How to tell what's the real story

gail RhodesThe words “fake news” are bandied about so often, they’ve become almost meaningless – but true fake news is not only prevalent, it’s increasingly dangerous.

At 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 10, Gail Rhodes, a doctoral student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, will explain the origins of fake news, how to spot it, and how the term has evolved to mean “negative news” or “news with which I disagree.”

People have been using words—both written and spoken—to inform others for as long as people have been communicating. Propaganda, writing to distort the truth to drive action, has been around almost as long, but wasn’t used on a large scale until the last century, when it was used to motivate citizens to action during both World Wars.

While propaganda was largely the product of government agencies, the advent of the internet and social media has dramatically changed the landscape. Unlike propaganda in the past, fake news today can reach a large audience with little effort, because of social media and the ability to create a blog or website for little or no cost.

Fake news is not the product of legitimate news outlets. Rather, they are stories that appear to be written as legitimate news, but have no basis in facts and are created with a particular goal in mind.

Rhodes will explore how fake news is being used today to affect major events. She will also explore how fake news could be curbed and how to become a better consumer, by knowing how to spot fake news.

Rhodes worked in television as an anchor and reporter for 20 years, before enrolling in ASU's masters and doctorate programs in journalism and mass communication. Her thesis explores the First Amendment and the NFL national anthem protests.

Tickets to all Monday Morning Lectures are $5 at the door of the Renaissance Theater.

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