It happens every election season, and this one is no different. All around our state, voters report having received political messages in print, online, and on social media that range from questionable to outright lies. Though many of us probably consider these deceptive practices immoral, sadly, they aren’t illegal. That’s why it is so important to be aware of them.
Sometimes fake news – especially during an election year – is produced and delivered in a way that looks credible. It can be difficult to separate fact from fiction!
To help, the IFT has compiled a list of fake news outlets in Illinois. The organizations and affiliates on this list are not legitimate news sources but extremist groups funded by ultra-wealthy donors (like Bruce Rauner) and corporations with distinct political agendas. Groups like the Illinois Policy Institute, who seek to destroy unions and eliminate our rights, are behind this spreading of misinformation. They try to tap into your biggest fears and cast doubt on the work we do as public servants. If an article, post, or tweet is associated with one of these sources, you can be sure it is fake news.
IFT members and their families can also sign up for NewsGuard, a media literacy tool offered free through a partnership with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). NewsGuard provides a media literacy browser extension and a mobile app that supplies trust ratings for more than 7,500 news and information sites. The ratings are determined by trained journalists based on nine apolitical journalistic criteria; they tell you what standards each site uses in creating its content, who’s behind the site, how it’s funded, and whether you can trust it. Learn more and register here.
Finally, please share this social media graphic, which provides good tips to help you recognize fake news. Teachers and parents, this could be useful for your students and children too!
As November 8 approaches, you’ll undoubtedly be flooded with more political messages. I hope the resources above – combined with your good judgement – will help you separate the lies from the truth.