Communication and Rhetoric

The identification, impact, and prevention of fake news

fake news pic

(2017, December 3). ABC News suspends reporter Brian Ross for Michael Flynn reporting error that sparked a frenzy. CNBC. Retrieved from

1. The article discusses the event and impact of ABC News reporter Brian Ross being suspended for four weeks after making a serious fact error on a report about Michael Flynn. Ross initially cited a source told him that then- candidate Trump had Flynn contact the Russians, which would have blown up the investigation of whether Trump colluded with the Russians during the election. ABC was criticized for initially just clarifying instead of correcting the report and had to issue a public apology to their viewers. Then Trump tweeted his congrats to ABC for suspending the fake news reporter encouraging the idea of the news spreading false information. The article then points out the bad timing of this incident with the current political climate trying to make the press out as an enemy to the people. It concludes with the warning the journalist need to more aggressive yet cautious in this current political environment because it’s incidence like this that feed the poisonous narrative toward the press.
2. CNBC did not list an author for this article. It may be because its kind of a sensitive issue. Though even without there being a listed author the piece is still creditable due to its publisher.
3. The audience of this piece is the general public because it’s published on an online mainstream news website. CNBC is a known news station, so it caters to a good chuck of the public, more specifically adult readers.
4. This piece provided an example of an actual real-life news station making a fact error in the current political climate that is hostile toward the media. This article shows a glimpse of the public reaction to a journalist making a fact error in an environment waiting for that moment to label something as fake news. This article is unlike the others because it’s showing what happens when false news actually gets reported by credible news stations. It does speculate on the negative impact of news stations making fact errors like a few of the articles.
5. My topic is supported by this article because it’s showing the impact of fake news being reported by a legit news station. It shows the negative light that will be cast on that reporter, that news station, and the media in general by a society looking for the opportunity to have an example of false news being reported. It also emphasis the need for a balance of caution and aggression to be used my current journalist to minimize incidents like this.

Crate, L. (2017). Fake news vs. real news. Education Digest, 83(1). Retrieved from

1. The article talks about how education needs to incorporate more media literacy courses into middle school; due to the increased difficulty to distinguish real news from fake news. The article encourages the need for educators to teach students to become active citizens. The article then provides these tips for improving media literacy when analyzing information: examine the author and the sponsors, check the source reliability, look at the time and the place of the story, consider the emotions evoked by the story, and consider the technology overload. It then wraps everything up expressing the need for every person to look at every piece of information from a social media post to a news story with a critical eye.
2. The author of the piece, Lisa Crate, is a school media specialist, so she seems pretty credible to be talking about fake news and education. Plus, the piece was picked up for publication by at least two different publications.
3. The source was originally published in the New Jersey Education Association magazine, which geared its audience to be New Jersey educators and followers. However, the piece was then picked up by the Education Digest magazine, which has the even wider audience of teachers, administrators, school board members, parents, and education students not exclusive to New Jersey.
4. This article agrees with some of the other pieces which suggest the need for increased public literacy. This piece focuses more on teachers implementing media literacy classes in middle school and high school; due to the increased difficulty adults have been having in telling the difference between real and false news. This piece also focuses in on specific methods and tips that can be implemented, which is more detailed compared to the other articles.
5. This article fits into my topic, because it talks about solutions to help deal with the increase of fake news. The article suggests that teachers teach students to be active citizens that critically read information versus blindly following the masses. The article then provides a basis for how to teach how to identify truth from lies.

Douglas, K. M., Ang, C. S., Deravi. F. (2017). Reclaiming the truth. Psychologist, 30, 36-40. Retrieved from true&d b=a9h&AN=123108566&site=ehost-live

1. In this article, the author explores the impact of the spread of conspiracy theories in fake news across social media, and how technology may be the key to helping to differentiate what’s true and what’s false news. The authors argue that conspiracy theories are the same fake news because they have no evidence and they stir up unrest. The article provides research to suggest what kind of people may believe and spread conspiracy theories and their reasoning for it. The author also talks about how social media has made conspiracy theories more harmful than they used to be and why. Then the article explores different long-term and short-term solutions to regulate fake news on social media. The author suggests various combinations of education, people power, and technology changes to combat the spread of fake news.
2. The authors are all associated with the University of Kent. Dr. Karen Douglas is a professor of social psychology and director of graduate studies. Her primary research is focused on conspiracy theories. Dr. Chee Siang Ang is a senior lecturer in multimedia and digital systems and is main research focus is human computer interaction with an emphasis on social computing. Dr. Farzin Deravi is a professor and head of information engineering with a wide range of research interests such as pattern recognition, information fusion, computer vision, image processing, fractals and self-similarity, biometrics, bio-signals, and assistive technology. Combining all three authors provides a good wealth of knowledge between human communication and technology.
3. The audience of this article would be academic since it’s published in the “Psychologist”. It would mostly be aimed at those in the psychology field because it publishes different articles on a wide range of psychological topics and human behavior.
4. When compared to the other articles, this one is probably the strongest one, because of all the data and research behind it. This article explores the human behavior that encourages the spread of fake news unlike the other articles. Like the other ones it points out the issues with social media and its algorithms failing at disabling fake news. It talks about how social media has increased the spread of fake news and its harmful impacts like several sources. It also suggests the long-term solution of improving critical thinking, which is also shared among other articles. It also explores some technological solutions like some of the other articles though these solutions vary between articles.
5. This article supports my research topic of identifying the impact of fake news and its prevention, because it explores the impact of fake news and possible solutions to decrease it. The article identifies reasons why people spread fake news and what kind of impacts both negative and positive it can have on society. It also explores how both people and technology can improve to combat fake news.

(2017). Editor & Publisher, 150(5), 6. Retrieved from

1. In the first section “Don’t Blame Social Media for the Rise of Fake News” the author discusses that social media will eventually be replaced with something else, but it isn’t to blame for fake news. It claims that social media is just misguided opinions and that the real fake news is the traditional media that has become a marketing tool for the corrupt. It states the solution for fixing the social media issue is to have traditional media cover the real news. In the fifth section “Platforms Have a Harder Time Controlling Fake News” the author compares the commentary of news websites to social media platforms. It praises publisher companies for regulating comments that are offensive or false and critiques the platforms for claiming that they have no control of commentary. Therefore, the article blames the platform’s lack of regulations, beyond an algorithm, for the rise of fake news and the terrible promotion of real news. The other three sections aren’t important to my point, but talk about local newspapers losing local content, media ownership rules needing to be enforced, and issues with drone reporting.
2. The authors of this article aren’t the most creditable for their credentials, since this article is taken from the letters to an editor page. Therefore, I don’t name them since they don’t give their full names and that’s not the point of referencing this piece. I reference this piece because of the unique outsider viewpoints offered in response to different professional articles. The publisher “Editor & Publisher” most of also noticed the value in the viewpoints expressed since they published them.
3. This text was written for a public audience since it’s taken from letters to the editor, and a part of the Editor & Publisher magazine. It’s specifically is geared toward people involved in the newspaper industry covering business, newsroom, advertising, circulation, technology, online, and syndicates.
4. This article puts the out the unique viewpoint of social media being misguided opinions and not true fake news. This article claims that the traditional media is corrupt by marketing and the true source of fake news. It agrees with the other articles by stating that social media platforms need to work on their regulation of information, especially offensive and false content.
5. This article helps with the topic of identification of fake news, because one section claims that the fake news can be found in the traditional media rather than social media. Another section claims that social media platforms’ lack of content regulations encourages the spread of fake news. One section offers the solution to improve the content of the traditional media and the other provides the suggestion of better effort than an algorithm to regulate platforms’ content. This mainly contributes to my topic by giving an outsider’s unique opinion.

Fabian, J. (2017, October 11). Trump: ‘Fake NBC News’ nuke story ‘pure fiction’. The Hill. Retrieved from

1. In the article, the author states that President Trump denied NBC News’s report over his desire to expand eh U.S. nuclear arsenal and claimed they were trying to demean him. When taking to Twitter, Trump labeled NBC fake news and threated to pull their broadcasting license. He also compared NBC to CNN, which openly goes against Trump, and calls NBC bad for the country.
2. The author of this article is Jordan Fabian, a white house correspondent for The Hill. He’s also worked as a political editor for Fusion and Univision Network. He graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s in history and law and society.
3. The article was published by The Hill, which is a newspaper, so it’s for the public audience. The Hill specializes in political news and boasts being the top U.S. political website.
4. This article gave a current example why fake news can be dangerous. It paints the picture of a president hating on traditional media and that opinion being spread to the public. It also paints the traditional media a bad reputation if they are spreading inaccurate information and trying to demean the president. The truth most likely lies somewhere in the middle, but not all people that read this article will walk away with that conclusion. The one doesn’t have a lot in common with the other articles since it’s more of a current example of how fake news is being used in a negative context. It sort of agrees with the one article talking about how traditional media could be the true source of fake news, but it could also be agreeing with how social media is spreads increases the spread of fake news. With this article being a recent example, it’s harder to say which side if any is correct.
5. This article shows identification of fake news in current time by providing an example of news being called that. Either the president or NBC, has to delivering some sort of false news to create this conflict. It shows the impact of what people can do if they think something is fake news. It portrays the impact on the president by showing his two tweets about NBC being fake news and bad for the country. With this being a live example, the only sort of solution, so far is this article being written and showing both the actions of the president and NBC. It’s trying to show the public both sides, so they can come to their own conclusion of what is fake news in this scenario.

Guardian. (2017, November 16). “Tim Berners-Lee on the future of the web: ‘The system is failing.’ [Twitter post]. Retrieved from

1. The article talks about how Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, who’s always maintained an optimistic attitude toward the internet, is starting to wane in face of the issues of advertising, net neutrality, and fake news. He mentions how the increasingly powerful gatekeepers are challenging the freedom of the web. He talks about how Google and Facebook’s algorithms have increased the spread of fake news and propaganda. This was done through the ad revenue that encouraged Macedonian teenagers to create fake news for financial incentives and the dark ads from Russia the worked to weaponize political ads aimed toward U.S. voters in the 2016 presidential election. With the rollback of net neutrality laws, the issues will only get worse since it will give the gatekeepers the power to pick winner and losers by throttling or blocking services. Berners-Lee is urging people to take a stance against the rollbacks of net neutrality and encourage internet service providers to act more as a utility than gatekeepers in order to preserve the internet as a “permission less service for creativity, innovation, and free expression.”
2. The author of the article “Tim Berners-Lee on the future of the web: ‘The system is failing’”, which is promoted in the Guardian’s tweet is Olivia Solon. She works as a senior technology reporter for The Guardian and formerly for Wired UK.
3. The article is published in The Guardian, which is a news website that covers American and internal news for a global audience. The audience is likely to be public, since it’s in a news website promoting itself on Twitter.
4. The article is similar to others that mention the issue of how Google’s ad revenue encouraged the creation and spread of fake news during the 2016 election, and the Russian political ads that weaponized the AI to influence U.S. voters in the 2016 election. It’s different because it mentions how the rolling back the net neutrality laws to worsen the issue of fake news and manipulated content by empowering the already powerful gatekeepers. The article’s main point is that net neutrality needs to remain, and ISPs need to act more as utility providers than gatekeepers in order to prevent more disasters like these two examples from happening.
5. This article works because it talks about the impact of fake news and the issue that could be potentially worsened with the roll back of net neutrality laws. It mentions instances of where gatekeepers like Google and Facebook created issues of fake news surrounding the 2016 election with ad revenue and dark ads. It emphasis the solution for preventing more issues like that fake news situation from happening is to keep net neutrality and have the ISP act as utility providers rather than gatekeepers.

Herreria, C. (2017, September 27). Mark Zuckerberg: ‘I Regret’ Rejecting Idea That Facebook Fake News Altered Election. Huffington Post. Retrieved from

1. In this article, the author discusses how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg regrets dismissing the idea fake news stories circulating on Facebook played in role in influencing the 2016 election. He said it was wrong since the election was such an important issue for the idea to be dismissed immediately and since his company recently found evidence of $100,000 worth of ads published linked to Russia and aimed at amplifying diverse social and political ideas. Zuckerberg commented this after Trump called Facebook anti-Trump. Zuckerberg also tried to highlight the benefits Facebook played in the election as well by expressing the increase of individuals having a voice in the election and the ability for candidates to speak directly to their base. He also included the campaigns had 1,000 times more ads then any of the 3,000 plus problematic ads Facebook has recovered.
2. The author, Carla Herreria, is a trends reporter that covers issues, media, identity, and culture based in Hawaii but looking at the world for the Huffington Post.
3. The audience is the public because the Huffington Post is an online news site covering various news stories and opinions from politics, entertainment, lifestyle, blogs, etc.
4. The piece offered some insight on someone running a social media platform and how they react to fake news. The piece provided evidence that fake news had the potential to influence the election. It agrees with the articles that state social media spreads fake news that can be influential on society. This article doesn’t present any solutions to fake news like some of the other articles, it just explores the possibility the impact of Facebook’s circulation of fake news.
5. This article supports my identification of fake news, because Zuckerberg admits to it being present on Facebook in at least 3,000 plus ads during the 2016 election. The article also states the possibility that fake news circulating on Facebook could have impacted the results of the election. The article doesn’t explore any solutions to fake news other than the fact Zuckerberg’s a team investigating it.

Pogue, D. (2017). How to Stamp Out Fake News. Scientific American, 316(2), 24. Retrieved from

1. In the article, the author stated fake news will never completely go away. He does state there are hopeful signs for dealing with the issue in the works with Facebook and Google getting rid of their ad-revenue incentive for publishing fake news stories, Facebook getting new policies and algorithms to get rid of the more of the glaring fake news, and having lived through the fake news surge people will be more cynical and take the time to discern the real truth. The article discusses the major issues of fake news with the 2016 election as well. The author brings up some truly outrageous headlines and talks about the issue of clickbait designed by Macedonia teenagers making money off ad revenue. He also talks about how blocking fake news becomes more of a philosophical problem rather than technological when deciding what is truth. He also brings up the issue of people creating echo chambers by customizing what kind of news and people they’re following, when they choose to follow only similar-minded people. In conclusion the author believes that people’s skepticism is the best solution against fake news.
2. The author David Pogue is a tech critic for Yahoo Finance after having worked as a the personal-technology columnist for New York Times for 13 years previously. He’s also a monthly columnist for the Scientific American, a host for science shows on PBS’s Nova, and a CBS Sunday Morning correspondent since 2002. He’s a best-selling how-to author with his Missing Manuel series and a graduate from Yale in 1985 with a distinction in music.
3. The article was published in the Scientific American, which boasts being the longest continuously published magazine in the US. The magazine specializes in science and technology stories and has several renowned writers. The article most likely caters to both a public audience since it’s a magazine as well as science and technology academic audience due to its information.
4. This article goes over the monetary value that fake news producers used to get for advertising by using clickbait. It can be compared to the article that discussed motivations behind fake news, but money wasn’t directly listed as one of the other articles causes for fake news. This article also discussed the inefficient algorithms used by Facebook and Twitter to detect fake news and how they are working to update their technology, which was a common element in other articles. This article disliked the community approach to helping regulate fake news, unlike another article. Although it did agree with other articles on the idea that the customization of news feeds on Google, Facebook, and Twitter was dangerous because it creates echo chambers of the same opinion. It agreed with other articles on the solutions being updated algorithms in social media and people needing to read news more critically. Though this article believes there is no solution to completely get rid of fake news and directly states this unlike the other articles.
5. This article supports my topic because it provides examples of fake news headlines, which helps in the identification of fake news. It also talks about different reasons of why fake news occurs and its impact on society, which covers the impact part of research. The article also explores a combination of three different methods being implemented for combating the fake news, which fits the solution part of my topic. The article also gives the harsh realistic perspective that fake news probably will never be entirely gone and emphasis the need to be more cynical of news.

Slate. (2017, October 12). “Finland has figured out how to combat fake news. Full Frontal thinks the U.S. can follow suit [Twitter post]. Retrieved from

1. The article discusses how Donald Trump has polluted the term “fake news” as any information putting him in unfavorable light rather than original definition of the intentionally false, fast spreading of information on social media. Then the author goes into how fake news isn’t solely a U.S. problem, and explores how Finland’s Director of Communications Markku Mantila handles the issue. Finland combats fake news by teaching government officials how to stop the spread of fake news by not repeating the information in false claims. It also has also teaching students critical reading in schools and skeptism in online information.
2. The author of the article “Finland Has Figured Out How to Combat Fake News. Full Frontal Thinks the U.S. Can Follow Suit.”, which is promoted in Slate’s tweet is Marissa Martinelli. She works as an editorial assistant for Slate, an online magazine for news, politics, technology, and culture.
3. The article is published in Slate which is an online magazine that offers insight and analysis of current events and political news. The audience is likely to be public, since it’s in an online magazine promoting itself on Twitter.
4. The article provides two definitions of fake news, while one article also directly defines it, this one gives an updated definition of how Trump uses the word. This pieces also offers solutions like the other articles, though the stopping of the spread of fake news by avoiding sharing the information even to correct it is unique to this article, and the creation of skeptism in all online information versus just social media also is unique to this article. The other solution of teaching critical reading has been in other articles. This one was also unique because it focused on how Finland was tackling its fake news issue, rather than what the U.S. is doing.
5. This article works for my research because it gives a broader scope of fake news being an issue globally rather than just the U.S. by looking at Finland. This article helps to identify what fake news was in 2016 and what Donald Trump has warped the definition to be in 2017. The article also offers some varied as well as similar solutions to handing fake news from the Finland perspective.

Stoffers, C. Hackett, J. (2017). Fake News, Fake Data: How bad data and misleading graphs are fueling fake news. Scholastic Math, 38 (2), 8-11. Retrieved from

1. In this article, the author talks about how media both real and fake have been using bad graphs and inaccurate data, which leads readers to draw wrong conclusions. It talks about how it’s a new trend for fake news to use professional looking websites and bad data to make it harder for people to recognize things as false information. The bad data is usually warped from true data or made up entirely. Therefore, it emphasis the point of really analyzing where data comes from and how it is portrayed in graphs. The article also brings up how it’s the responsibility of both the media to continue to fact check and the public to point out false information to slow the spread of false news.
2. With this article being on the Texas Wesleyan data base, I assume the authors Carl Stoffers and Jennifer Hackett are somewhat creditable; however, they do not seem to have a strong online presence beyond their article. They could possibly be Jennifer Hackett, Paradigm (LA) director of corporate communications and Carl Stoffers, the associate editor of The New York Times. But with no information other than their names from the article in database, I can’t confirm or deny it.
3. The audience of this article would be students and teachers since it’s published in the “Scholastic Math” magazine. Scholastic tends to focus on classroom education, so it makes sense it would encourage people to use their math skills of reading graphs to be sure stories are backed up with accurate data.
4. This article focuses on analyzing the graphs and data sources of all news stories, which makes it stand out compared to the other articles that tend to focus more on fake news. This one does mention how fake news is harder to distinguish, because of it’s use of bad graphs and data. Like several of the other articles it mentions the need for people to take an active role in pointing out false news; however, it also encourages news providers to tighten up their editorial standards again as well to slow the rise of fake news.
5. This article supports my research topic because it talks about how to identify false news from vague graphs and data used to support it. It also talks about how to decrease false news with a collaborative effort between editors and readers.

Uscinski, J. E. (2017). Fake news freak out: Are internet conspiracy theories ruining America?. Reason, 48(10), 54. Retrieved from

1. The article’s main point is that fake news and conspiracy theories may not have as strong as an effect that people are trying to credit it with. The author discusses several experiments done that portray people are pretty set in their beliefs and can’t be influenced easily and in fact usually are usually more reinforced with their initial belief, even if it’s wrong. The author also states that social media isn’t increasing the spread of fake news any more than it’s spreading things like fact checkers and disbelief in conspiracy theories. The article actually references a study that found conspiracy theories to be more widely believed in societies less connected to the internet, and studies that found belief in conspiracy theories to decrease with the introduction of the internet. The article makes the point that conspiracy theories spread widely before the internet, people don’t automatically believe something they read randomly on the web, conspiracy theories and fake news don’t automatically pop up on the internet, and the internet may give voices to misinformation but it gives a larger voices to authoritative sources of information. The article made the point of New York Times being ranked at 21 in US traffic versus the most popular conspiracy website being ranked at 318. The article points out that the web may have fake news, but it also has the real news as well. The author’s point is the fake news issue isn’t any bigger than it’s been before and people should be more concerned by the risks people are willing to take to crack down on fake news. The isn’t a definitive way to tell right and wrong with perfect accuracy, so people just need to be more critical in what they believe rather than expecting stronger information restrictions.
2. The author, Joseph Uscinski is an associate professor of political science at the University of Miami. He’s also a co-author of the books American Conspiracy Theories and the author of The People’s News: Media, Politics, and the Demands of Capitalism. Therefore, he’s a credible source for talking about conspiracy theories and media in this article.
3. The article is published on Reason, an online magazine that covers politics, culture, and ideas through a neutral opinion that promotes individual choice. The audience is most likely public since its an online news magazine.
4. This article is different from most if not all of my articles because it downplays the role of fake news changing people’s opinions. It doesn’t believe social media has increased the presence of fake news either in fact it believes the opposite. It believes that there should be less regulation on information, unlike several other pieces, because it believes it would risk too much constriction of news. There are pieces that express that concern, but not to the point where they want all information unrestrained. The article does encourage critical reading skills to people like most of the other articles, so people can make their own educated determination of real and fake information.
5. This article fits my topic because it discusses the impact and spread of fake news. This article suggest that the internet and social media hasn’t increased the spread of fake news. It actually says that it’s decreased the belief with all the fact checkers and things available. The article also states that fake news isn’t as impactful as people think it is, because the article talks about studies which portray people are pretty set in their beliefs. The article is actually most concerned with possible restrictions people might create to attempt to decrease fake news.

Zlotnick, R. (2017). CNN just destroyed Trump’s fake news’ message with one tweet. 22 Words. Retrieved from

1. This article focuses on how CNN has started the campaign against Donald Trump’s campaign of #FakeNews. The campaign is called #FactsFirst and is pinned to the top of CNN’s Twitter page. The tweet states, “Some people might try to tell you it’s a banana. #FactsFirst.” Paired with that is a video of an apple, which features a voiceover and subtitles that state, “This is an apple. Some people might try to tell you that this is a banana. They may scream banana, banana, banana over and over and over again. They might put BANANA in all caps. You might even start to believe that this a banana. But this is an apple.” The message is clear: just because something is stated as fake news over and over again doesn’t mean that it is. The article then goes on to talk about people who have retweeted the campaign and their thoughts. Then it wraps up with the message of CNN being run by human beings, which entails some mistakes, but it emphasis that they work to spread the truth rather than cover it up like others.
2. The author of this article is Robin Zlotnick, an associate editor of MajiQuiz and a staff member of Brainjolt media company. As a member of a growing media company with a strong social media presence the story should be somewhat credible.
3. The article was published by 22 Words, which has a strong social media presence. Therefore, it’s for a public audience, especially young adults who are active on social media, like Facebook.
4. The article is different because it focused on a Twitter campaign against Trump wrongly accusing reliable news organizations of writing fake news and alternative facts. Most of the other articles focus on how to identify and handle news that is actually fake while this article focuses on fighting against accurate news being called false. Though it still talks on the topic of fake news like all the other articles.
5. This piece fits into my topic because it talks about the identification of fake news; however, it talks about how there is an issue of correct news being identified as fake news by the president and some of his followers and its impact. It also talks about how CNN is fighting for a solution to this fake news issue with its #FactsFirst campaign on Twitter.

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