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Media Studies

What is "Fake" News?

Turn on the TV or scroll through your News Feed and you may have heard something about “Fake News.” So, what is Fake News?

Fake News, or hoax news, is intentionally fabricated information comprised of deceptive content or factual information that has been grossly distorted and published by sources to look like actual news. This “news” is often spread on social media for the purpose of misleading readers for some sort of gain, be it financial, political, or otherwise.

Fake News differs from satire, like Saturday Night Live. SNL uses humor, irony, exaggeration, ridicule, and (often) distorted or false information to make a social commentary on current events. Because its purpose is to entertain, it is not considered to be fake.

It is important to note that many of our news sources exhibit some form of explicit or implicit bias, but that does not mean that they are “Fake News" (i.e. Fox News slants to the right, while MSNBC slants to the left). A news bias is a source that comes from a particular point of view and it may rely on propaganda, decontextualized information, and opinions distorted as facts.

When looking at this type of information, it is important to take it all with a grain of salt and to assess the quality of the content provided to determine whether or not the source that you are using is credible.

Fact Checking

The following sites review specific news stories and claims to determine their factuality.