In the second lesson of the Check, Please! Starter Course, Mike Caulfield, author of the course and Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, introduces the second step in four-step SIFT approach to determining the reliability of a source. Lesson two offers instruction in “move” (“Investigate the Source”) and one of the web search techniques associated with it (“[J]ust add Wikipedia”).
Lesson three continues Caulfield’s instruction on the second step in the four-step SIFT approach to determining the reliability of a source. Lesson three, “Further Investigation,” covers these topics: (1) Just add Wikipedia for names and organizations, (2) Google Scholar searches for verifying expertise, (3) Google News searches for information about organizations and individuals, (4) the nature of state media and how to identify it, and (5) the difference between bias and agenda.
One of the most instructive parts of lesson three focuses on two news stories about MH17, Malyasia Airlines Flight 17, a passenger flight scheduled to land in Kuala Lumpur that was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. While the second story, a television news segment, appears to present detailed investigative reporting challenging the conclusion of the Dutch Safety Board and Dutch-led joint investigation team–the conclusion that Russia was to blame–a quick just-add-Wikipedia check reveals that RT (formerly Russia Today) is a Russian state-controlled international TV network, a government propaganda tool rather than a source of fair and balanced news. The first video, the one produced by Business Insider, a financial and business news site, delivers accurate coverage of MH17.
Another notable segment addresses the important distinction between bias and agenda. There, Caulfield observes that “[p]ersonal bias has real impacts. But bias isn’t agenda, and its agenda that should be your primary concern for quick checks,” adding that “[b]ias is about how people see things; agenda is about what a news or research organization is set up to do.”
Caulfield, Mike. Check, Please! Starter Course, 2021, https://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/front-matter/updated-resources-for-2021/.
Friday, February 18, marks our sixth Wordplay Day of the semester. To up your game, review the Tips and Tools page on the Scrabble site. Also browse my blog posts devoted to Scrabble. To view those posts, click the Scrabble link in the yellow categories square (below the pink pages square) on the right side of the screen.