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Basic Library Instruction: Examples of Fake News and Headline Bias

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How do you Know it is Fake News?

Example 1



Since 2003, Natural News has been dealing in conspiracy theories, particularly around vaccines.  

This article demonstrates the common technique of adding multiple links to appear as though the news story is presenting evidence from outside sources, but the links take the reader to other articles on the Natural News site, or other suspicious sites such as or  

Example 2

Images from the 'The Simpsons' showing Donald Trump's announcement of his presidential candidacy are from 2015, not 2000.


The Seattle Tribune is a fake news site, modeled to look like a legitimate news website. The fake story of an Idaho mother sentenced to prison for breastfeeding continues to be shared on Facebook. These sources exclusively use humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people

Example 3



This example was tweeted by Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Fact checking site Politifact posted an analysis of these statistics and rated it "pants on fire." 

  1. Image is meant to provoke fear, and feeds racist narrative of violent young black men. 
  2. Statistics do not account for the much smaller proportion black Americans versus the overall population. If proportion is taken into account, black Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than whites.
  3. Statistics available for 2015 from the FBI demonstrate that these numbers have been reversed. Approximately 81% of whites were killed by whites, approximately 16% of whites were killed by blacks. 
  4. There is no such entity as the "Crime Statistics Bureau," the creators of this graphic co-opted the visual indicator of an authoritative source in order to mislead their audience.