a bias, that their views are incorrect? What about our own bias? Are you aware of what your biases are? These sources can help you learn about bias, how to detect it in yourself or in others or in your sources, and how bias may or may not influence accuracy.

Best Advice

My best advice based on years of helping students and beginning researchers, is to learn how to

  • QUESTION EVERYTHING
  • READ or LISTEN
  • WAIT and THINK it over
  • SEEK OUT opposing as well as supporting evidence, analysis, information
  • RESPOND instead of REACT
  • BE WILLING to consider that you might be WRONG

Learn how to make up your mind, or form an opinion, only after you have collected evidence, facts, experience, ideas and opinions of others, and reviewed both sides, or available perspectives of the issue or problem. Listen to those who have different ideas and opinions.

Be aware of your emotions, especially anxiety, fear, or anger, that may affect the formation of your opinion. Learn to set your emotions aside.

Consider all perspectives or viewpoints with equal respect. Respect your own beliefs, but also respect those of others, making an effort to learn and to understand. Sometimes it's helpful to argue with yourself, and to argue the "other side" of an issue.

Remember that BELIEF and REASON are complementary functions that should balance each other. The HEART and the MIND are useful metaphors, we all have experienced situations where those two were in sync- and also when they were in conflict.