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Central High School Library Home Page: Fact vs. Fiction

Media Literacy

What is Media Literacy?

Watch these videos to learn about Media Literacy.

How Can We Evaluate Sources?

One way to evaluate sources is to use the SIFT Method. Click below to learn how to SIFT.  

Source: Mike Caulfield

AND Use this infographic to help you figure out whether the news you encounter is credible. 




Lateral Reading

How can I fact-check on my own?

How can you fact-check what you're reading? Use these tools below!

The MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network (TFCN) publishes daily fact-checks for teenagers, by teenagers. The program is a verified signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network’s code of principles.

In 2020, the TFCN is focused on fact-checking social media content related to the novel coronavirus. Our team of teen fact-checkers — reporting from more than a dozen states in the U.S. — has published more than 50 fact-checks related to COVID-19 as of May 7.

TFCN fact-checks are unique in that they both debunk misinformation and teach the audience media literacy skills so they can fact-check on their own. On average, 86% of respondents polled on the MediaWise Instagram account recently reported they were more likely to fact-check on their own after watching a TFCN fact-check story.

Follow @MediaWise on TwitterInstagramTikTokFacebook and YouTube to see new fact-checks posted daily and learn how you can apply to be part of this program.


Source: CommonSense Media (sign in with Clever) 



Conversation Starters about News Diets--Where Do We Get Our News?

Conversation starters about our news diets:

  1. Who or what influences where we get our news?  
  2. In what ways does access to technology make us more or less informed? 
  3. How does where and how we get our news impact our understanding of the world?

Begin by clicking on the link below to take a survey about your news diet. 


Click on the link below to see how other teens answered the same questions. 


Use the source below to discover how news diets differ among age, race, place, and how they change with as technology changes. 

“Many Americans Get News on YouTube, Where News Organizations and Independent Producers Thrive Side by Side” (Pew Research Center).
A revealing new study from the Pew Research Center drives home just how central YouTube has become in many Americans’ news diets. About a quarter of U.S. adults turn to the video-sharing platform for news, but only about half of the news channels on YouTube are associated with established news organizations. According to the study, independent channels — or those without a clear affiliation with an organization — post much of the remaining news content. These channels are often personality-driven and more likely to cover conspiracy theories or approach subjects with a negative tone.

How Do We Uncover Our Own Bias?

What is implicit bias?

Implicit bias is about embedded (but often invisible) ways of thinking that influence the way we interact with others. Prof. Dolly Chugh suggests that this "fog" of cloaked associations comes from sources such as media, news, conversations we hear at home, and our education.

NYT/POV's Saleem Reshamwala unscrews the lid on the unfair effects of our subconscious in this video below.

We all have implicit biases, but how do we recognize them?

Click below to take an Implicit Association Test.

OR Click on the All-Sides link to examine your biases. 


Does this visual help you understand biases even better?


And how can we decode media bias?

Conversation starters about Media Bias

  1. Where do people in the US get their news?
  2. How do media organizations decide to cover stories? 
  3. How does news selection amplify one’s political views? What can we do about it?
  4. What is a news bubble? We have access to fact-checking data at our fingertips, why might news bubbles exist?  
  5. Do we have an obligation as citizens to move beyond our news bubbles?

Watch this video about getting unstuck.

Americans are stuck in social media news bubbles that block exposure to opposing points of view. Here you'll get concrete advice from leading media experts on how to break free and get fully informed. Narrated by Glynn Washington.


Social Media: Is Your Breaking News Broken? 

The internet and social media give us tools to find out what’s happening almost instantly – sometimes even in real time. But how much can we trust the breaking news we see online? In this video, hear from two experts on the topic -- Renee DiResta and David Barstow -- as they break down some of the ins and outs of how we interpret the breaking news we see online.

TED Playlist: How to Pop Our Filter Bubbles 


Can we trust the news? Conversation starters

Can we trust the news? Conversation starters.

  1. Can reliable sources show bias? What responsibilities do journalists have to be fair and accurate in their reporting? 
  2. Whose voices need to be heard? 
  3. Who in power should be held accountable for inaccurate or misleading information? 

It seems like any news report shared on Twitter or YouTube is inundated with "fake news" claims: comments calling out something for being "liberal propaganda" or "paid for by Russia." Most often these claims are just a way of dismissing facts or analysis that someone disagrees with.

The thing is, there are bigger, more harmful examples of bias and bad reportage. These rare but educational incidents get lost in the flurry of baseless "fake news" accusations. Case in point: Mark I. Pinsky at Poynter issued a powerful report on the shameful role Southern newspapers like the Orlando Sentinel and the Montgomery Advertiser played in normalizing and covering up injustice, racism, and violence against Black people in the decades following the Civil War, through the civil rights movement, and continuing today. Here we have an actual, high-stakes example of the news getting something wrong. It's important for students to examine cases like this -- and the political contexts surrounding them -- to build a more informed understanding of "fake news."

Read about a newspaper's shameful and racist past and consider what factors might influence how the news is covered today. 

Montgomery Advertiser's apology for its coverage of lynchings. The newspaper was edited by a Confederate veteran who had a position of power and a vested interest in minimizing the damage of lynchings and blaming victims.

And then read the Poynter report below to learn more.



The Seven Standards of Quality Journalism

Source: The News Literacy Project

News about Fake News

  • Note: This Twitter thread from Tommy Shane, of First Draft, explores how the design and functionality of TikTok’s new misinformation labels may impact their effectiveness.
  • Also note: In a Feb. 7 Bloomberg opinion column, Cass R. Sunstein argues that because we are all vulnerable to “truth bias” — the persistent sense that there is at least some truth to everything we hear — labeling misinformation online doesn’t reverse its effects.
  • Discuss: What kinds of misinformation have you seen on TikTok? If you were the CEO, how would you go about addressing misinformation and other harmful content on TikTok? Is labeling misinformation an effective way to limit its effects? Do you think social media platforms should just ban or remove all misinformation? Would this be possible? Why or why not?
  • Related: “TikTok takes on the mess that is misinformation” (Danielle Abril, Fortune).

Viral Rumors Rundown

Viral Rumor Rundown 2/9/21

NO: Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene did not say “If English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for us.” YES: This quote has been used to deride various public officials since at least 1976. YES: A version of the quote also appears in this Los Angeles Times report from 1970.


NO: Fox News did not fail to cover Brian Sicknick, the U.S. Capitol Police officer who died following the Jan. 6 insurrection, lying in honor in the Rotunda. NO: The news clips in this TikTok video do not all show coverage from the same date and time. YES: Fox News was criticized for devoting significantly less time than the other networks to President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden paying their respects to Sicknick late in the evening on Feb. 2. YES: Fox News carried a live feed of the memorial ceremony for Sicknick on Feb. 3 for about 24 minutes — from approximately 10:30 a.m. ET until about 10:54 a.m. ET — during America’s Newsroom hosted by Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino.

Note: The links above are from the Internet Archive’s television archive. The Fox News archive reflects the network’s West Coast broadcast and shows times in the Pacific time zone.

Idea: Show students this recording of the TikTok (note that this version has been edited to protect the user's privacy and cut a profanity from the end), then ask for their reactions: How does this make you feel? What would you do if you encountered this online? If no students question the accuracy of the claim, ask: Is this strong evidence that Fox News did not carry any of the ceremonies honoring Sicknick? Is there a way to verify this claim? Then introduce students to the Internet Archive’s television archive, help them confirm the dates Sicknick was lying in honor at the Capitol (Feb. 2 and 3), and locate the actual coverage from Fox News and other networks.

★ Featured rumor resource: Watch your inbox tomorrow for a set of classroom-ready slides that walk students through the main parts of fact-checking this viral TikTok video.


NO: Dominion Voting Systems machines were not used in Myanmar’s November 2020 election. YES: Voters in Myanmar vote via paper ballot. YES: The democratically elected government in Myanmar was overthrown in a coup on Feb. 1 after leaders and supporters of the military — which used to rule the country — falsely claimed that the election was fraudulent.

Related: “QAnon Conspiracy Theorists Are Emboldened by the Coup in Myanmar” (EJ Dickson, Rolling Stone).


NO: There is not only one airplane that is called Air Force One. YES: The “Air Force One” call sign is used for any airplane with the president of the United States on board. YES: There are smaller planes — like the C-32 model that President Joe Biden took to Delaware on Feb. 5 — in the fleet that the Air Force uses to transport the president. YES: The two planes most commonly referred to as “Air Force One” are based on the Boeing 747 airframe, like the one pictured at the top of this meme. YES: As Snopes reported, former President Donald Trump also used the C-32 as Air Force One.

Note: This is a narrative fragment of the QAnon conspiratorial belief system that persists in maintaining the delusion that President Biden’s inauguration was fake and that he is not actually president.


NO: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not issue an order “demanding” that people wear two masks. YES: The CDC on Jan. 29 issued an order requiring passengers and operators of public transportation to wear a mask “made with two or more layers of a breathable fabric that is tightly woven” starting on Feb. 2. NO: The recommendation to ensure that cloth masks have multiple layers of fabric is not new and was made earlier in the pandemic.

Note: As (linked above) points out, following the sourcing of this distorted claim about the CDC order is a case study in how false assertions often spread online. The Ron Paul Institute cites ZeroHedge, a far-right libertarian site that began as a financial blog but expanded into conspiracy theories and fringe commentary. ZeroHedge credits a website called Planet Free Will, which attributes the story to the notorious conspiracy and health supplement outlet Infowars, which is owned by conspiracy theorist and provocateur Alex Jones.


The Sift from the News Literacy Project


More Teacher Resources

Introducing Lateral Reading before Research

We The Voters | PBS LearningMedia › collection › wethevoters

Before the 2016 Election, PBS Education partnered with We The Voters, a nonpartisan digital project featuring short films to activate voters across the country.

Games and Quizzes

The Spot-The-Troll quiz is an educational tool to help the public learn to spot the markers of inauthenticity in social media accounts. Can you spot a troll?

Source: The Clemson University Media Forensics Hub presents:

Take the quiz to test whether you can sort fact from fiction related to COVID-19 information. The World Health Organization called the deluge of information and misinformation about the pandemic an “infodemic’ for good reason.


The best way for you to help reduce misinformation online is to avoid sharing it. But can you tell the difference between social media posts that are false or misleading and those that are credible?

Source: The News Literacy Project  

The Bad News Game puts players in the position of the people who create manipulative news stories, and as such gain insight into the various tactics and methods used by ‘real’ fake news-mongers to spread their message.

Source:DROG (, 


Can you spot "fake news"? Try Factitious and find out! [Works on Firefox & Chrome only.]

Sources: JoLT &  The American University Game Lab


Create Your Own Clickbait Headlines

3 Resources about Comparing Perspectives in the News

GET TO KNOW WHAT THE OTHER SIDE THINKS A website designed to open your mind by showing you what you‘re missing in current eventshistoric conflicts and classic debates due to filter bubbles.

ALLSIDES allows users to see different political perspectives is the same news stories. Stories are labeled as left, center, or right of the political spectrum. 

GROUND NEWS allows users to see perspectives in news coverage based on political bias, time, and location. 


Conversation Starters: What is polarization and how does it affect the news?

  1. Why is the US so polarized? 
  2. How does polarization influence decision making? Can we find common ground? 
  3. Who benefits from polarization? How do you know?
  4. Are there polarized news narratives that events fit into?  

More Resources 

Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).