CHECKING FACTS WITH SNOPES, FACTCHECK & POLITIFACT
The internet is loaded with information--but much of it is inaccurate. Three student readings examine three reliable factchecking sources--Snopes, FactCheck, and PolitiFact. Discussion questions, writing assignments and opportunities for group work follow.
By Alan Shapiro
Student Reading 1
Snopes: the Internet"cesspool"
- Kenya put up a sign to welcome people to the "birthplace of Barack Obama."
- A global warming advocate froze to death in Antarctica.
- A man put on a woman's dress and snuck into one of the Titanic's lifeboats.
- Obama was born in Kenya. (A false report, though his father was born in Kenya.)
- Obama's middle name is Hussein, and he is a Muslim. (The first part of this report is true, the second part is false: Obama's middle name is Hussein, but he is not a Muslim.)
Student Reading 2
FactCheck: "proceed with caution"
- President Obama has (or has not) been an effective president.
- The Republican Party was right (or wrong) about the health insurance reform bill.
- The best (or worst) senator is _____.
Student Reading 3
PolitiFact: "separating fact from fiction"
When the US"first created the federal income tax, frankly, nobody below a million dollars a year paid anything." (Georgia Republican Newt Gingrich) False.
"Americans now spend 100 days out of the year working for government before we even start working for ourselves." (Sarah Palin) Mostly True.
- "The fact is, in the past year we have had more tax cuts than almost anytime in our nation's history." (Tennessee Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen) Half True.
This lesson was written for TeachableMoment.Org, a project of Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility. We welcome your comments. Please email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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