In today’s world, there is so much false information swirling around between social media, other news sites and the television. For every article telling an authentic representation of facts, it seems like there are five dedicated to doing the opposite for personal or political gain. How can you discover the truth in a world filled with contradictory information?
Checking the Facts
Did you know that there are professional fact checkers who work to verify information for news articles, research papers and blogs? How do they get the job done? Fact checkers start by looking at whether or not a claim can be objectively verified. A claim like “Matt Smith published a paper in The American Journal of Psychology” can be verified by looking up the information. Another claim, like “Christopher Columbus’ ships were the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria,” can be verified by checking the best primary sources on the topic and seeing if they match or refute the claim.
What If You Aren’t a Professional?
While the professionals have access to things like primary sources and databases, the average consumer of news or information does not. How can you still discover the truth?
- Check the domain and URL on the website you are visiting. Most established news organizations own their domains and usually have websites that look professional. Websites that have URLs ending in “.biz” or “.news” or “.com.com” should be looked at with greater scrutiny. For example, “abcnews.com” is a legitimate company, but “abcnews.com.co” is not.
- Does the website have an “About” section? Any legitimate source should have information about the company running the news outlet, any members of the leadership team, the journalists working there, and a mission statement and statement of ethics. Try searching for the leaders of the organization on a search engine to see that they are real people and mentioned elsewhere.
- Does the story or article contain quotes? Well-researched articles typically contain numerous sources and quotes that can be verified. If there is a quote from a political leader or similar high-profile official, you should be able to find multiple sources verifying it.
- Be critical when reading any news or article. It’s easy to fall for a clickbait headline or something that seems true, but maintaining a skeptical and critical mindset can help you in identifying inconsistencies that point to fake news.
Discover the Truth and Cope With It With CBT Baltimore
If you are struggling to discover the truth in your own life or cope with hard and stressful events, you are not alone.
If you are interested in seeking therapy in Baltimore, we’re here to help. Contact the CBT experts at CBT Baltimore at 443-470-9815. We would love to speak with you.