“2016 the year of the fact checker”
If your a politician or a speaker at a junior high school accuracy is important. In the audience is an 13 years old with a smartphone who may challenge the speaker .
We live in an instant information age. Baby Boomers can remember when the point of reference was the Encyclopedia Britannica. Today, its at your fingertips information in an instant.
But why is so much of the information wrong?
On social media, every few weeks a media outlet will report Betty White has died. This story will be shared by thousands until someone confirms the story is a hoax. Ms White has died hundreds of times during the last five or six years.
The internet has created millions of online reporters, bloggers are reporting the news. The net has dramatically changed how we get the news. Today, bloggers have the capabilities to share information with many worldwide news outlets.
While many of these outlets and bloggers are credible,some aren’t. Many blogging sites (including this one) copy and paste news reports. Many stories are published without verification.
A few years ago, we copied a story about Justin Bieber being attacked by a baseball player in an restaurant in Los Angeles. At the time Bieber was the media bad boy and any mention of his name would guarantee readers . By midday, we learned the story was complete fiction and removed the story. However, not every blogger or feed removes the story. The popularity of the story could mean advertising dollars to the site or news outlet. So even though, they may know the story was complete hoax, they may leave the story in place. Here in Sacramento, one of the top radio stations repeated the Bieber story on air throughout the day. Should the source leave the story intact. A single click and re-posting gives the old story new life.
The 13 years old with a smartphone who fact checked his teacher. Isn’t likely to fact check a story from a online source. There are many who believe if the story is originates from a media source it is fact,particularly if its a site they like.
Like many supermarket tabloids, there are many sites that create news. Hoping you will click on the advertising links as you peruse the site. The false information is shared as fact on social media.
Here in Sacratomatoville, we have trusted sources, throughout the city . Outside the Big Tomato, we often rely on certain bloggers and news organizations to verify the story before we post it.
Before you repost a story, including those from Sacratomatoville. There are many ways you can fact check a story. The easiest avenue, is simply googling the story. Betty White is a national treasure, type ” Betty White”. There are other sources , Associated Press, CNN, Major newspapers : New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, and Reuters.
Sidebar: Wrong just Wrong!
The Rainbow Festival is a popular event in Sacratomatoville. I joined a few friends in the Sacramento Valley Bears booth. A reporter from the Sacramento Bee interviewed a member of the Bears. It was a very lengthy and lively conservation, toward the end of conversation, she asked for our names, not sure why as we weren’t part of the conversation.
Sometimes you see something that’s odd, in this instance the reporter was writing our names at an odd angle on her tablet. I thought it was odd that she was writing our names upside down in her table, but didn’t think anything about it.
On the Sunday 6 o’clock newscast, the local CBS affiliate channel 13 covered the event. In the clip was a picture of a huge drag queen. Below her the caption read “Mayor Heather Fargo”
Monday morning, a friend asked me had I seen the Bee? He insisted, I check the Metro section of the newspaper. Most of the front page was devoted to the festival. There was no mention of the Sacramento Valley Bears, however there was a extensive story devoted to the Log Cabin Republicans a national LGBT organization. The Bee said I was the local President. My wife, friends and family teased me for years. Many years has passed and my niece continues to introduce me as a Log Cabin Republican.
Two days later, The Bee printed a correction, near the obituaries.