Prove It! Fact-Finding Secrets of a Fanatical Online Researcher is now available on Amazon in both print and ebook formats.
From the Introduction:
You only have to look as far as the latest viral news story to realize how quickly and easily falsehoods, half-truths, little white lies and sins of factual omission can spread and take on a life of their own. It doesn’t much matter if the original publication later prints or posts a correction or clarification: the original article – often saved as a screenshot – stays out there on the interwebs forever, ready to be conjured up again and again as “proof” that something is or isn’t true. Of course, just because something is online doesn’t mean it’s true … but that doesn’t prevent a whole lot of people from trying to prove otherwise, and they can often do so quite convincingly.
That reality explains why – after decades of validated research and data-gathering by thousands of the world’s leading climate scientists – climate “skeptics” are still accorded equal status in he-said-she-said-type news articles and reports. It explains why people still believe weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, and why thousands of parents choose not to have their children vaccinated for easily prevented and once-again increasingly dangerous diseases. This is not just a problem of journalism or fact-checking … misinformation can have ramifications that are literally life or death.
The bad news is that, if you’re a working writer, you are 100-percent guaranteed to encounter this problem during your research and fact-checking efforts. The good news is that there are many reliable and dependable ways to help separate fact from fiction online. The truth – as the very fictional TV show The X-Files taught us – is out there.