Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Recognizing Misinformation (Fake News) on the Internet: the MC Libraries are Your Partner



Newspaper article titled "Dinosaurs! They are Real, and the Nazis Have Them; Reptilian Horde Menaces North Africa, U.S. Army II Corp Hurtled into Action"
This past November, The Oxford English Dictionary declared their word of the year to be – “Post-truth,” which seemed fitting for 2016. Post-truth is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Other terms to keep in mind as you navigate the world of misinformation are “Fake News” and “Alternative Facts”. Every student at Montgomery College needs to be skilled at discerning the differences between objective facts and opinions or personal beliefs. Your ENGL 102 paper cannot be argued using opinions and beliefs alone; your professor will expect you to support your assertions with facts. 

Recognizing the difference between legitimate news, researched and fact checked, and fake stories promoted on the internet for a wide variety of reasons (making money, propaganda, internet trolling, conspiracy promotion) can be difficult. 

Screen capture of the Montgomery College Libraries' Fake News guide homepage
The Montgomery College community should consider the MC Libraries as their partner in navigating this confusing world of research based news vs. misinformation based more on opinion or outright falsehoods. 

Our recently published guide, “How Can News Be Fake?” (http://libguides.montgomerycollege.edu/fakenews) offers advice on fact checking, the varieties of misinformation you might find on the internet, tools for finding good quality research, and checking claims against a number of important information literacy benchmarks. Furthermore, we encourage you to get personalized assistance when needed. You can speak to librarians at all 3 campuses, submit questions through our text service, or contact a librarian online through our reference chat, available 24/7 (http://libfaqs.montgomerycollege.edu/).

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