Skip to Main Content
Ask Us!Toggle Chat Widget

GEOG 2000 (Devadoss): Evaluating News

What is MDI?

Misinformation and Disinformation: A Guide for Protecting Yourself

False news is not a new concept.  It’s just a new phrase describing an old problem that has always existed in some form or another.   It has wormed its way into the national discourse through counterfeit news outlets, bogus print publications, and social media.  False news refers to text, social media posts, images, videos, websites (counterfeit, imposters, propaganda, etc.), advertisements, and anything else that can be manipulated or used out of original context.  There are many types of misleading news; however, MDI (misinformation/disinformation) is the most prevalent. 

  • Misinformation is spread by those who believe it is true or could be true without verification.  It is the most difficult to identify because it often contains a kernel of truth taken out of original context and then sensationalized. Misinformation Red Flags
  • Disinformation is intentionally spread by those (including cyborgs, bots, sock puppets, and trolls) who know the information is false.  It reflects a deliberate attempt to deceive for the purpose of persuasion, influence, or profit.  Deliberate omissions of the complete truth, hoaxes, lies, and propaganda are intentionally disguised in order to make identification difficult.  This also includes ads presented as news stories, content from cyborgs, bot networks, and troll factories, as well as manipulated videos known as deepfakes, shallowfakes, cheap fakes, and dumbfakes.   Cheap Fakes vs. Deepfakes

The only way to stop the spread of false and misleading news is to exercise a healthy dose of informed skepticism and follow the “when in doubt, then don’t” rule.  Don’t use information in an assignment, post it on social media, or relay it to others in any way that implies truth, if you suspect it is not completely truthful.

Understanding Publication Bias

Many publications operate from a particular political stance or bias, though this can change over time due to editorial leadership.  This bias can impact how or if an event is reported.

Evaluation Tools

Learning how to evaluate what you read, view, and hear is an essential skill for your academic and personal life.  

Fact Checking Websites