A guide to spotting fake news

In mid-October, Eric Trump tweeted an article about a man who claimed the Clinton campaign paid him to protest at a rally for Donald Trump in Arizona. The article was from the website “abcnews.com.co” – with “ABC News” displayed prominently on its homepage.

But ABC News did not report that story. The story shared by Eric Trump to his more than 600,000 Twitter followers was false, and from a known fake-news website.

Incidents like these have become more commonplace, according to Richard Hornik, a lecturer at Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy. With so much information available to readers online, it’s now more difficult than ever to discern what’s reliable and what isn’t.

“The internet and social media has given everyone the capability to publish information,” Hornik said. “That’s empowered a lot of people, but that also carries with it great problems, and those problems have become more prevalent especially in the most recent election.”

Keep scrolling for advice on spotting fake or unreliable news sources. Clicking on the dots will reveal tips related to actual fake stories found on websites and social media.


1
1Watch out for websites that end in “.com.co” as they are often fake versions of real news sources. In this example, the entire site is branded as ABC News, a real news agency, but the URL is different.


2
2Check the “About Us” tab on websites for more information about the source. The contact page on this site shows a small building in Kansas and a description about the site and its founder uses language that would not be published by a veritable news organization.


3
3If a story makes you “really angry,” that can be a tactic used by a fake news organization to generate shares and ad revenue, wrote Melissa Zimdars, an associate professor of communications at Merrimack College.

Check your biases

“Most of us would prefer to look at news that confirms something we already believe,” Hornik said.
That’s what makes getting information strictly from your social media feeds so perilous, he added. On Facebook you’re more likely to see posts and updates from likeminded people, creating an “echo chamber” in which most of the information shared and discussed is ideologically congruent with your beliefs, Hornik said.

To escape the echo chamber, experts recommend consuming information from a diverse array of sources.

“It’s always best to read multiple sources of information to get a variety of viewpoints and media frames,” Melissa Zimdars, an associate professor of communications at Merrimack College, wrote in a widely circulated list of unreliable media sources to avoid.

The image below is a screenshot of the fake story on Trump protesters from abc.com.co.


1
1If you’re skeptical of a story, try looking up someone quoted in the story. Not everyone is listed publicly, but most people have some kind of information about themselves on the internet. If you search for Paul Horner, of Arizona, it’s instantly clear that he’s actually a writer of fake news and not a legitimate source for this story.


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2Be cognizant of opinions that are presented as facts. Even if an opinion appears as a quote, it should be supported by facts in the article.


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3If an image is the evidence on which an entire story is based, you can often verify whether it is fake through programs like Google Image search and Tineye.com.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

“If something seems too weird, too funny, too perfect, take a step back and ask yourself could this really be right?” Hornik said, referring to a doctored picture of what appeared to be sharks swimming in the New York Stock Exchange that went viral after superstorm Sandy hit.

If you come across something that could be a hoax, Hornik suggests utilizing fact-checking websites like Politifact or Snopes, a site that recently tracked down the source of a rumor that 3 million noncitizens voted illegally during the election.

There are also several websites that can help you determine if an image is fake, such as Google Image search and Tineye.com.


1
1If you only like Facebook pages that are in line with your views or only follow likeminded people, that creates a Facebook “echo chamber,” in which you’re missing out on alternative perspectives.


2
2Language like “shocking” and “unprecedented” should make you take a more critical look at the facts of the story and the trustworthiness of the publication. Some fake websites use “distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits,” Zimdars wrote.


3
3Remember that when you spot something that has been shared on social media, you need to analyze both sources — the person or group that shared and the publisher.


4
4Just because something has been shared thousands of times does not make it true. Hornik also warns about stories that show up at the top of search engine results — the ranking does not equate to reliability.

“Rank does not equal reliability”

Even though a story may appear high in a list of Google search results, it may not be a dependable source, Hornik said.

For instance, Hornik notes that the sixth result in a Google search of “Martin Luther King Jr.” is a website whose homepage links to stories such as “Why the King Holiday Should be Repealed!” and “Black Invention Myths.”

The site is hosted by Stormfront, a white supremacist group.

“Don’t trust information from strangers”

If you see a questionable news story or headline, experts recommend checking out the social media accounts or websites that posted the information, and see whether there’s a listed author.

Check the “About Us” tab on suspect websites, do a quick Wikipedia search, or search on Snopes.com.

“If information is reliable, it shouldn’t be difficult to figure out who the author is. As I always tell my students, ‘Children are always told not to take candy from strangers, and you shouldn’t take information from strangers,’”Hornik said.


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1Sites with reputable-sounding names can still post misleading headlines and stories, even alongside real news. Make sure to compare stories from very left- or right-leaning websites and blogs with other well-known news sources.


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2Look for the name of the story’s author. “Lack of author attribution may, but not always, signify that the news story is suspect and requires verification,” Zimdars wrote.


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3If a story is based on reporting by another news source, click on the link to that story. Check to see how well the two stories – and their headlines – line up.

Was that photo taken out of context?

Reporting real photos and videos out of context has become common practice for some hyperpartisan websites, Hornik notes.

In April, Occupy Democrats posted a video that allegedly showed police in North Carolina removing a woman from a bathroom for not looking feminine enough. The post went viral during the “bathroom bill” controversy, which aimed to block transgender individuals from using the public bathrooms of the sex with which they identify.

But Snopes.com found the same video was posted to Facebook in 2015, and there was no evidence that it was shot in North Carolina.


1
1A quick way to fact check stories that are based on photos or videos is to check for dates, said Hornik, who added that hoax sites commonly recycle old photos and present them out of context. In this video, the recycled footage of a woman being thrown out of a bathroom is not dated and turned out to be old.

How will you handle politics at Thanksgiving dinner?

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How will you handle politics at Thanksgiving dinner?

For all the love and gratitude shared at Thanksgiving, the dinner table also has a reputation as a battleground for awkward family conversations. This year’s holiday comes at the heels of an emotional election that has caused stress, fractured friendships and left adults struggling with how to talk about the election with children.

Are you worried about how political discourse might affect your family meal? Tell us how you plan to tackle talking about the election. Will you restrict politics altogether? Did you decide to invite only a pro-Trump or pro-Clinton crowd to avoid confrontation? Share your strategies, your advice or your concerns.

Submit a response

Thank you for your submission. Check back soon to see if it was posted.

Please respond in 250 words or less. Your response becomes the property of Newsday Media Group. It will be edited and may be republished in all media.




Newsday’s All-Long Island teams 2016-17

Newsday reveals its All-Long Island teams for the 2016-17 spring sports season.

The photo shoot is scheduled for Wednesday, June 14 at Newsday’s Melville headquarters. Coaches will be notified of specifics on Monday night.

Search our database for every Newsday All-Long Island selection in history.

Winter 2017 All-Long Island teams

Search our database for every Newsday All-Long Island selection in history.

Fall 2016 All-Long Island teams




Search our database for every Newsday All-Long Island selection in history.

Thanksgiving on Long Island


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A Long Island Thanksgiving, take a seat and dig in!

From paper turkeys to hiding coins in the mashed potatoes, you never know what’s going to happen at a Long Island Thanksgiving. Last year, Newsday asked nine families to share with us their traditions and dinner table for a YouTube 360-degree video experience. You can look around the room by dragging your mouse on your computer or tilting your mobile device right, left, up or down. And, make sure to scroll down to learn more about each family.

Note: On mobile devices, the 360-degree video experience can be viewed only in the YouTube app.

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Tineo and Batista families, Copiague

The Tineo and Batista families, of Copiague, celebrate Thanksgiving with extended family and friends, bringing together about 60 people. Eddie Tineo said each person in the family is responsible for a different dish. For dinner, the family dines on a mix of traditional Thanksgiving food as well as Dominican dishes like rice and beans and a roasted pig. “My favorite thing is grouping up with everyone and being around people who love you unconditionally,” Eddie Tineo says.

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Smalley family, Smithtown

The Smalley family, of Smithtown, celebrates Thanksgiving with a vegan meal and places framed pictures of turkeys on their dinner table. Before the Thanksgiving celebration, the family met and sponsored each of those turkeys at an animal sanctuary in upstate New York. “It’s more of a compassionate Thanksgiving, without any harm,” said Nancy Smalley. “[The turkeys] are unique individuals, just like any other pet.” For dinner, the family has a vegan roast made of seasoned soy protein and organic flour, with mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cauliflower, carrots, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, string bean casserole, broccoli and pumpkin pie.

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Sims and Carter families, Mastic

The Sims and Carter families, of Mastic, celebrate Thanksgiving with fresh, fried turkey, stuffing and corn pudding. Wilhelmina Sims, 64, said she been getting her turkey from Zorn’s of Bethpage for the past 35 years – a family tradition that goes back to the times she helped her mother prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Sims and her family, who identify as African-American and Cherokee, include her husband and son. And they include the family dog, Max. Before dinner, the family prays in a circle for lost loved ones, while also giving thanks to the turkey for providing them with sustenance.

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Reed family, Hampton Bays

When seated at the table, but before starting the meal, each member of the Reed family, of Hampton Bays, in turn say what he or she is most thankful for. Lins Reed and her family are from Laos, while her husband, Bill Reed, is a Sayville native. The family also decorates the home with pictures of leaves that Lins’ sister drew, with each writing what he or she is thankful for on a leaf. For dinner, the Reeds serve a traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and vegetables, with a special mango cake from a bakery in Brooklyn for dessert.

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Khan family, Albertson

The Khan family, which has roots in Kashmir, gets together every Thanksgiving with extended family from Manhattan and New Jersey, including brothers and sisters, in-laws, nieces, nephews and grandchildren. The Muslim family celebrates the holiday by having the eldest member lead an apple cider toast recounting blessings and things they are all thankful for as part of living in America. The family dines on a traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the trimmings.

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Hunter and Cuyjet families, Shinnecock

The Hunter and Cuyjet families, of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, celebrate Thanksgiving by bringing multiple generations of the family together, including their 99-year-old grandfather, who is the eldest in the group. Each year, the families take a group photo, and the table is set with an 18-pound turkey as the centerpiece. The group has an open-door policy for the rest of the tribe, and members often stop by to pay tribute to the eldest family member. Sienna Hunter-Cuyjet said the family always leaves an open place at the table for anyone who happens to stop by. “I really think it is the best time of year because the whole family gets together,” she said.

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Wagner family, Sayville

The Wagner family, of Sayville, brings multiple generations together to celebrate Thanksgiving — from the 90-year-old grandmother to a 4-year-old grandson. Florence Wagner said this is the first year they are celebrating Thanksgiving without her mother, Mary Wagner, so the family placed a photo of her near the head of the table in remembrance. The Wagner family dined on a 20-pound stuffed turkey with a bacon lattice and a slow-cooked fresh ham, with sides of mashed turnips, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, string beans, cranberry sauce, cauliflower, carrots and broccoli.

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Singh family, Plainview

The Singh family, of Plainview, celebrates Thanksgiving by mixing its Indian and American cultures. Early in the day, the family worships at a nearby Sikh temple, where they share in community prayer, and a vegetarian meal with the congregation. Later, the family enjoys a mix of traditional Indian and American dishes consisting of yogurt, potato paddies, beans, rice, spicy eggplant, pasta, and rasgulla for dessert.

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Petrone family, Massapequa

The Petrone family, of Massapequa, celebrates Thanksgiving with a traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and green beans. Before cooking dinner for her family, Bonnie Petrone runs in the annual Massapequa 5k Turkey Trot. The Petrones have a unique tradition of hiding coins wrapped in aluminum foil in their mashed potatoes, with the child who finds the lone penny winning a prize. The tradition was handed down from Bonnie Petrone’s father-in-law, James Petrone, who passed away earlier this year.

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Producer: Saba Ali

Video: Arnold Miller, Jeff Basinger and Chuck Fadely

Writer: Mike Cusanelli

Published: Nov. 25, 2016

Holiday House Hunt 2016

Do you decorate your house with tons of lights for the holidays? Or maybe you’ve come across a house decked out for the holidays? Either way, we want to see your photos! Use the #HolidayHouseHunt on Twitter! Or share them here, and be sure to include your name. (Captions were submitted by readers who shared their photos.)

[nd_photogrid title2=”Holiday House Hunt” derivative=”preview_400″ pgURL=”http://longisland.news12.com/features/holidays/photos-holiday-house-hunt-1.12604356″]

Holiday Help 2016 Series

It’s the holiday season! But you don’t need to stress over your to-do list! News 12 Long Island has all the Holiday Help you need. From crafts and fabulous food to great gift ideas, we’ve got you covered. The News 12 Long Island morning team heads out across Nassau and Suffolk to make sure you’re ready to make the season merry and bright!

Sounds of the Season Winners

Make Your Own Monday

Tasty Tuesday

Taste Test

Holiday Help

Gift Guide

Festive Friday

Weekend Workout

Holiday Photos

Holiday House Hunt

Daily Holiday Quiz

Numbers & Links

Crash Caroling 2016

'Tis the Season

Hot for the Holidays

Women and the Catholic Church: Should they be deacons?

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How would female deacons affect the church?

Pope Francis has appointed a commission to look into the idea of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Roman Catholic Church – with Hofstra professor Phyllis Zagano one of the commission members. Proponents say it would give greater equality to women and energize the church. Critics, however, warn that such a move could open the door to women in the priesthood. How do you think allowing women to serve as deacons would affect the church?

Submit a response

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Please respond in 250 words or less. Your response becomes the property of Newsday Media Group. It will be edited and may be republished in all media.




How Long Island voted for Trump compared to the country

President-elect Donald Trump may not have won New York state but he got 48.6 percent of the votes on Long Island, including a majority in Suffolk County, where Barack Obama won in 2012 and 2008.

Trump won Suffolk with

52.5%

of the vote

He fell shy in Nassau but garnered

45.9%

of the vote

Looking at the number of votes cast for Trump in counties across the country, Suffolk comes in ninth place with 328,403 votes, and Nassau comes in eleventh place, with 275,479 votes for Trump.

Who else voted like us?

Twenty counties around the country voted similarly to Long Island’s two counties, within a 1% margin. On average, these counties are smaller, poorer and less educated, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Of those 20, let’s look at those most closely matched to Nassau and Suffolk’s numbers.

Like Nassau County, all of these are counties that voted democrat but gave Trump between 45.9 and 46% of its vote. Unlike Nassau, these are counties that voted democrat in states that went republican. Compared to Nassau:

Lehigh County, PA
Lehigh County, PA

  • has 26% of Nassau’s population
  • the median income is $55,681 to Nassau’s $98,401
  • and 28.1% of its adult population has bachelor’s degrees or higher compared to 42.3% in Nassau.
  • The county seat is Allentown. It is one of the fastest growing counties in Pennsylvania. The largest employers are hospitals and the food service industry.
Frio County, TX
Frio County, TX

  • has 1.3% of Nassau’s population
  • the median income is $35,681 to Nassau’s $98,401
  • and 7.9% of its adult population has a bachelor’s degrees or higher.
  • Frio County is named for the river that runs northwest to southeast through the county. The county seat is Pearsall, which is about 55 miles from San Antonio and about 100 miles from the Mexican border.
Kleberg County, TX
Kleberg County, TX

  • has 2.3% of Nassau’s population
  • the median income is $37,725 to Nassau’s $98,401
  • and 15.2% of its adult population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • The county seat is Kingsville, which is about 44 miles from Corpus Christi. Most of the county’s land lies in King Ranch, which is home to 35,000 cattle.

Like Suffolk County, each of the following are counties that voted between 52.4 and 52.5% for Trump, and two of these counties are in swing states. Compared to Suffolk:

Grand County, CO
Grand County, CO

  • has 1.2% of Suffolk’s population
  • the median income is $64,109 to Suffolk’s $88,323
  • and 36.3% of its adult population has a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 33.5% in Suffolk.
  • Grand County is home to eight nationally protected parks or wilderness areas, Colorado’s largest natural lake and the headwaters of the Colorado River. It is about 70 miles from Denver.
Clay County, MO
Clay County, MO

  • has 15.2% of Suffolk’s population
  • the median income is $61,184 to Suffolk’s $88,323
  • and 30.7% of its adult population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Clay County is the fifth most populous county is Missouri. The county seat is Liberty, which is about 15 miles from Kansas City. The Ford Motor Company is a major employer.
St. Lawrence County, NY
St. Lawrence County, NY

  • has 7.5% of Suffolk’s population
  • the median income is $44,454 to Suffolk’s $88,323
  • and 21.6% of its adult population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • St. Lawrence is New York’s largest county by area. It offers access to the St. Lawrence River and the Adirondack Mountains. It is home to two state universities, SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Camden.
Here are the rest of the 20.

Waldo County, ME
Cumberland County, NJ
Yazoo County, MS
Norman County, MN

Staunton City, VA
Scott County, IA
Merrimack County, NH
Rockland County, NY

Lenoir County, NC
Woodruff County, AR
Carson City, NV

Placer County, CA
Lowndes County, CA
Erie County, OH

Overall, these counties are not very diverse. Whites who are also not Hispanic make up the majority, with the exception of Frio and Kleberg, which are at least 65 percent Hispanic or Latino. More than half the counties had the rate of minorities at 20 percent or lower. Nassau had the eighth largest minority population among the 20 counties that voted similarly.

How did similar counties vote?

There are six counties often associated with Long Island because they are suburban, of similar median income, relatively close population size – Long Island is unusually populous – and are in close proximity to a major metropolitan area.

Bergen County, NJ
Bergen County, NJ

Population: 925,328

Income: $83,686

Fairfax County, VA
Fairfax County, VA

Population: 1,142,232

Income $112,102

Fairfield County, CT
Fairfield County, CT

Population: 939,904

Income $83,163

Middlesex County, NJ
Middlesex County, NJ

Population: 828,919

Income $83,488

Montgomery County, MD
Montgomery County, MD

Population: 1,030,447

Income $79,926

Westchester County, NY
Westchester County, NY

Population: 968,802

Income $83,422

Trump did not win in any of these counties. Of these similar counties, Suffolk and even Nassau voted for Trump in higher percentages.

Compare the percentage of Trump votes among counties with similar economic characteristics.

Comparing counties of similar population sizes to Long Island results in a list of places not very much like Long Island – Nassau and Suffolk counties each have the population size of cities like Manhattan and Philadelphia. However, of the 20 counties within 20% population size of Nassau and Suffolk counties, none voted for Trump in as high margins as the counties on Long Island.

All of these counties voted democrat in 2012, except for Salt Lake. All of them voted democrat in 2016, except for Suffolk.

Counties within 20% population size of Nassau, Suffolk and how they voted for Trump:

How Long Island Voted — 3rd Congressional District, 2016

Tom Suozzi defeated Jack Martins in the 3rd Congressional District race on Tuesday, 52% to 48%. Here are the unofficial results the Long Island portion of that district, made available by the Nassau and Suffolk election boards. We are seeking the Queens portions of the district. Click an election district to see how much of the vote each candidate received. Click the magnifying glass to search for your address. You can also choose
other elections and other years. Data for a handful of districts were not available. This data was posted on Nov. 9, 2016.

    * “Other” includes candidates who did not win more districts than the top four candidates.