How to Fact Check! Part 8: Going Upstream

So we’ve talked about reading laterally, but there’s another dimension to check out when you’re looking for the facts behind a claim: Up!

The best thing to do when checking a claim is to go straight to the source.  Going “upstream,” as it were, is a foundational skill in fact-checking because many news websites are mostly just “reporting on reporting,” which means that they’re just repeating things other news outlets have said. Figuring out the credibility of the hosting site does nothing, as they’re just parroting somebody else.

Our advice is this: Pay close attention to key phrases like “According to…”  “[This news site] reported…” “In a report…” or something similar. Then, check out those sources and use the resources we’ve discussed (like Snopes or PolitiFact) to check the credibility of the claims!

Don’t waste your time on a wild goose chase! You can never go wrong checking the source of any dubious claim you come across. As a final note: if the site won’t provide sources, you’re looking at the wrong websites for information.