Stop the Prop

Sifting through misleading news and stories

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How to Look Beyond the Propaganda in Search of Truth

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Whatever your stand on issues may be, knowing how propaganda can influence your choices and decisions helps you avoid blindly accepting what propagandists feed you. And now is a good time as any to make a conscious effort to look beyond the web of stories that propaganda machines churn out. In the end, you can choose to look beyond the news you see, hear, or read every day to get to seek the truth. Here are some of the many ways you can take control of how you process the information presented to you.

Check your sources

Social media is a great source of news and information. In fact, there have been reports that many people now rely on social networking sites for their daily dose of news. On the downside, not all content you find on your social media feeds are credible. Check your sources first before believing and sharing what you see or read. Check if the story is covered by reputable media websites. Or you can do some research to verify the facts.

Be informed

Know the elements of propaganda and the common techniques or methods propagandists’ use. The knowledge can prove handy in identifying inaccurate or biased information that are not supported by evidence. This could help you avoid blindly following the direction people behind propaganda machines are laying out for you.

Keep an open mind

One of the easiest ways to fall for propaganda is to avoid seeing things from different perspectives. You have to constantly challenge your own perceptions instead of sticking to information that supports your views. Reports should be balanced and based on verifiable facts or evidences. Anything that appeals primarily to your emotions and conveniently excluding certain facts are designed to shape your judgments.

Avoid sharing misleading information

One person may not seem like much to change perception or the narrative. But you can make a difference in stopping the flow of fake news or misleading information. Share or spread stories that you have verified to be true. When in doubt, do not be a part of spreading propaganda. More people doing the same can have an impact in changing what some people in your online networks see as news.

Real Or Not Real?

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How do you know if a news article or a press release online is real?

Here are some ways:

  • Watch out for redirections. News articles or press releases online can be viewed by someone right away. However, some websites won’t let one view the article or release right away because of redirection to other websites or even asking the person to visit a website first. Watch out for these as most, if not all, of these websites are fake themselves.
  • Facts get mixed up. Let’s say, you already know about the best value wood router out there. However, one website tells everyone otherwise. As you check which one is real, you confirmed that the first one you knew about is the correct one – hence, the importance of fact-checking across multiple online sources.
  • It doesn’t have any linked source. One of the most noticeable things about fake news is the lack of credited sources. Aside from that, their articles or releases mention someone or something saying about another; however, there’s no linked source to prove the statement itself. It can only be either (1) fake news or (2) plagiarized news.

These are only some ways a person can tell if a news article or a press release online is real.

Now, what will you do when this happens?

  • Close the tab and redirection tab right away. The first time a website redirects you to another one, especially unfamiliar websites, close both tabs right away and just look for another news article or press release online from trusted websites. You never know, the redirection link has been incorporated with a virus.
  • Always remember to do some fact-checking. The reason why most people today share fake news despite being warned about it is because of their laziness to do some fact-checking. Always remember to do this, in order for you to save other people from being shamed or making themselves look like fools online.
  • Check if there are credited sources. Part of the fact-checking is checking if there are credited sources. This way, you’ll know whether the statement an article or release has mentioned was actually stated. Just remember, credited sources should be linked properly and comes from trusted websites.

So, let me just ask you this final question for today: Do you know if a news article or a press release online is real?

You should be confident enough now to answer “YES” to this question.

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Making Sure It’s Real

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How can one make sure it’s real?

With fake news being spread all over the internet until now, and despite every country’s efforts in stopping this from happening, how can one make sure that a news article or a web article is real?

Here are some ways to know:

  • Check the sources. Fake news is typically characterized by its lack of good sources, which can either be another fake news source or a non-existent source; or not having sources anywhere, which can make one question the news’ credibility and legitimacy. Always check the sources for any signs of fake news.
  • Be mindful with redirection. Fake news is also characterized by its seemingly harmless redirection, which can either be a malware itself or a phishing method by getting information on your computer and using this information to commit serious violations without you knowing. Always be mindful with redirections.
  • Check the facts. Fake news, especially those being spread until now, somehow makes a lie into a truth. Always check the facts before letting anyone know about the news. You can even use the recently launched Google Fact Checker to help you differentiate what are lies and what are truths in today’s age.
  • Don’t be confused. Let’s say, there’s news about single-serve blenders being too expensive and complicated to use. However, other news articles (like http://juicerkings.com/best-single-serve-blenders/) mentions affordably priced and easy-to-use single-serve blenders. Which is which? You get the point.
  • Trust your gut. If something tells you it’s not right, it usually is not right. Trust your gut if a news article mentions a suspicious fact or even a sinister one. It’s better to leave it alone, rather than letting yourself fall into a trap. You’ll never know, someone has already gotten your information and is on his/her way to make your life complicated.
  • Don’t give out any information. Another characteristic of fake news is making you give out information you’re not supposed to let anyone know. It even asks some people to give out their credit information on another link to prevent this or that from happening. Don’t give out any information, unless it’s proved legitimate.

In conclusion, making sure it’s real – making sure that a news article or a web article is real is not that hard. All one needs to do is to be mindful about anything that seems off, as well as be more aware on what’s truly happening around him/her.

Do you know any other ways to know if a news article or a web article is real? Share them with us on the comments section below!

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Handling Disagreements Graciously

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Everyone offends someone at some point. Differences in views can lead to conflicts. You do not have to look farther than the ugly exchanges often seen nowadays on social media platforms. Conflict is part of personal and professional relationships. It is normal for disagreements to occur among people who are uniquely different from each other. How you deal with conflict, however, defines the quality of relationships you have with people around you. If you want to build strong connections with people, you have to learn how to handle conflict with grace. Here are some ideas on how to be gracious in the midst of conflict or disagreement.

1. Keep calm. Staying calm is one of the critical conflict resolution skills you have to develop. Maintaining your equanimity despite brewing or full-blown conflicts can be challenging. But keeping your inner calm is a great way to avert aggravating possibly volatile situations. If you do not want to fuel or spark more anger and resentment, you have to remain calm so you could focus on resolving the issues at hand.

2. Listen actively. Dealing with conflict graciously often starts with listening patiently and objectively to what the other party has to say. You do not have to agree with everything that is being said. Making an effort to listen well and understand what is being communicated can help defuse tension, anger, and other heightened negative emotions.

3. Aim to resolve conflict, not fuel it. It is normal to feel that you have to defend yourself, especially if you believe that you are right. However, there are circumstances when you have to prioritize conflict resolution over winning an argument or being proven right. Before you take a defensive stance, consider the relationship you have with the person or people involved. Ask yourself if the need to be proven right matters most to you than preserving the relationship.

4. Show respect at all times. Keeping the respect is one of the most important conflict resolution techniques you can apply. To do that, you have to separate the issues from the people involved. You may hate the disagreement, but you do not have to automatically dislike the person involved. Maintain a respectful stance to ease the ill feelings surrounding the circumstances.

5. Avoid needless fights. An excellent way to handle conflict with grace is not to be drawn into one. Sometimes you have to pick your battles to avoid wasting precious time and energy. If a potential conflict involves something that you are better off letting go, you can take the high road by yielding or walking away.

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