Fake news has become a problem. People unwilling to do their homework share news that is misleading or outright untrue --- and it's causing real problems.
"You get 100,000 people to retweet --- or even read --- you're more read than a published author, many published authors," Glenn said Monday on radio. "So . . . the responsibility is now on you."
Glenn shared ten questions that will help gauge whether a news story is real --- or fake. If you can't confirm its authenticity, don't share it, tweet it or post it.
10 Questions to Help You Identify Fake News
1 | Gauge your emotional reaction. Is it strong? Are you angry? Are you intensely hoping that the information turns out to be true or false?
2 | Reflect on how you encountered this. Was it promoted on a website? Did it show up in a social media feed? Was it sent to you by someone you know?
3 | Does it use excessive punctuation? Does it use all caps for emphasis?
4 | Does it claim to contain a secret or tell you something the media doesn't want you to know? Is anyone else reporting on this story?
5 | Is there a byline or an author's name attached to the piece?
6 | Does the About section of the website describe itself as fantasy news or satirical news?
7 | Does a person or an organization that produced the information have any editorial standards?
8 | Does the Contact Us section include an email address that matches the domain, not a gmail or Yahoo email?
9 | Does a quick search for the website name raise any suspicions?
10 | Does the example you're evaluating have a current date on it?
Let's exercise our personal responsibility before sharing news on social media.
Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:
GLENN: All right. Welcome back to the program. So now -- there are ten questions that you need to ask yourself to be able to get -- to be able to detect fake news.
Now, imagine --
PAT: How many questions?
PAT: That's too many. Nobody will do that. They might ask themselves one question. But that's about it.
STU: This is a rough description of what I think every person who is in the media does when they see --
GLENN: This is what we do.
PAT: It is what we do. But will the average person do ten questions?
GLENN: If you want to be free and you want to be a publisher -- this is the thing, I think Facebook should change the word "post" to "publish." You know, I've talked about that for a while. You need to understand that you are a publisher now. You are Simon & Schuster.
PAT: Would anybody care about that? I'm a publisher now. I'm going to be more careful.
GLENN: We have to -- we have to show people. You could post or tweet something that is read by many more people --
GLENN: -- than most books that are published today.
PAT: That's for sure.
GLENN: Okay? You get 100,000 people to retweet -- or, to even read, you've -- you're more read than a published author, many published authors.
STU: Not even close.
GLENN: Yeah. The days of 2 million sellers. Those are over. Those are long gone.
PAT: Except for a select few.
GLENN: Yeah. So it is -- the responsibility is now on you. And so the author has a responsibility -- I can't turn in tripe to Simon & Schuster. I can't turn stuff in that is just -- neither can the New York Times, turn stuff in that is absolute tripe because you have the fact-checkers. And they are hired by the publisher to go through every word and -- can you -- can you prove that? Can you footnote that? Can you give me some evidence of that?
That's why we have -- well, I can't say we trust anybody anymore. But we used to trust the media. And I've -- I've got a reason -- I've got a long list of reasons why I think we don't trust the media and whose fault this is. And it includes us.
Number one on the list is us. We have to be responsible. But there's many reasons why this fake news thing is working. And there's also many reasons why this fake news thing is happening. And not -- and a lot of it is for anarchy purposes. I don't think this is against the Democrats. I think this is somebody who is a burn the whole system down, that started this. I could be wrong.
STU: No, I think you're right. Certainly several of the names in there are people that believe that type of thing.
GLENN: Right. So burn the system down. So they're going to make you smear and make you doubt everyone on all sides and box you into a corner where you have no hope. There's nothing I can do. It's too big. It's too persuasive. It's everywhere. I'm the only one. It's me and you that know the truth.
That's the problem. So here's the thing that my Aunt Joanne is supposed to do before she sends me something: One, gauge your emotional reaction. Is it strong? Are you angry? Are you intensely hoping that the information turns out to be true or false? That's the first thing
STU: Just think about just step one, how difficult that is for most people to do. Like the reason emotion can be an issue in areas like this is because it overwhelms your sense to detect how you feel.
GLENN: And what happens? We know when the human brain is angry or scared, what's the -- what is the natural human response? What happens to the human brain?
Reason shuts down.
GLENN: The -- the animal man -- the -- what do they call it?
PAT: The lizard brain.
GLENN: The lizard brain.
That takes over.
STU: That's why we constantly complain about every -- if there's a tragedy guns, that's not the most appropriate time for new gun legislation.
GLENN: Correct. It's why we have the constitutional balance of power that we have.
GLENN: Everybody says, "Nothing ever gets done in Washington." That was the point. To slow it down -- to slow the process down so the people can never act irrationally.
STU: Right. When you feel passionately about something one day, you don't make the law the next day.
GLENN: Yes. Two, reflect on how you encountered this. Was it promoted on a website? Did it show up in a social media feed? Was it sent to you by someone you know?
Three -- I love this. Does it use excessive punctuation?
PAT: That's a good key.
GLENN: It is. Does it use all caps for emphasis?
I immediately dismiss it if it's a news source that's using all caps or punctuation, like excessive exclamation points.
PAT: Yeah. You know what else you can almost discount immediately, is if it starts out, the FBI has already confirmed this! It's almost always untrue. That's just not true.
GLENN: Does it claim -- does it make a claim about a secret, or is it telling you something that the media doesn't want you to know?
STU: That doesn't mean every -- you know, we complain about media bias. I think the left complains about media bias as well. And just because a story isn't getting a proper attention that you believe it should, that's different than, "You know what, I know a guy at the FBI who is telling me this story is true, and no one will talk about it."
GLENN: This is actually on my list of how this is happening. We don't believe the news. Okay? Nobody really believes the news anymore. It's -- we respect serial killers as much as we respect news people.
PAT: So we don't believe the news. That's the most -- and then we say, "The media is not covering it." As somebody -- I told you. As somebody who didn't read the stereotypical news from the right, I went and got all new sources and was like, "You know what, I'm going to read -- my main source of news was the Huffington Post. I'm going to read the Huffington Post for a month and not read the other side.
Two things happened: One, there was a lot of news that was not covered in the Huffington Post. That the other side covered. But there's also an equal number of stories that were covered in the Huffington Post that the -- that the right didn't cover.
And then on top of it, there was another thing. I heard people say, "Media is not covering it." I know I've said that. "And you're not seeing it in the media anywhere." You know why you're not seeing it in the media? Because you're not watching the media anymore.
You've made your decision of, "I can't trust them, and so I know they're not covering this." Well, yeah, actually they are. You're just not watching those sources. And the sources you are watching are saying -- reinforcing what you already believe. They're not covering this. They don't want you to know that.
STU: And that's the circle that happens with social media because social media recognizes the stories that you like and read. So it gives you more of those. And then you really never see anything --
GLENN: Correct. So social media -- we've self-selected out. If you're on the right, you say, "CNN, that's not a credible source." So you never watch CNN anymore.
So they could be covering everything, you just don't know it. And you'll continue to say they're not covering it, because you don't ever watch them.
The Facebook thing is even worse because it's an algorithm. And the more you like a story, it notices the trends. And so it leaves out all of the stuff -- it's why it is -- it's critical that you follow people you don't agree with. You follow CNN. You follow Fox News, if you're on the other side. You follow the Huffington Post.
You read the stories, and you follow those people. Otherwise, they're going to be weeded out. And your viewpoint is going to get more and more narrow. And depending on what you're liking. If you're liking this stuff, all of a sudden your news is going to be all coming from Alex Jones. Really dangerous. Alex Jones. Daily cost (phonetic), really dangerous. Don't do it.
PAT: Where else are you going to find out about gay frogs?
GLENN: I know. Fluoride in the drinking water.
STU: Did CNN actually cover that story?
PAT: No. No, they didn't. What about the suicidal shrimp? We only found that out from Alex.
JEFFY: Thank you. Oh, my gosh.
GLENN: I know. I know. There is this: They claim to make they're containing a secret or telling you something the media doesn't want you to know. Is anyone reporting on this story? Is anyone else reporting on this story? I would like to add the question: Is there perhaps another reason besides a conspiracy for others not reporting on this story?
Is there a byline or an author's name attached to this piece? You might want to click on that too.
PAT: That's good.
GLENN: Go to the website's About section. Does the site describe itself as fantasy news or satirical news?
Does a person or an organization that produced the information have any editorial standards?
Does the Contact Us section include an email address that matches the domain, not a Gmail or Yahoo email? Does a quick search for the name of the website raise any suspicions? Does the example you're evaluating have a current date on it? Does the example -- how many times have we seen that?
STU: Oh, yeah. That's a big one.
GLENN: Where there's a story that's like five or ten years old.
STU: And they'll just --
PAT: Happens all the time.
STU: Happens all the time.
GLENN: All the time.
STU: They'll just repost it or just reshare it, and all of a sudden, everyone thinks it's new again.
PAT: If you actually went this deep in your investigation, you could almost eliminate fake news.
STU: Right. The problem is there's no incentive for the average person to do this.
STU: We go through this sort of process. Not all of those steps and some that aren't on this -- when there's a story that looks interesting that may or may not be fake.
At this point, we've done it so many times, you can tell by the headline usually or go a little bit into it, you can confirm whether it's real or fake. But the average person -- if we were not in this industry, I would probably look at the headline and judge for myself. And hopefully, overtime, I would come up with judgment that would weed out some of the bad things.
But I would not be taking ten individual steps to -- before I shared a story on Facebook because it's not that big of a deal. I would just do it.
PAT: But if it sounds too fantastical, it probably is.
STU: It probably is.
GLENN: But the problem is also -- again, I go back to the publish button. None of us feel -- some of us share things and go, "Hey, have you heard about this?" Expecting that somebody is going to say, "Oh, yeah, I heard about this. No, that's not true." You know what I mean? I get stuff in my email all the time from people that is really easy to say, "No. This is not true." I get it all the time. People say, "Glenn, can you have your staff look into this?"
No. But you could go to Snopes.com and see not true.
STU: And, of course, Snopes. That's also fake news. That's what they did with the gunman in this pizza shop.
GLENN: I know.
STU: Immediately, the people who were pushing the Pizzagate story said that the gunman going to the pizza shop was just a cover-up.
GLENN: That is the problem -- when somebody says -- how many times have I said -- this has been a mantra. I don't ask you for your trust. I don't want your trust. Don't trust me. And anybody who says, "Trust me," don't trust them. I ask you to listen, engage your brain, and then do your own homework. You have to do your own homework.
Somebody who says, "Oh, believe me, this is absolutely true. No, believe me."
PAT: Believe me.
GLENN: Believe me.
PAT: Nobody would actually just keep saying that though over and over.
JEFFY: No. Because then they would realize -- they would realize that was the point.
GLENN: When they do, do your own homework.
GLENN: That is the -- that is the -- Ben Franklin. What have you given us, Mr. Franklin?" What did he say? A republic, if you can keep it.
PAT: If you can keep it.
GLENN: It requires us to do our own homework. Don't listen to us and say, "Well, I heard it on the Glenn Beck Program." Yeah, you know what, we get it wrong sometimes. If it sounds --
GLENN: If it sounds like it's not right, go check it out. Even if it's from a credible source. You've been wrong. You're expecting everybody else to be absolutely right every time? No.
STU: I can believe the guy that sold me that '84 Dodson though, right? I mean, 612 horsepower in a Dodson. Who -- I mean, that's incredible.
GLENN: Yeah. Who knew? Who knew? Yeah, yeah.
JEFFY: How is that working out?
STU: You know, at the time -- little -- some issue.
PAT: It doesn't work?
STU: It doesn't have an engine.
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