August 8, 2006Aside

How to tell false news

A Worked Example

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

You see the following headline on the websites of several Gulf newspapers: India bans Arab TV channels under pressure from Israel.

Here’s how you tell it’s false:

India bans… Okay so far. Quite possible.

…Arab TV channels… TV channels, yes. Arab ones, unlikely. But okay, possible.

…under pressure from Israel. Now you’ve got to be kidding!

There, you don’t even need to read the Indian government’s statement to know that the ban story was incorrect. The ban’ was first reported by Shahid Raza Burney, an Indian journalist. In fact, reading his report suggests that he didn’t actually wait to get positive confirmation of the facts before jumping to a conclusion. So much for his dissing of the world’s largest democracy’ and condemnation of India’s failure to return the friendship that Arab countries imagine exists with their neighbor across the Arabian Sea.’

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