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Monmouth College Hewes Library

Evaluating Information Sources: Introduction

Learn more about spotting fake news and finding reliable sources

Were fake presidential election ballots found in an Ohio warehouse? Did one of your friends breathlessly tell you that Donald Trump was going to pardon mass shooter Dylann Roof?  Did Meryl Streep mock disabled individuals on TV?  You might have heard any or all of these stories, but there's one thread connecting all of them: they're not true.

The ability to evaluate information sources (not just news) is an important skill that you'll use for the rest of your life.  This guide is just one resource to help you kick-start your skills in identifying fact, fiction and bias.


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Why this matters

Why should you care about whether or not your news is real or fake?

  1. You deserve the truth.  You are smart enough to make up your own mind - as long as you have the real facts in front of you.  You have every right to be insulted when you read fake news, because you are in essence being treated like an idiot.

  2. Fake news destroys your credibility.  If your arguments are built on bad information, it will be much more difficult for people to believe you in the future.

  3. Reliable information helps you make informed decisions.  Think about the ways you use information now and in the future: voting, purchasing a car, investing in company stock, or choosing a graduate school. Gathering reputable, fact-based information is crucial throughout our lives.


Fake the news!

  • CNN: Fake News, Real Violence:  "Pizzagate" was a fake news story which connected a pizzeria with a child pornography ring allegedly run by Hillary Clinton and John Podesta. On Sunday, December 3, 2016, an armed shooter entered the pizzeria and fired a shot before being accosted by the police.
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