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Misleading articles and resources span the political spectrum. Add to this that one person’s fake news site is considered gospel by another. Righties and Lefties want to create lists of “real” and “fake” news. They reject each other’s “real” lists and attack one another over their “fake” lists.

I think the solution is to teach information literacy as far and as wide as we can. Give people the tools they need to decide whether an article, book, TV program, Internet clip or meme is worth it. A tool that can be pointed at a resource of any political alignment.

One of the best tools out there is the CRAAP Test in wide use in academic libraries. I’m honestly not sure who first invented it, but you can find it anywhere and its copying appears to be encouraged. Here is a copy and paste from the evaluation page of an Astronomy class guide at University of Alaska Southeast (UAS):

Currency: The timeliness of the information.  When was the information published or posted?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.  Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?

Authority: The source of the information.  What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations?  Is the author qualified to write on the topic?

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.  Is the information supported by evidence?  Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?  Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?  Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose: The reason the information exists.  Is its purpose to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?  Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?  Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Who decides these criteria? Aside from currency (does it purport to be from now but actually from 2004?) and spelling errors, YOU do. You make the judgments based on these criteria and decide for yourself whether is source is credible. If you can explain why you find something credible, it may help persuade other people the source is credible.

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