Being the prestigious university that it is, Harvard University recently published an incredibly helpful research guide designed to help students identify fake news, misinformation and propaganda. The guide identifies “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical ‘News’ Sources” and offers tips for “analyzing news sources.” You know. Since Ivy League students have little to no discernment and are completely incapable of conducting research and exercising their own judgment.
The research guide describes the labels it uses to determine a website’s category. Those are as follows:
Fake News (tag fake): Sources that entirely fabricate information, disseminate deceptive content, or grossly distort actual news reports.
Satire (tag satire): Sources that use humor, irony, exaggeration, ridicule, and false information to comment on current events.
Extreme Bias (tag bias): Sources that come from a particular point of view and may rely on propaganda, decontextualized information, and opinions distorted as facts.
Conspiracy Theory (tag conspiracy): Sources that are well-known promoters of kooky conspiracy theories.
Rumor Mill (tag rumor): Sources that traffic in rumors, gossip, innuendo, and unverified claims.
State News (tag state): Sources in repressive states operating under government sanction.
Junk Science (tag junksci): Sources that promote pseudoscience, metaphysics, naturalistic fallacies, and other scientifically dubious claims.
Hate News (tag hate): Sources that actively promote racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination.
Clickbait (tag clickbait): Sources that provide generally credible content, but use exaggerated, misleading, or questionable headlines, social media descriptions, and/or images.
Proceed With Caution (tag unreliable): Sources that may be reliable but whose contents require further verification.
*Political (tag political): Sources that provide generally verifiable information in support of certain points of view or political orientations.
*Credible (tag reliable): Sources that circulate news and information in a manner consistent with traditional and ethical practices in journalism (Remember: even credible sources sometimes rely on clickbait-style headlines or occasionally make mistakes. No news organization is perfect, which is why a healthy news diet consists of multiple sources of information).
Unknown (tag unidentified): Sources that have not yet been analyzed (many of these were suggested by readers/users or are found on other lists and resources). Help us expand our resource by providing us information!
The guide also notes:
Tags like political and credible are being used for two reasons: 1.) they were suggested by viewers of the document or OpenSources and circulate news 2.) the credibility of information and of organizations exists on a continuum, which this project aims to demonstrate. For now, mainstream news organizations are not included because they are well known to a vast majority of readers.
Now, to the list. Harvard provided a whopping 921 websites on its totally unbiased list, and while some of the websites are legitimately fake and/or sucktastic, the university put a number of reputable conservative/libertarian websites on the list just for the heck of it. Breitbart is slapped with the labels “political,” “unreliable” and “bias,” while The Daily Caller is considered to be “political,” “clickbait” and yes, “biased.”
Others on the list? The Right Scoop, Western Journalism, Weekly Standard, The Washington Examiner, Washington Free Beacon, Independent Journal Review, Conservative Review and yes. Chicks on the Right. We were slapped with the “clickbait” and “bias” labels.
But left leaning websites? Well, they were exonerated. While the Daily Kos is labeled as “political” and “clickbait,” it’s also considered “credible.” We’re talking about the same Daily Kos that proudly posts headlines like this:
Oddly enough, the list didn’t contain well-known leftist rags like Jezebel, Mother Jones, The Guardian, Move On, Think Progress, BuzzFeed or Media Matters. They could’ve AT LEAST slapped the “bias” label on those websites, no? (And come on. BuzzFeed is KING of clickbait.)
And what about the insane feminist websites lefties love? Feministing? Cosmo? Salon? Bitch Media? Everyday Feminism? You’re meaning to tell me this isn’t biased and ridiculous?
(Those are just from Everyday Feminism and Feministing.) Those are websites that regularly feed readers useless, progressive garbage. Things I’ve learned from some of those websites? Proper grammar is racist and oppressive. Thin privilege needs to be checked regularly. White people cannot enjoy yoga. Toxic whiteness needs to be cured. I use coded phrases to hide my racism and need to be worried about eating in a non-culturally appropriative way. I’m just scratching the surface here.
Surely, they’ve earned a spot on the list (which you can find here). What gives, Harvard?
h/t Campus Reform