Fake: Searching for Truth in the Age of Misinformation

Now streaming on CPTV Passport, Youtube and the Connecticut Public mobile app, available for download on the Apple Store and Google Play.

What is "fake news" and how do you know?

A new, original documentary from Connecticut Public, Fake: Searching for Truth in the Age of Misinformation, takes on this topic, just in time for the 2020 election season. Viewers will learn how and why misinformation spreads, and how to be a smarter information consumer in our increasingly digital world.

This year could be one of the most extraordinary years yet for misinformation, claims and counter-claims to spread like wildfire. Media literacy matters more than ever - for adults and their children alike.

Fake news isn’t new, but new digital tools make it easier to spread quickly. To spot a fake, you need to be able to dissect breaking news, evaluate partisan content, and use critical thinking skills. Our documentary helps viewers learn to discern fact from fiction in news reports, identify fake news, and evaluate the biases of real news using common sense, critical thinking skills, and an understanding of universal standards of journalism.

We've collected some helpful information and learning resources for you here »

SHORT TAKES: These short videos each look at a different facet of misinformation
and media manipulation, and ways to defend yourself against dupes.

While attention has focused on foreign attempts to influence US election results, actors like Russia and Iran are not the only worries. Domestic actors may pose an even bigger threat.

If the 2016 election was any indication, professional journalists need to do better when it comes to reporting the news. Readers are the first line of defense against the dissemination of bogus reports. So, how do you spot a fake? Context is key.

Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act using all forms of communication. It has become a necessity in modern culture, providing powerful tools to decipher meaning and be discriminating as we engage with technology. It’s also imperative to ensuring children’s safety in uncharted media territories, like the digital realm.

Gun control. Immigration. Abortion. Many of the world’s most pressing disputes have been labeled eternally enigmatic. Are we meant to just surrender, allowing problems to exponentially worsen because society’s brilliant minds can’t reach consensus? Too many factors, too many viewpoints, too many arguments. But what if there were right answers? What if they’ve been right here, under our noses all this time, and we’ve been too busy trying to prove ourselves right to notice?

Tech giants like Facebook and Google are increasingly under scrutiny for supporting and benefiting from the “fake news economy.” Meanwhile, legitimate local news organizations, which often rely on similar ad-supported infrastructure for their livelihoods, are suffering. What is the role of consumers and advertisers in this complex ecosystem?

Although we have not yet realized the true potential of artificial intelligence, the future holds strong possibilities for more sophisticated tools to harness the power of AI, big data, and machine learning to stop fake news. As the volume of data grows, so does the chance of handling misinformation that challenges both the machine and human ability to uncover the truth.

Sponsored by Connecticut Humanities:

Are you a teacher, parent or youth leader? Thinkalong™ , a free online program
from Connecticut Public, can help your teens to think critically about media messages.

Educators are on the front lines of media literacy training. Connecticut Public has developed a free, safe, web-based learning resource to help train students to separate fact from fiction in the media they consume. Thinkalong™ uses trusted PBS, NPR, and local public media content. Easy to incorporate into your classroom, this program helps students develop informed opinions, and practice respectful, civil discourse in the context of learning about current events and news that is especially relevant to the lives of young people.

Explore using Thinkalong™ in your classroom or with your youth group. Contact Tricia George at tgeorge@ctpublic.org, or visit thinkalong.org.

Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) is the producing station for Fake: Searching for Truth in the Age of Misinformation. It is distributed by American Public Television (APT).