Over the course of my education, teachers and professors reinforced multiple times the need to assess the credibility of sources of information. There are external cues — like the people and organizations that testify to the source’s credibility — and there are internal cues. Is the author constructing his or her argument so as to mislead or to inform? For example, are the sources cited and comprehensive, thereby showing an interest in the author in having readers check his or her claims?
The gang of anonymous activists in Tiverton who serve as the plants in the crowd for those who support the status quo and oppose my friends and I locally illustrate the point very well, having set up yet another anonymous Web site with the same URL as my group’s TivertonFactCheck.org, except with dot-com. Call it “Tiverton FakeCheck.”
Over time, we will undergo the tedious work of reviewing their factual claims, which range from debatable to misleading to plainly wrong. In the meantime, I’ve put up a post reviewing some of the cues that show the different intentions of the two sites:
The bottom line is that FakeCheck is not how people act when they’re trying to clarify the public debate. It’s how they act when they want to create fog and get people to vote based on hatred, fear, and some of our other more-base emotions. …
For now just keep an eye on how they argue. It’s the same old Tiverton 1st tactic of insult and manipulation for political benefit. Judge both sides for how we act, and use every resource available to you to make up your own mind about what the truth is.
UPDATE (9/19/14 1:25 p.m.):
I’d like to thank FakeCheck for providing an excellent case study for finding cues as to intention and credibility, which I’ve addressed in another post on Tiverton Fact Check.