You’re in an argument with someone on Facebook, probably an uncle with an alcohol problem, or a girl you made out with once in high school who grew up to be a “vegan witch” with a YouTube channel, or a teenager who discovered Tumblr and now thinks she has a PhD in Sociology; and you ask them to provide a source to back up what they’re saying.
Well if they use any of the following links, you can now officially dismiss them as being not just wrong, but in a certain sense, responsible for the decline of western civilization.
That’s not hyperbole, because our ability to move forward and improve the lives of everyone on the planet depends on a commitment to understanding the world as it is, not as we want it to be. And the first step in this is to ensure that the information on which we base our decisions is actual information, not BS that’s spread either to support an ideology that runs in conflict with objective reality, or just to make a quick buck off the clicks of the people who want to believe it.
Thankfully there’s an emerging backlash against this dangerous nonsense. One digital good samaratin is Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of Communication and Media at Merrimack College. She has compiled a list of the most egregious offenders:
American News X
Associated Media Coverage
Indecision Forever (www.cc.com/indecision)
IJR (Independent Journal Review)
Blue Nation Review
Cap News (twitter.com/capnews)
The Free Thought Project
The New Yorker’s Borowitz Report (satire column)
The Onion (satire)
The Other 98%
The Stately Harold
Crooks and Liars
NCT (New Century Times)
World Net Daily
World News Daily Report
Endingthefed.com (ETF News)
This is the list as of November 2016. To see the most recent updated version, you can click here to see her public Google Doc version of it. As we type this, the document is down from “Too Many Requests”.
The fact that this is down actually warms our angry little heart; it’s a good sign for Humanity
Dr. Zimdars also has tips for not falling prey to suspect news sites, which include:
Avoid websites that end in “lo” ex: Newslo (above). These sites specialize in taking a piece of accurate information and then packaging that information with other false or misleading “facts.”
Watch out for websites that end in “.com.co” as they are often fake versions of real news sources.
Watch out if known/reputable news sites are not also reporting on the story. Sometimes lack of coverage is the result of corporate media bias and other factors, but there should typically be more than one source reporting on a topic or event.
Odd domain names generally equal odd and rarely truthful news.
Lack of author attribution may, but not always, signify that the news story is suspect and requires verification.
Don’t be a sucker, and don’t fall into the mounds and mounds of BS that’s out there. Remember: it’s more important to be right than to believe you are, no matter how uncomfortable it may be to correct your false understanding of a subject with new facts.