Saint Mary's Fitzgerald Library | Home

"Fake News" vs Real News: Home


"The freedom which is the essence of democracy is above all the freedom to develop intelligence; intelligence consisting of judgment as to what facts are relevant to action ... and a corresponding alertness in the quest for such facts." John Dewey 1941


The resources on this page are intended to help you:

  1.  Identify false or misleading news sources and protect yourself from them

  2.  Understand the problems the fake news phenomenon has created

  3. Discover some basic steps to use in evaluating news sources

  4. Differentiate between types of news sources

  5. Link to more credible news sources

Where Are We Getting Our News?

News Use Across Social Media Platforms 
62% – get news on social media, and 18% do so often, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center,

Who Shared It? How Americans Decide What News to Trust on Social Media.
When Americans encounter news on social media, how much they trust the content is determined less by who creates the news than by who shares it. From the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and the Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.  

Political Polarization & Media Habits
From the Pew Research Center
"The project – part of a year-long effort to shed light on political polarization in America – looks at the ways people get information about government and politics in three different settings: the news media, social media and the way people talk about politics with friends and family. "

One of the things the Presidential Election Campaign of 2016 may be remembered for is the proliferation of fake news stories. Viral news hoaxes have been around for many years, but 2016 seems to be the year they exploded into the consciousness of the American public. Evaluating information has never been more important.

(Graphic and text from Carolina Hernandez's Oregon University site)

Why People Believe  Fake  Videos
Fast Company by Christye Sisson Sept 14, 2019

The Future of Truth and Misinformation Online
Pew Research Center  By Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie‚Äč

After Las Vegas Shooting, Fake News Regains its Megaphone
October 22017 NYT Kevin Roose

Stanford Researchers Find Students Have Trouble Judging the Credibility of Information Online
November 22, 2016 By Brooke Donald (Stanford Study: Executive Summary)

Why Students Can't Google Their Way to Truth
November 1, 2016 Education Week By By Sam Wineburg and Sarah McGrew

American Library Association: Resolution on Access to Accurate Information

From Schooled Skepticism to Informed Trust
It’s one thing to teach students about disinformation. It’s another to convince them information can sometimes be trusted.

The Spread of True and False News Online
Lies spread faster than the truth
Science  09 Mar 2018: Vol. 359, Issue 6380, pp. 1146-1151 DOI: 10.1126/science.aap9559


What's Wrong with Fake News?

Why should you care about whether or not your news is real or fake?

  1. An informed citizenry is vital to the success of our democracy.  Voters need to be able to distinguish between credible news sources and misinformation and conspiracy theories.
  2. Fake news can damage your personal credibility.  If your arguments are built on false information, it will be much more difficult for people to believe you in the future.
  3. Believing fake news stories can have real-life consequences.  A man with a rifle who claimed to be "self-investigating" an online conspiracy theory entered a Washington, D.C., pizzeria and fired his weapon inside the restaurant.  Purveyors of fake and misleading medical advice like and help perpetuate myths like HIV and AIDS aren't related, or that vaccines cause autism.  These sites are heavily visited and their lies are dangerous.
  4. Real news can benefit you.  If you want to buy stock in a company, you want to read accurate articles about that company so you can invest wisely.  If you are planning on voting in an election, you want to read as much good information on a candidate so you can vote for the person who best represents your ideas and beliefs.  

Thanks to From KT Lowe Indiana University-East site for much of this text.


Contact Your Liaison Librarian

Ruth Torstenson LeMasters's picture
Ruth Torstenson LeMasters
General Help Line 507-457-1561