Cracked.com reminds us how to spot BS

One of Cracked.com‘s feature articles today list the main reasons why our website, Doubtful News, exists and shows you how to spot a bad news story right off the bat.

5 Easy Ways to Spot a B.S. News Story on the Internet.

The 5 reasons listed are:

* It’s World-Changing News from Some Obscure Website

* It’s From the F**king Daily Mail (or Another U.K. Tabloid)

* It’s Predicting Some Future Disaster by a Strangely Specific Date

* It’s a Poll Disguised as a News Story

* It’s About a Miracle Cure for Obesity, Cancer, or Clean Energy

It’s well worth a read, so head on over there and read it through.

We here at Doubtful News especially agree on the part about Daily Mail and other UK tabloids (we’d add Natural News to that list) and rarely use those as a source. But as you’ll notice, these are a good guide to spotting a bogus story.

This is a good time to remind readers of our mission. It’s not a debate site, it’s a way to focus on news story with a critical eye – what you should look out for, the questions to ask, the red flags to spot. We provide the alternate view from a credulous media. If you hear one of these stories going round the internet, please link to the Doubtful News version for that other angle. We very much appreciate it.

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  15 comments for “Cracked.com reminds us how to spot BS

  1. February 27, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Another site I’m seeing more and more wackiness coming from is myscienceacademy.org. They seem to be a garbage aggregator that collects silly stories from all over the web.

  2. RayG
    February 27, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    #6: “Scientists are ‘baffled’, blah, blah…”

  3. Chris Howard
    February 27, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    I’m starting to agree with the statement “The Internet is the vanity mirror of the demented.” more, and more these days.

    Present company excluded, of course. ;-)

    Cracked kind of amazes me with the quality of their OP/EDs, much of the time.

  4. Graham
    February 27, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    You forgot the Huffington Post

    • February 27, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      Graham: Actually the Huffington Post does have good pieces, they are just a bit too uncritical of what they allow. They don’t necessarily DELIBERATELY make the stories more ridiculous like Natural News and Daily Mail, The Sun, etc.

  5. drwfishesman
    February 27, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    I posted this on my Google+ page and from the responses so far, I’m learning people are unaware the http://www.cracked.com is a humor site.

  6. snoma
    February 27, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Cracked was in a way, along with Snopes, my internet gateway to skepticism and science appreciation.

  7. F89
    February 27, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    I like this:
    “I swear that 95 percent of the misinformation on the Internet could be stopped in its tracks if people would just take a few seconds to look at the source of the amazing headline they just read before hitting the Facebook “share” button.”

    A funny way of reminding folks to analyze the information, and be skeptical enough to NOT take somting posted at face value.

  8. Graham
    February 28, 2013 at 1:51 AM

    Sharon: If you search for “Huffington Post” on Oracs Blog, you’ll understand why I find it hard to trust material from that source.

    • February 28, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      I’m with you when it comes to alt med. They do let wacky views in but I can’t discard them entirely. Really depends on the writer.

  9. Russell G.
    February 28, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    I’d add to that list:
    All of Alex Jones’s sites
    All political partisan sites (FreeRepublic, DemocraticUnderground, etc.)
    All sites that have been predicting an “imminent” energy shortage for the last 5+ years

  10. Phil
    March 1, 2013 at 1:24 AM

    Russell, your political sites warning is well taken. However some sites are more partisan and truthful than others. As we have seen from the last election, one party does seem to live in a larger bubble than the other. I would say if you see it on a political site, check its sources.

    • Chris Howard
      March 1, 2013 at 8:43 AM

      I think the general rule should be if it is of interest, or importance, always check the sources.

  11. Phil
    March 1, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    Graham, I understand your opinion of the Huffpo. While it has interesting political articles I wouldn’t trust it on science as far as I could throw my Desktop.

  12. One Eyed Jack
    March 1, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Have to disagree with you, Sharon. When a news source (HuffPo in this case) does not have standards that filter out poorly researched stories and routinely endorses alt-med and woo, it brings everything they publish into question.

    I apply the same standard to Faux News. Yes, the do some good reporting occasionally, but the way they twist many stories to fit their Right Wing agenda taints everything.

    A media outlet is its reputation, and the reputation of HuffPo is closer to a tabloid than News Week.

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