You are here

Disinformation and misinformation are existential threats to our democracy because they undermine our trust in a shared reality, and we lose our common ground. (Dr. Kate Starbird, University of Washington, Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, "The Weirdest Election 'Night' Ever," webinar, 2020 October 19)

Avoid information bubbles

When you get all of your news from one source, you are getting only one perspective that may be biased. Just as a balanced diet is good for your body, a variety of news sources is good for your mind.

 

AllSides considers media bias and presents parallel news stories from the left, center, and right.

Media Bias/Fact Check rates news media on their bias; check out their list of least-biased news sources.

According to author David McRaney: "Punditry is an industry built on confirmation bias . . . these people provide fuel for beliefs, they prefilter the world to match existing worldviews. If their filter is like your filter, you love them. If it isn't, you hate them. You watch them not for information, but for confirmation."  McRaney also says, "Your opinions are the result of years of paying attention to information which confirmed what you believed while ignoring information which challenged your preconceived notions." (Eric Giordano, "Brownies, Brains, and Information Habits, Part II," The Municipality, May 2021, page 30.)

There are facts, and then there is everything else
 

"Just the facts, ma'am," was a famous quotation attributed to Sergeant Joe Friday on the 1950s television drama Dragnet. But he never actually said that, so even one of our most well-known catchphrases about facts is a myth.

What is a fact? (Merriam-Webster definition)

What is a fabricated fact? (Black's Law Dictionary)

There are a lot of things floating around out there that are not facts. Analyses, interpretations, opinions, predictions, speculation, misinformation, rumors, fake news, myths, conspiracy theories, urban legends, fabrications, hoaxes, and bald-faced lies sometimes smother the facts. Facts can be checked and verified.

Here are some fact-checking tools:

 

 

("Dilbert" by Scott Adams, La Crosse Tribune, 2019 March 24)

Feature: Afghanistan

Fact-checking Biden's statements on Afghanistan
Biden's flip flops on Afghanistan
Chaos at Kabul airport was not staged
A deliberate attempt to bring in more refugees?
Refugee vetting
Where is the Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau?
Trump's withdrawal from Afghanistan
Comparing Afghanistan to Vietnam
Taliban did not hang a man from a helicopter
Military equipment and weapons left for the Taliban
Money spent on military contracts in Afghanistan
Questions about U.S. credibility
How many Americans and allies were left behind

 

Feature: Report on the 2020 Election

The Long Fuse: Misinformation and the 2020 Election
(PDF of the report)
 

Feature: Critical Race Theory

Covering the controversy
 

Feature: Crime

Why did murders spike in 2020?

False blame for crime increase

Democrat makes misleading "Defund Police" claim

Rise in homicides

George Floyd inaccuracies

Biden exaggerates on gun shows

Gun control and genocide

Cost of firearms injuries

7 things journalists should know about guns

 

Feature: Voting laws

Voter ID laws getting stricter

Harris exaggerates on food and water laws

Voting laws and Jim Crow rhetoric

Bill HR 1 fact-checked

How often does voter impersonation happen?

The new Georgia voting law

Sunday voting in Georgia

Who has more restrictive voting laws?

Claims about Georgia voting laws?

How do New York's laws compare with Georgia?

 

Feature: Immigration

Root causes of migration

Tweets misrepresent border data

Fact-checking President Biden's claims

Asylum grants and immigration court attendance

Colorado gunman did not come illegally from Mexico

Apprehensions at the border

Did a United Nations official condemn conditions in migrant detention facilities?

Fact-checking the Homeland Security secretary

Biden did not demolish Trump's wall

How many terrorists cross our southern border?

Is the border wide open?

Are migrants being treated better than the National Guard?
 

Feature: What is QAnon?

QAnon's corrosive impact on the U.S. (60 Minutes)

HBO QAnon documentary and the identity of Q

What is QAnon, the baseless conspiracy spilling into US politics?

What is QAnon, the Viral Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theory

QAnon Conspiracy Theories and Misinformation

QAnon: What is it and where did it come from?

A Breeding Ground for Conspiracies: How QAnon Helped Bring About the U.S. Capitol Assault

CNN Special Report: Inside the QAnon Conspiracy

How a South Carolina mom left QAnon behind

A rare look at pro-Trump conspiracy theorists in their own words

Residents of Washington town wonder if QAnon has taken hold of their mayor

What is QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory causing controversy at the RNC

People tell us how QAnon destroyed their relationships

QAnon supporters who ran for Congress in 2020

The Prophecies of Q

QAnon goes European


"Michael Shermer, author of The Believing Brain, argues that our brains naturally look for and find patterns, and then infuse those patterns with meaning. As a result, simple coincidences can become key explanatory facts. The internet exacerbates these tendencies by putting together random facts, making them readily available and spreading them virally." (Eric Giordano, "Brownies, Brains, and Information Habits, Part II," The Municipality, May 2021, page 31.)

Short primers on information literacy

An owl says "hoo" and you should too

Bias and logical fallacies go together like love and marriage

Everything but the truth

Watch their language

What a carrot can teach us about viewpoints

Why social media should not be your news media

 

Educate yourself

Bad News (misinformation game)

Calling  Bullshit: Data Reasoning in a Digital World

Cognitive biases

First Draft's Essential Guide to Understanding Information Disorder

First Draft's Essential Guide to Verifying Online Information

5 Common Research Designs

Information Disorder: The Essential Glossary

Is this story share-worthy? (Note: The Newseum is defunct)

Lexicon of Lies: Terms for Problematic Information

The Skeptical Inquirer Presents

Thou shall not commit logical fallacies

Master List of Logical Fallacies

Know Your Research (The Journalist's Resource)

What is Peer Review?

 

Reading & Resource List on Information Literacy (updated regularly)

 

Investigative tools

BotSlayer: track disinformation on Twitter

Comparison of reverse image searching tools

Google Reverse Image Search

Guide to Using Reverse Image Search for Investigations

InVid Verification Plugin

NewsGuard: trust ratings for news websites
TinEye (reverse image search)

The Political realm

Misinformation and the Jan. 6 insurrection

Trying to blame Pelosi for January 6

Trump pushing falsehoods in traditional media

Conservative media advance unfounded theory about Jan. 6 Capitol attack

Debunking the latest Arizona election claims

Election falsehoods live on in Arizona

Distortions about elections in Georgia

Tucker Carlson's misleading claims about Georgia voter fraud

A Timeline of Trump's words

Misinformation in the 2020 U.S. Elections & Social Media Platform Policies

Fact-checking the Capitol insurrection

The Capitol Siege: The Arrested and Their Stories

The myth that Antifa stormed the Capitol

Mis/disinformation and the Capitol breach

Andrew Clyde's distortion of the Capitol riot

Dirty Tricks: 9 Falsehoods that Could [and did] Undermine the 2020 Election

No evidence that Dominion Voting Systems flipped votes

Charges about voting technology companies

Examining false beliefs about voter fraud

Factchecking (sic) the Electoral College Debate [2020 Presidential election]

A Tale of Two Elections: CBS and Fox News' Portrayal of the 2020 Presidential Campaign

TV news outlets overrepresent extreme partisans in Congress

Research on the Confederate flag, divisive politics and enduring meanings

How Facebook could reduce political animosity

 

(Joel Heller, La Crosse Tribune, 2021 August 8, page A8)

COVID-19 corner

CoronaVirusFacts Database

Coronavirus Rumor Control (FEMA)

Federal Government COVID-19 information

Coronavirus Mythbusters (World Health Organization)

Coronavirus Resource Center (Johns Hopkins University)

CoronaVirusFacts Alliance (Poynter Institute)

Coronavirus fact-checks (Politifact)

Facts and gaps on the origin of coronavirus

Information on vaccines (COVID Collaborative)

White House vaccine policy

False claims by an Indiana doctor

Masks and schoolchildren

Migrants are not fueling the COVID surge

The controversy over ivermectin

Vaccine misinformation insights

America has a vaccination problem & some media are to blame

Republican Governor criticizes anti-vaccine "propaganda"

False claims about unvaccinated black people

Questions and answers about vaccines (Washington Post Fact Checker)

Questions and answers about vaccines (Politifact)

Answers for vaccine skeptics (Politifact)

COVID-19/vaccinations misconceptions and misinformation (FactCheck.org)

Vaccines and the Delta variant

The social network for doctors is full of vaccine disinformation

COVID-19 surge in Florida and baseless claims about vaccinated vs unvaccinated patients

Vaccines do not violate the Nuremberg Code

Are migrants fueling the COVID-19 surge?

Businesses can ask customers about vaccination status

Federal VAERS database is a critical tool for researchers, but a breeding ground for misinformation

Tomi Lahren's misleading spin on vaccines and COVID-19 survival

No evidence that vaccines are toxic

Vaccines do not make people magnetic

False vaccine claims persist on Facebook

Joe Rogan's bad advice on vaccines

Tucker Carlson is wrong about vaccines

Tucker Carlson misrepresents vaccine safety data

Vaccines do not "shed"

Vaccines do not alter DNA

Vaccines will not make colds and flu lethal

False and unsupported claims about vaccines

Misrepresenting Fauci's emails

Censorship or misinformation?

How to fact-check coronavirus information on social media

How to stop friends and relatives from spreading misinformation

Origins of COVID-19

Wisconsin state documents on COVID-19

Wisconsin COVID-19 information

Most bizarre COVID-19 fact checks

 

Archive

Facebook Fact-Checks by Politifact

Joe Biden’s inauguration in extraordinary times, fact-checked

One last time (as president): Fact-checking Donald Trump’s departure speech

Whoppers of 2020 by FactCheck

Lie of the Year [2020] by Politifact

Politifact's top 10 fact-checks of 2020

Biggest Pinocchios of the Year [2020] by the Washington Post

The scariest misinformation of 2020 by Politifact

The Global Disinformation Disorder

How Disinformation Evolved in 2020

 

Just For Fun

"Hokum Bunkum Balderdash" a song by Lou & Peter Berryman