Opinion: Fake news is everywhere

By Emily Doyle
Staff Writer
I know this is going to come as a shock, but not everything you read on the Internet is true.

Throughout this election, something even more terrifying than the candidates happened: false news popped up everywhere, and people ate it up like turkey on Thanksgiving.

Facebook has made for a breeding ground for these false news websites. People share “news” that runs parallel to their own viewpoints to help confirm their beliefs. The news people share is hardly ever true, and if it is, its drastically overexaggerated or satire.

One of the big culprits is National Report, a webpage that appears legitimate to the uneducated or untrained eye. With headlines like “Sarah Palin says no one gives a crap about Venice’s flooded streets,” people could immediately turn red with rage, demanding to know why someone could be so heartless and then sharing the grief with all of Facebook. When, in reality, Venice’s water roadways are a feature of the city, roads that have been immersed in water for many years.

Other mainstream fake news sites include Empire News, World News Daily Report, News Examiner, Now8News, Empire Herald and Associated Media Coverage. These webpages all sound like they could be genuine, but are not. Though, some of the time, hidden in the depths of the website, there is a disclaimer that news reported is satire and inaccurate. This small hidden clause helps prevent them from libel lawsuits real news sites are subject to if they report even the smallest bit of false news.

A good rule of thumb for locating real news sites is to go with what you know. If you don’t recognize the title of the webpage, double check with a news source that you know to be reliable. If a news story sounds insane, it probably is.

A negative side effect of fake news, in addition to people not getting accurate information, is that real news sources are starting to become more distrusted. Some of this distrust is also to blame on broadcast media, like Fox News and CNN, which report accurate news but do not try and be unbiased, like print media does.

So, in this mess of news sources, how do you make sure you have the most accurate information? Turn to newspapers, or at least their webpages. Print journalists are required to follow strict guidelines for their news articles, making them unbiased and as accurate as possible. This makes sure you get the most trusted and truthful news available.