How To Spot Fake News
Recently I commented on a discussion thread on the state of the media and our ability to discern what is truth. Part of my response talked about the use of evidence and the citation of sources in order to ascertain validity. Here is an example of how that is not used. I saw this post below which stated “80% of Americans are against sanctuary cities.” Here is the link to the article: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/320487-poll-americans-overwhelmingly-oppose-sanctuary-cities. That sounded a little bit high so I clicked on the link. The evidence that thehill.com used to back up their claim came from the Harvard-Harris poll. When I went to look up Harvard-Harris I couldn’t find a single website that mentions it except for thehill.com.
Still, let’s assume that the Harvard-Harris poll is a legitimate polling entity. Now look at the data that was provided. The question that was asked was not, “Do you oppose sanctuary cities?” The question was, “Should Cities that arrest illegal immigrants for crimes be required to turn them over to immigration authorities?” I wholeheartedly agree with that statement as well, but that’s not what a sanctuary city is. According to The Economist, they are cities that “protect undocumented immigrants from deportation by limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities.” The article goes on to say how this encourages illegal immigrants to work with authorities in order to report crimes without fear of deportation. Again, very different than the title of thehill.com’s claim.
I’m writing this not to accuse one side or the other of being misleading, or to take a stand on the issue one way or another. Rather, my hope is to show how we need to be both diligent and discerning about what we chose to read, share, and believe.