Alternative Facts, Fake News, and Digital Literacy

By Traci Cothran

There was a time when we didn’t need to define what a fact was – or rather, we all understood that it meant the same thing. It was a fact – it was the truth; the rest was fiction or opinion. There were clear, credible sources, and there were those that weren’t. Now students, teachers, and librarians (as well as the rest of the American populous) must grapple with distinguishing fact, fake news, and “alternative facts” on a near-constant basis. While the Internet gives us a plethora of easy-to-access information, it’s up to us to discern what is factual and what is not.

To do that, we need to start asking hard questions of everything we read and hear – such as:

  • Where did that Facebook “news” post originate?
  • Is this news or a “newsvertisement?”
  • Are these statistics or this sound bite taken out of context to distort their meaning?
  • Who penned this article? Do they have a specific agenda that influences their writing?
  • Who created this website and how are they getting paid for their content?
  • When you reverse-search the image used in the article, do you find different source content?

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Fake News

By Traci Cothran

So a man reads a story about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of the Comet Ping Pong pizza shop, and he decides to take action—taking a rifle into the restaurant and firing it before he is stopped, fortunately without harming anyone.  This really happened, but the problem is the child sex ring story wasn’t true, and thus “Pizzagate” was born.

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Content Updates for Gale’s In Context (week ending 10/9/2015)

Posted on October 8, 2015

New content has been added and existing content updated in a number of Gale’s In Context products.

Biography In Context
New homepage spotlights have been posted that include the “hotspot” feature. This feature allows users to hover over portions of an image on the home page enabling a pop-up window to appear with fast facts about the topic or links to additional content.

Spotlights for October are:

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