- At one time, before words were published, they were checked, edited, verified, vetted, sanctioned and approved by a series of people with knowledge and standards.
- In the 21st century, there is little or none of that. Just as anyone can sue anyone for anything, anyone can say—and publish—anything about anyone or anything.
The digital manipulation that makes modern sci-fi movies so realistic could create realistic—and phony—videos of events that never happen.
- Follow multiple media, with different political viewpoints, from different cities and maybe even from different countries.
- Apply common sense. If something seems truly outrageous, it may be not true.
- Ask experts who have been truthful and accurate in the past.
- Don’t automatically accept news, advice or information from people and institutions that want to sell you something.
- Most people know that The Onion publishes untrue satire, but there are many similar but less-known sites such as The Daily Currant and The Borowitz Report. Some satire sites have fine print that explain that they are not to be believed—but some don’t.
- A few days ago I published a satirical post on this blog—but it was taken seriously by at least one person who should have known better.
- Don’t believe anything published on April first.