Acknowledging Your Bias: How to Tell When it's Fake News

Democratic Women’s Club of Marco Island

General Meeting August 11, 2020

Via Zoom 7-8 pm

President Stephanie Ballo opened the meeting with the pledge of allegiance, thanking VP Karen Tessel-Blum for organizing the call and asked for a moment of silence for the people who have died from the Covid 19 virus.

· She thanked Mickey Gargan’s initiative to contact ineligible voters to get them to reregister to vote, Lisa Furlong for getting the volunteer callers, and Lauri Shafer, Diedre Schmidt, Sally Miller, Monica Pierce, Bruce Wieide and Linda Walker for making the calls.

· Reminder: Aug 8-15 is early voting for the primary election.

· Please sign up at CollierDems.org to help with get out the vote efforts and to donate.

· Lawn signs for Biden and Sarah McFadden are available. Email DWCMarco@gmail.com to request them.

· August 16 – Ridin’ with Biden, a Florida statewide caravan effort, will be held on Marco. Put signs on your cars, drive together, have fun. Sign up on our website, DWCMarco.org, or call Cindy Marino-Clark at 239-249-2285 to participate.

· Next meeting: September 8 at 7 pm via Zoom. A Biden campaign representative will be the speaker.

Annisa Karmin – president of the Collier Democratic Party noted that this is a historic day with the announcement of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate. She is the first woman of African-American and South Asian heritage to be running on the presidential ticket.

· She noted that volunteer work over past 8 months increased voter registration with 53% of Democrats requesting Vote by Mail ballots.

· We will need volunteers to call 75,000 people before November to remind them to return ballots.

Evening Presentation: The News: Separating Fact from Fiction – What You can do.

Gail Formanack, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of The Villages tri-county area was the evening’s presenter on learning to recognize fake news sites. She noted what’s changed:

· Then – there were fewer news sources, print predominated, it was easy to evaluate – clear what was an editorial (opinion pages) versus actual news.

· Now – Explosion of sources; cable and internet; technology can deceive – it can be altered.

· 49% now get news from TV; 20% from social media; only 16% from print.

Her primary suggestions:

· Learn to recognize fake news sites – Verify the URL; Be curious – use fact checking sites; Seek multiple perspectives on a story; Use accountable news sources; Recognize your own biases; Use care before you share.

· Her full presentation with detailed info and helpful websites is attached as a separate document.

Respectfully submitted, Linda Brown, Recording Secretary 6.17.20


The Handout from Gail Formanack's Presentation :

The News: Separating Fact from Fiction What You Can Do Learn to recognize fake news sites

  • Verify the URL. (e.g., abcnews.com.co/ is fake. abcnews.com is legitimate.)

  • Distrust any source without an explicit, prominent editorial policy or a statement of ethical standards. Reputable news sources will have a link to their policies in one of their navigation bars – generally on the left or at the bottom of each webpage.

  • Read the About Us page for evidence of bias.

  • Verify the physical address of contact information.

  • Google the news source to see what others say about it. Be curious

  • Use fact-checking websites. Some frequently recommended sites are: o FactCheck.org (Annenburg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania) o PolitiFacts.com (Tampa Bay Times) o Snopes.com (Published by a husband-wife team) NOTE: A non-biased fact-checking site will debunk articles with both a right- leaning and left-leaning perspective.

  • Use one of the following two sites to determine whether an image was altered by doing a reverse image search. o TinEye.com o Google.com

  • §  Go to Google Images

  • §  Click Search by Image (the camera icon)

  • §  Select either Paste Image URL or Upload an Image

  • To get the URL of the image, right-click the image and select Copy Image Address

  • If the image is saved to your device, upload it.


  • §  Click the Search by Image box

  • §  Review the visually similar images that are returned to see if yours is not the original and has been altered.


The News: Separating Fact from Fiction What You Can Do • Seek multiple perspectives on a story o Gotodifferentnewssourcesthatrangefromleft-leaningtoright-leaning. o UseAllSides.comthatshowsyouthesamestoryfromthreedifferentnewssources:a centrist, a left-leaning and a right-leaning source. Use accountable news sources • Distinguish between o NewsGathering:investigativework,callingsources,researchingdocuments,checking published facts o NewsAnalysis:stringingfactstogetherintoanarrative.

  • Select news sources known for high-quality, investigative reporting

  • Look for lengthy articles that capture the complexity of topics and events

  • Review Media Bias Charts, such as o www.adfontesmedia.com o www.allsides.com Recognize your own biases

  • If you have an immediate emotional reaction to a news article: pause, reflect and investigate. Eliciting an emotional reaction is the primary goal of fake news producers.

  • Ask yourself if you are exhibiting one of these 4 common types of bias:

o ConfirmationBias:Peopleseekoutinformationthatconfirmstheirpre-existingideas and ignore information that conflicts with it. o Narrative Fallacy: People like stories that are easy to understand and relate to. You are more prone to accept lies if they stimulate feelings of surprise or disgust. o Repeated Exposure: People tend to believe what they hear repeatedly. Just because you hear the same thing many times doesn’t make it true. o Affect Heuristic: People make decisions by “gut feeling” rather than analysis of the facts because it’s easier. Use care before your share • Do not be part of a viral fake news spiral. Go through the previous steps to make sure the article you are about to share is legitimate, unbiased news.

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