Sunday December 17, 2017

Fake news: How do you ensure the news you get is trustworthy?

Listen to Full Episode 1:52:55
Fake news

Social media sites have become a key means for spreading news, with the difference between real, mistaken and deliberately fake information often hard to discern. (VOA/Wikipedia)

Sunday on Cross Country Checkup: Fake news

In 2017, Canadians need some help separating fact from fiction.

That's the message of an education campaign Facebook Canada kicked off this week to help us detect all the fake news spreading like wildfire on social media.

The term "fake news" was popularized during the last U.S. presidential election, when fabricated news stories about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton often outperformed real news stories and the stories that debunked them. 

These days, President Trump tweets the term "fake news" habitually using it to blast unfavorable, but otherwise credible, corroborated reporting. 

But 'fake news' is now an expression used by everyone for everything and depending on who's doing the talking, it could mean radically different things. 

Some of it is old news, traditional media duped into publishing videos without checking sources. Some of it is half-truths - memes that pair real photos with dubious facts to spread a partisan agenda. Some of it is outright lies - stories made up by a 25-year-old in Macedonia who hopes viral untruths sell a few ads.

Whether it's malicious intent, shoddy journalism or even satire, how do you separate the fake from the real?

Some lay blame on Facebook feeds and Google searches. Many say algorithms designed to filter our preferences turned our digital social existence into an echo chamber, where we don't hear any views other than those we might approve. Are we capable of seeing our own filter bubbles? 

Some suggest emotion is replacing truth. Is how we feel now more important that what we know to be true? 

In an attempt to counter lying sources and lying politicians, traditional news media rolled out fact-checking journalism. But partisans claim someone should check the fact checkers because they're biased too.

What do you think? Are you losing confidence in your news media? In this age of information - real and fake - how should we help young people decipher what's real or false? Do you make an effort to look at information you might not agree with to ensure you have the full picture?

Our question today: Fake news: How do you ensure the news you get is trustworthy?

Mathew Ingram
Senior writer at the Columbia Journalism Review

Jeff Yates
Investigative journalist with Radio-Canada

Sue Gardner
Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation

Paolo Granata
Assistant Professor in the Book and Media Studies program at the University of Toronto

What we're reading

CBC News

CBC Opinion

​The New York Times

The Globe and Mail 

Montreal Gazette

First Draft

What we're watching

CBC News

What we're listening to 

CBC Radio

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