I read on Business Insider, that Infowars.com has been granted a temporary press pass to the White House. That’s bad news for society but that’s not the reason for this post.
My beef is with Business Insider. While the title of the article refers to Infowars as a “conspiracy outlet”, the article refers to it as a “Far-right” website”. Which is it? You can’t be both.
The answer is simple. It’s known to publish false information, otherwise known as “Fake News”. So, if you’re reading this and you just happen to be a journalist, can you please not refer to infowars as anything other than False, Fake, Propaganda or Conspiracy. By referring to Infowars or any other Fake site as “Far-right”, you legitimatize their content and give people the wrong impression.
How are we to educate the public about what’s real and what’s not, if publishers like the Business Insider can’t get it right?
Must do better.
If you want to consume news without wondering if it’s real or fake, you should download the free Chrome extension called “Check This”. It highlights news sources based on their reputation — based on the the URL classifications created by credible Fact Checkers such as Politifact and Snopes. It’s the best engineered browser extension you will ever download for News Reputation information.
Here are some more screen shots to show how the extension works.
[Update: 5:45pm] After a conversation with Jon Orlin inside a private Slack group that I created for industry stakeholders to discuss misinformation, I’ve decided to add the following context to my definition of Fake News, as I provided him, when prompted to think further…
… if a website publishes false information and sometimes publishes factual information for the sole purpose of misleading readers into thinking it’s a factual news site, it should be classified as “Fake/False/Hoax News”. If a website mistakenly publishes false information, it’s a mistake — and should not be classified as “Fake News”. In short, it’s all about intent. And clearly, Infowars’ intention is to mislead readers. It’s basically a bullshit publication and should not be called “Far-right”.]