Fighting Fake Anti-Trump News
In the interests of not spending the next four years fact-checking my own side, I would like very much if we could all exercise good judgment on what we reblog.
I’m pissed off about the trend of twitter screenshots posing as “news” with no source. I’m also pissed off about people posting their own unsourced, inaccurate summaries of something they heard somewhere. This makes us look no better than Trump supporters sharing lies on Facebook, and it often causes unnecessary fear. Here’s a guide on what I want people to do instead.
Easy Mode: If there’s no source, don’t reblog it. This requires no effort on your part, but it’s still helpful. Don’t disseminate information that could be inaccurate.
Regular Mode: Add a source. Google some key words. If it’s legitimate, you should find news stories about it. Reblog and add some source links. While I’m not a huge fan of how the mainstream media has been handling things lately, for this purpose I recommend sticking to established print media, because they have better fact-checking than Internet-only outlets and they’ve been firmer in their opposition than TV news.
If it’s not legitimate, reblog anyway and add sources refuting it. You don’t have to write up a whole explanation if you don’t want. Linking to a source with the note “This shit didn’t happen” will suffice.
Hard Mode: Question the source. If there is a source link, check it. If it’s from some outlet you never heard, of or one that you don’t feel is reputable (like, say, The Daily Mail), go see if they have sources to back themselves up. They may not. Google key words again. See if anyone else is reporting on their claims. If not, wait a bit. It’s possible they have an exclusive scoop. It’s also possible they’re fearmongering based on misunderstood or inadequate information, or they’re just flat making shit up. Don’t discount the possibility of fake “progressive” outlets run by the opposition to discredit us. And remember, The Onion is not the only parody news site out there – not by a long shot.
Again, though, if you do nothing else, stop reblogging unsourced stories. It’s already going to be a long, bad four years. We don’t need to make it worse.