Monthly Archives: June, 2014

Why does blatant misinformation persist?

Why does blatant misinformation persist in the face of so much evidence to the contrary? One big reason is money. Another is people’s biases and desires. Combine those two, and the result is almost inevitable: it’s often highly profitable to tell people things they want to hear … no matter how untrue those things might …

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This is how you unmask online hoaxers

A PandoDaily article by Jeremy Massler and Adam L. Penenberg provides a brilliant illustration of how online investigative journalism should work. In their March 26, 2014, article, “Busted! How we unmasked the man behind the Internet’s cruelest celebrity death hoaxes,” Massler and Penenberg describe how persistence and paintstaking research enabled them to identify the man …

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Uncritically quoting sources who are wrong? That’s wrong

Journalist Steve Buttry has an excellent post on his blog about why journalists — not sources — are to blame when news stories prove to be inaccurate. Reporters, he writes, have an obligation to “find the truth and to verify the facts that appear important enough for us to publish” … not to shrug off …

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‘Recursive Fury’ sets off new furies and shocking retraction

As I’ve noted in my book, “Prove It! Fact-Finding Secrets of a Fanatical Online Researcher,” climate change is a “controversial” subject not so much because of the science that supports it — which is solid — but because of its implications for society and the responses that will most likely be necessary. Scientists who research …

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Mindless surfing and critical thinking don’t go together

There’s no doubt the internet is an invaluable research tool. But it can also be a source of pernicious misinformation, astroturfed spin and virulent, hateful, troll-fueled content. As with every technology, it’s how we use the web — for good or for ill — that makes a difference. New research now shows that going online …

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