Skip to main content

Evaluating News: Fake News

This LibGuide was created to help you evaluate the news around you, teach you to identify Fake News, Bias News, Satirical News and Propaganda

Fake News

Fake News can be obvious, Elvis sightings, UFO abductions, and Bat Boy are Fake News.  Fake News can also be news that includes false or regularly misleading information. Inciting and relying on “outrage” created by using distorted headlines, dubious facts and decontextualized information to generate likes, shares and profits.

Fake news is not to be confused with satirical news as seen on shows like "Saturday Night Live" and "Last Week Tonight." Fake news is not a humorous comment on the news. Rather, fake news seeks to supplant the news, to sway its audience into believing all sorts of untruths and conspiracy theories, the more bizarre, the better.

            --Pitts, Leonard. "Newspapers, the Answer to Fake News.". Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Sun. (1 December 2016): n. p. Web. 1 December 2016.

Link to full article

There are four broad categories of fake news, according to media professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College.  CATEGORY 1: Fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media. Some of these websites may rely on “outrage” by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information to generate likes, shares, and profits.  CATEGORY 2: Websites that may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information  CATEGORY 3: Websites which sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions  CATEGORY 4: Satire/comedy sites, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news  No single topic falls under a single category - for example, false or misleading medical news may be entirely fabricated (Category 1), may intentionally misinterpret facts or misrepresent data (Category 2), may be accurate or partially accurate but use an alarmist title to get your attention (Category 3) or maybe a critique on modern medical practice (Category 4.)  Some articles fall under more than one category.  It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.

This Is How Your Fear and Outrage Are Being Sold for Profit

TobiasRoseArticleImageThis article written by Tobias Rose-Stockwell takes a comprehensive view of how news today is packaged and sold to the public.  He addresses the emotional spin put into news and why we as consumers buy into it.  He also addresses the impact that social media has played on news.  He also discusses the "algorithmic war for our attention" that news feeds and advertisers use to control the flow of news.  Although a opinion piece it is well thought out and presents a thoughtful perspective on today's news.

Rose-Stockwell, Tobias. “This Is How Your Fear and Outrage Are Being Sold for Profit.” Medium, The Mission, 14 July 2017, Accessed 30 Aug. 2017.


AkpanNsikan. "The very real consequences of fake news stories and why your brain can't ignore them." PBS News Hour. PBS, 5 Dec. 2016. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.

Brayton, Ed. “Please Stop Sharing Links to These Sites.” Pathos. 18 Sept. 2016. Web Page. 7 Dec. 2016.

Davis, Wayne. “Fake or real? How to self-check the news and get the facts.” NPR. 5 Dec. 2016. Web. 7 Dec. 2016.

Dev, Anne. "Fake News Hysteria Just Creates More Uncertainty In What Truth Really Is." Medium. N.p., 22 Jan. 2017. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.

Gabler, Neal. “Who’s really to blame for fake news?” Bill Moyers and Company., 30 Nov. 2016. Web. 7 Dec. 2016.

Kamenetz, Anya. “Learning To Spot Fake News: Start With A Gut Check.” NPR, NPR, 31 Oct. 2017,

Kirschenbaum, Michele. "10 Ways to Spot a Fake News Article." EasyBib. Chegg, 4 Jan. 2017. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.

Kirschenbaum, Michele. "How Savvy are Your Students?: 7 Fake Websites to Really THow Savvy are Your Students?: 7 Fake Websites to Really Test Their Evaluation Skillsest Their Evaluation Skills." EasyBib. Chegg, 10 Jan. 2017. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.

Lemann, Nicholas. “Solving the Problem of Fake News.” News Desk. The New Yorker, 30 Nov. 2016. Web. 7 Dec. 2016.

Peck, Adam. The most dangerous thing about fake news sites is not what they say, but how they say itThinkProgress, 6 Dec. 2016. Web. 7 Dec. 2016.

Robins-Early, Nick. "How To Recognize A Fake News Story 9 Helpful Tips to Stop Yourself from Sharing False Information." Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 22 Nov. 2016. Web. 7 Dec. 2016. 

Sharockman, Aaron. "Let's Fight Back against Fake News." Inside the Meters: Let's Fight Back against Fake News | PolitiFactPolitifact, 16 Nov. 2016. Web. 07 Dec. 2016. 

"Understanding The Fake News Universe." Media Matters for America. N.p., 14 Dec. 2016. Web. 01 Feb. 2017.

Fake News Sites

Info graphic Fake News Identifying Help

debunk fake news infographic see transcript below

Fact Checking Sites