You Can’t Handle the Truth!

Actually you can, but first you need to be able to recognize it. St. Louis Public Library has some great resources - including our librarians and staff - to help you evaluate the veracity of the information that is swirling around us, especially over the internet.

First, it is important to know what “fake news” is - and is not. Here is a pop quiz (answers provided for your convenience).

"Fake news" can be defined/described as (choose one or more):

Politifact’s 2016 Lie of the Year (1)

News that runs counter to your beliefs or point of view

A big problem (2) 

Sloppy journalism

✔ News stories that have no factual basis but are presented as facts (3)

Satire or parody

To further assist you with your exploration of the importance of journalism, the issues facing news consumers and social media user, and your quest for ever improving media literacy, we also provide a list of SLPL resources that we hope you find to be of interest and/or of use, as well as this cheat sheet from WNYC’s On The Media.

OTM Breaking News Handbook

When in doubt, ask a librarian - at SLPL you can come visit us in person, or:

  • call 314 241-2288 during Central's business hours
  • email webref@slpl.org
  • text 66746 & begin message with "askslpl" followed by a space
  • or use the "Live Chat" link

Be careful out there!

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  1. Angie Drobnic Holan, "2016 Lie of the Year: Fake News," Politifact, December 13, 2016, http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2016/dec/13/2016-lie-year-fake-news/, accessed on January 31, 2017.
  2. Fake news stories can have real-life consequences. On Sunday, police said a man with a rifle who claimed to be 'self-investigating' a baseless online conspiracy theory entered a Washington, D.C., pizzeria and fired the weapon inside the restaurant. So, yes, fake news is a big problem.” Wynn Davis, "Fake or Real? How to Self-Check the News and Get the Facts,"  NPR, December 5, 2016, http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/12/05/503581220/fake-or-real-how-to-self-check-the-news-and-get-the-facts, accessed on January 31, 2017.
  3. Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkow, "Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election," January 2017, http://web.stanford.edu/~gentzkow/research/fakenews.pdf, accessed January 31, 2017.
We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of St. Louis Public Library