Source credibility is key to derailing fake news

fake news
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Fake news is a threat to American democratic institutions and false information can have far-reaching effects. A new study provides a roadmap for dealing with fake news.

Research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides new evidence that people's beliefs about the source of information affects how they take in that information, even at the level of their automatic responses. They also found that new information can modify or even undo existing impressions caused by fake news.

"We wanted to know whether offering information about the source of news matters for people's gut-level, automatic reactions," said Melissa Ferguson, co-author on the paper and psychology professor at Cornell University. "Does knowing that something is fake have lingering pernicious effects that can later shape and influence our thoughts and behavior toward the person? Our studies suggest that establishing credibility for is the right policy to combat ."

Ferguson and her fellow researchers conducted seven experiments with more than 3,100 participants to assess how the truth value of new information about others affected both their reported feelings and their gut-level, automatic reactions. The experiments ranged from using video games and narratives of intergroup conflicts to studies featuring an individual named Kevin.

Researchers used Kevin to assess how attitudes toward him changed depending on what information was provided. In one experiment, Kevin was depicted positively. Participants were then told something disturbing, including that he had been arrested for abusing his wife. Researchers found that when news about the arrest came from police reports, gut-level attitudes toward Kevin immediately became more negative. But when that information was attributed to a friend of Kevin's ex-girlfriend, participants retained their toward Kevin.

"In other words, whether participants thought this new information was true determined even their automatic feelings," the researchers wrote. "And, in a separate experiment, this occurred even if participants initially thought the was true and only later discovered that it was from a questionable source."

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More information: Jeremy Cone et al, Believability of evidence matters for correcting social impressions, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2019). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1903222116
Provided by Cornell University
Citation: Source credibility is key to derailing fake news (2019, May 8) retrieved 19 October 2019 from
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May 08, 2019
Fake news is a matter of opinion. One persons credible source is probably another person's fake news. No one has the right to sensor any news. If it's offensive, don't look at it. It may be perfectly fine to plenty of others.

May 08, 2019
"Source credibility is key to derailing fake news" So Ad Hominem attacks work best? Better than the truth?

May 08, 2019
Fake news is a matter of opinion.
You inadvertantly nailed it. "Real" news is factual, not a matter of opinion. What's needed is a citizenship that can tell the difference between factual news and mere opinion. A citizenship that knows how to find sources that consistently produces factual information and does not spin or just make stuff up ("alternative facts".) A society that can't tell what is factual and what is not is in very serious trouble. It will quickly find itself being controlled by charlatans who spread disinformation for fun and/or profit.

May 08, 2019
Fake news is a very specific and well-defined technical term. It is not a matter of opinion.

May 08, 2019
In my experience even referring to authoritative resources doesn't change someone's mind in many cases. I've pointed people to the latest data from the leading international resources on, for example, global temperature or sea level rise from satellite measurements, meteorological stations and tide gauges so they can check it for themselves. Most often they persist in ideas that clash with what the data says. It is rare to find someone who is open-minded.

It probably depends more on how fervently the person wants to believe the "fake news"; a lot like religious belief. If we think that our identity and value system is tied tightly to that belief, it resists change.

May 08, 2019
A lot of news has been fake, or more often, overexaggerated or underexaggerated. Most of this alarmist fake news stuff comes from the biggest and most well funded pushers of propaganda who have vested interests in manufacturing consent for foreign wars, wealth extraction schemes of parasitic rentier class elites, and disenfranchasing foreign and now domestic workers. Reputable sources (i.e. university scholars, historians, investigative journalists actually travelling to areas and doing extensive research) are exactly what the so called non-fake establishment 'news' when Clintonites derailed the fairness doctrine. Yesterday it was Gulf of Tonkin and Weapons of mass destruction...and now Russia-gate, Venezuela, & Iran. If anything, people are better informed. Our CIA funds WaPo and meets with Hollywood execs, with US tax dollars to boot. If the establishment had any incentive for real news instead of propaganda, they'd do it themselves.

May 08, 2019
Fake news is a matter of opinion.
- JamesG

Yes, just like reality is a matter of opinion.

May 08, 2019
If all news presented today by the networks stuck to unadulterated facts and no opinion (and of course no bias), then it would be very easy to fact check and confirm sources. But sadly that is not the case. News is presented in 60-sec snippets, with more opinion than facts, and bias is evident everywhere you look. This is really what the persons opposing "fake news" usually mean when they use the term. And this cannot be overcome by using credible sources. It must start by weeding out biased journalists. But then you might not have any remaining!

May 08, 2019
One of the best ways to identify fake sources is to watch what they claim, and then see if it turns out to be true. If it doesn't, watch out; that source is unreliable. This takes patience, and most people aren't very patient.

People have apparently forgotten Karl Rove and Carl Schmitt. Rove once claimed,
...when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.

Schmitt was protected by Goring for his work on propaganda for the Nazis.

None of this is new. But people are not patient, and they forget. Santayana has been misquoted as saying,
those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
And that's not fake news.

May 08, 2019
fake news about fake news ; airstrip one

May 08, 2019
FUD is a common fake news strategery. It's easy to spot: posts that seek to seed false narratives always turn out to be wrong. Eventually they will be found out, but a lot of damage can be done before they are.

May 09, 2019
Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
The Works of George Santayana

May 09, 2019
All news is "Fake" today. Pretty much every news outlet is agenda driven whether they admit to it or not. Just look at the difference in news coverage and attitude between President Trump and President Obama. Also the research is correct in that people tend to trust the news sources that present the "News", really propaganda is a better term, in a manner that agrees with their personal beliefs.

May 09, 2019
Saying all news is "fake" is a bit of a stretch. Faux News was clearly established to be a conservative propaganda mouthpiece. That's from the mouths of its own founders. It feels as if, given the conservative audience sucked towards Faux, the others took a more moderate/liberal stance by default, but I think that is mostly in their opinion shows, less so with the hard news. (My opinion...) This hits at another problem, the increasing commercial pressure on news, which leads to clambering for audience/views with exaggeration/spectacularization (clickbait).

May 09, 2019
The press [NYtimes] was founded on fake news , that was their business ! now look at this google search ,' history of fake news '' . not one mention of this history.


May 09, 2019
CU singling out Fox News as biased while not mentioning CNN just illustrates the depth of the problem. I think that Fox is a middle of the road outlet. This is why the news should NEVER be censored. No one can judge the validity of any story until years have gone by. Even then, history is rewritten at will to fill the needs of the people in power i.e. the .1%.

May 09, 2019
Why the recent concern about "fake news"? It's as old as human history. We are a gullible lot. Newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV have propagated misinformation for a long time.

The drama about fake news is all about alternative media, easily available on the Interwebs now, gaining enough traction to displace the "mainstream media" and a Presidential election (2016) that was supposed to have been won by the dreary, uninspiring candidate—the darling of the predominantly left-leaning media—but was instead won by the person who campaigned harder and smarter and in more places and won the majority of states.

The leftists are still in a tizzy about it and blame the loss on—wait for it—"fake news" (in other words, not their narrative) corrupting the minds of voters. The left-leaning media used to have a monopoly on misinformation. They don't like having their narrative challenged by an alternative media that can reach a lot of people.

May 09, 2019
One does have to question why "all science" is "fake news" for some people. It is hard to avoid labeling them "paranoid psychotic conspiracy theorists."

May 10, 2019
A science that changes historical data in order to prove the validity of its predictions is certainly fake.

May 10, 2019
@MR is just lying again. I won't even bother to ask for references; they'll all be fake news like Breitbart or StormFront or some other horseshit site.

C'mon, dude, a bunch of scientists faked up the data and nobody noticed?

Get medication for your paranoid psychosis. No one on physorg can help you. Nor anyone else on the Internet.

May 10, 2019
nobody was supposed to notice ,

but phd thesis audits climate data Among the many errors found by McLean were:

Large gaps where there is no data and where instead averages were calculated from next to no information. For two years, the temperatures over land in the Southern Hemisphere were estimated from just one site in Indonesia.
Almost no quality control, with misspelled country names ('Venezuala" "Hawaai" "Republic of K" (aka South Korea) and sloppy, obviously inaccurate entries.
Adjustments – "I wouldn't be surprised to find that more than 50 percent of adjustments were incorrect," says McLean – which artificially cool earlier temperatures and warm later ones, giving an exaggerated impression of the rate of global warming.
Methodology so inconsistent that measurements didn't even have a reliable policy on variables like Daylight Saving Time.

May 10, 2019
Sea measurements, supposedly from ships, but mistakenly logged up to 50 miles inland.
A Caribbean island – St Kitts – where the temperature was recorded at 0 degrees C for a whole month, on two occasions (somewhat implausibly for the tropics)
A town in Romania which in September 1953, allegedly experienced a month where the average temperature dropped to minus 46 degrees C (when the typical average for that month is 10 degrees C).
Yet this is the temperature record from which the IPCC has formed its judgement that the "global warming"

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