Checking the Facts

Debunkers of Fictions Sift the Net
By Brian Stelter

David and Barbara Mikkelson are among those trying to clean the cesspool. The unassuming California couple run Snopes, one of the most popular fact-checking destinations on the Web.

[...] Snopes is one of a small handful of sites in the fact-checking business. Brooks Jackson, the director of one of the others, the politically oriented FactCheck.org, believes news organizations should be doing more of it.

“The ‘news’ that is not fit to print gets through to people anyway these days, through 24-hour cable gasbags, partisan talk radio hosts and chain e-mails, blogs and Web sites such as WorldNetDaily or Daily Kos,” he said in an e-mail message. “What readers need now, we find, are honest referees who can help ordinary readers sort out fact from fiction.”

Even the White House now cites fact-checking sites: it has circulated links and explanations by PolitiFact.com, a project of The St. Petersburg Times that won a Pulitzer Prize last year for national reporting.

Media bias in the United States
(Wikipedia)

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2 Responses

  1. Just today I recommended snopes to yet another mailing list where two urban myths had just been posted. This is great information about the political fact-checking sites, about which I didn’t know. Thanks.

    • I thought it was great info as well. I first randomly came across the article and posted it. Then later I was doing research on Wikipedia, came across the second item and so I added it to the post.

      I partly just wanted to post it as a reference for myself. It’s good to have a way to check facts and sources. I’ve been perusing all the info on health reform and it’s confusing.

      Apparently, my Wikipedia links are broken. I’d noticed that happening before. For some reason, WordPress breaks Wikipedia links. It’s rather annoying. In a moment, I’ll edit it in order to make the links work.

      In case your interested, I noticed another useful site last night (debatepedia.org) which I’ll also add to the post. I think I’m not sure I’d heard of it before. I know I’ve heard of a website like it, but it might’be been something else.

      These fact-checking sites are probably more important than the mainstream news sites. The reason I say that is because the mainstream media, sadly, is often the cause of the spreading of misinformation.

      I think younger people (or anyone who spends a lot of time looking at info on the web) know how to sift through the BS, but there are many people who don’t know how to do this. As you know, I think critical thinking is lacking in our society (or at least in the US anyways… maybe Canada is better).

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