Build Your Own Baloney Detector

A tool-kit for avoiding being fooled

Friday, June 7, 2013

Confirms My Biases

I’ve noticed a lot of bogs/satirical stories lately getting picked up by the media or by social media lately. It might just be my own perception, of course, but things seem to be on the uptick. Especially the satirical stories. Perhaps it’s because there are more and more places online to find satirical news. Many people know not to believe The Onion, but other sites are harder to know about.

Here’s a rule I try to follow: if a story seems to confirm my political/ethical/musical/culinary beliefs, be more skeptical. Especially if it seems like it’s a little too on the nose. It seems unlikely that all of my political opposites are horrible people who do really crass or cruel things, so any story suggesting that this is the case probably needs more caution. Then I trace back to the source and try to figure out if it’s a legit media source. Often, the site is either clearly a satire site or clearly a highly biased site. Either way, not good.

(Why should you check before sharing these kinds of stories? Apart from wanting to be right for its own sake, you don’t want to be the person who spreads crazy untruths. If you really want to deliver a blow to your ideological foes, you want your best shot to really count. So make sure it’s accurate.)

posted by John Weiss at 18:00  

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