As a lifetime newser and current provider of donor-supported news, I have some thoughts on how to avoid fake news, whether or not government or business is “helping you” (= trying to run your life for their benefit).
1. If you rarely read or hear ideas that challenge you (and freak out whenever you do), please try – really really try – to get out more. Don’t demand rules for the vast throng of adults who have learned mature judgment through regular practice.
2. Treat all news as if it were advertising. What aren’t they telling us? is a good start. Listen to the competition. Avoid people who want to spare you the trouble of thinking or deciding. Don’t make a decision until you have to. No one needs me to say this. Experience teaches us but it costs more.
3. Remember that the media have always been, inevitably, full of fake news. You just didn’t know that before. When media were fewer and more limited and professionalized, few people saw how news is made. So it was just not as obvious as it is today.
Last August I wrote a piece on ten everyday types of fake news, Extra!! Extra!! (for example, cost-free puff predictions).
If I have time, I will write a piece this August on ten more types of fake news. Come to think of it, I never got round to the “hot weather story”… Was too busy at the time…
See also: Part I: What is fake news? Do we believe it?
Part II: Does fake news make a difference in politics?
Part III: What can we do about fake news that would not diminish real news? Critics of ‘fake news’ should go to China — only the government has the right to post fake news.
Extra! Extra! A handy guide to the everyday normal fake news: Surviving information overload