How to Become a Great Fact-Checker… Fast!

by Dr. David Gruder

The Integrity Warrior’s Guide to Becoming a Great Fact-Checker… Fast!

You and I are being treated by too many people in politics and the media as though we’re too stupid to develop an intelligent opinion unless we are spoon-fed predigested interpretations while being misled into believing these to be facts. This issue may well have become the biggest societal integrity deficit of our time.

Well, I say enough is enough. The real "tea parties" we need, the real "town hall forums" we need, are ones that focus on fact-checking. I don’t for a second believe that we Americans are too stupid to form intelligenct opinions… as long as we have true facts on which to base our opinions.

Here’s the Challenge:

► Do you have a lot of time to dig for the real facts so you aren’t manipulated by the lies that are posing as facts? Of course not!

► How often would you do fact-checking if it only took you a matter of minutes to check whether something is spin or fact? Probably much more than you do now, no?

► Would you invest five minutes to check the facts before deciding what you believe and before you forward to others the information you receive? If so, here’s my "Integrity Warrior’s Guide to Becoming a Great Fact-Checker… Fast!"

My Two Recommended Nonpartisan Fact-Checking Websites:

Three Additional Websites for Checking Rumors, Scams & Urban Legends:

  • www.Snopes.com
  • www.Scambusters.org/scamcheck.html
  • www.UrbanLegends.About.com

A Quick Way to Do Your Own Checking Using Search Engines (like Google, MSN, Bing):

Instructions: Type a topic in your favorite search engine. (For instance, chewing gum seven years digest). Try it with and without adding words like “scam,” “hoax,” “fraud,” “urban legend,” “spin,” “fact check,” etc., to the end of the search phrase… (For instance: chewing gum seven years digest hoax)

Tip: Try only one of these additional words at a time.

Warning: With anything you do this with you are likely to find a website that calls it a scam. So use your judgment when you do these kinds of searches and come across these lone wolves.

Our Opinions are Only as Smart as the Facts We Use to Form Them

The purpose of spin is to manipulate you into forming an opinion based on something other than facts. Getting the facts right is the cornerstone of societal integrity and democracy itself. Becoming a great fact-checker is one of the most important things you can do as a citizen, an educator, a journalist, an activist, or a leader. Have at it!

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