Fake news is "a work of fiction that is presented as a factual news story, often with the intent of deceiving the reader into believing it is factual and enticing them to share it."
Media bias is "a way of reporting on a factual news story that is designed to sway a reader toward a specific conclusion."
"Media bias refers to the media exhibiting an unjustifiable favoritism as they cover the news. When the media transmit biased news reports, those reports present viewers with an inaccurate, unbalanced, and/or unfair view of the world around them."
"Media bias differs from fake news because the underlying facts are true but may be presented selectively or misleadingly to encourage the reader to think a particular way."
Think you can tell the difference between fake news and real news...test your skills, take the quiz.
Satire or Parody - no intention to cause harm but the potential to fool someone
Misleading Content - misleading use of information to frame an issue, person or group
Imposter Content - when genuine sources are impersonated
Fabricated Content - content is completely false and the intention is to deceive or cause harm
False Connection - when headlines, visuals or captions do not support content
False Context - when genuine content is shared with false contextual information
Manipulated Content - when genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive
Consider the source
Read beyond the headline
Check the author/author's credibility
What is the support/source
Check the date
Is it a joke, parody, satire
Check for bias - your bias, an author's bias, the source's bias
Still not sure then ask a librarian
Is the information news, opinion, an advertisement?
Are the sources cited and why should you believe them? Is the source associated with a political party or special interest group?
What’s the evidence and how was it vetted? Is the source a document, a witness, hearsay/speculation?
Is the main point of the piece proven by the evidence or did the sources provided justify the conclusion or main point of the story?
Was there an aspect or point that was not covered or unclear that you are left wondering about?
Word choice is a key tool media uses to subtly convey bias. Adjectives added to headlines can create bias. Headlines should be factual and unbiased because biased headlines can be misleading, conveying excitement when the story is not exciting, expressing approval or disapproval.
Media use experts and analysts to lend credibility to their story. Think about where the person's expertise coming from? Are they a government official, a think tank spokesman or an academic? Be aware...an expert does not mean unbiased.
Examples of Headlines and Excerpts for Same Story...See the Bias?
A news story about 501(c)(4) organizations that are no longer required to identify tax donors to the IRS.
Hockey game coverage headlines from the two towns of the opposing teams.
Excerpts of two different accounts of the same hockey game.
An article about a judge permitting one additional accuser to testify in the Bill Cosby trial.
Headline for two articles discussing the topic of Jewish women studying the Talmud.
Look for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy and purpose.
Some red flags to be aware of...
There are several sources you can consult to fact-check claims on dubious websites and social media: