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Web Evaluation & News Sources: Be Your Own Fact Checker

Fact Checking Process

This four step process is outlined in Mike Caulfield's Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers

1. Make use of existing fact checking sites.

  • Snopes - fact-check hoaxes (independent entity, founded by David Mikkelsen)
  • Politifact - fact-check U.S. politics (project of the Tampa Bay Times, a company owned by The Poynter Institute)
  • - fact-check politics (project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania)
  • Quote Investigator - fact-check the origin of quotes (investigative work of Garson O'Toole)

See more reputable fact-checking sites from Mike Caulfield's Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers.

John Oliver - Quotations

Abraham Lincoln meme image with misquote

from imgflip (meme generator)

#2  Find original sources by using links. 

While not all sources may link back to their original sources, many of them do.  Mike Caulfield calls this "going upstream".

Example: from Daily Kos

Click on the first link in the news story "Donald Trump Jr. was paid $50,000 for meeting to discuss U.S. Russia cooperation in Syria".  Does this news report in Daily Kos accurately reference the news report it linked to?

screenshot of news story in Daily Kos


#3 Find out what other sites say about this site.  Mike Caulfield refers to this as "reading laterally".

These two sites are helpful in finding out more about news sources.

  • Media Bias Fact Check (MBFC News)  At the Search page, type in a news publication, e.g. CNN, under Dedicated Media Search.   MBFC provide information on both bias (least biased, left-center bias, right-center bias, left bias, right bias, and extreme) and level of factual reporting.  to learn more about its reporting and bias. MBFC explains how it determines bias in its Methodology section.
  • AllSides  Select Media Bias > Media Bias Ratings to search for a news source.  Each news source classifies news sources into categories: center, lean left bias, lean right bias, left bias and right bias. AllSides determines its bias ratings through blind surveys, third party data, and community feedback.  AllSides also features news on specific issues from the center, right, and left.  
media bias logo header graphic AllSides logo graphic

#4 Stuck? Circle back to strategy #1.

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Choose one of these stories and use a fact checking source to determine if it is accurate or not.