In 2016, a North Carolina man traveled to Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria in Northwest Washington, D.C. with a rifle and allegedly fired one or more shots, according to the Washington Post.
The man claimed he had come to the restaurant to self-investigate the false conspiracy theory that the then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief were running a child sex ring out of the restaurant.
This is just one example of what can happen when someone fails to fact-check what they see online or in the news.
The Advance-Titan and Society of Professional Journalists are hosting a “Facts or Fakes” game show March 12 in Reeve 306 encouraging students to look beyond the story when determining if the news they see is truthful. Fact-checking has become an increasingly popular activity among the public.
“There’s some very interesting, sophisticated organizations that either try to debunk false statements or, a lot of them are human rights organizations that are concerned about, for example, the fighting in Syria,” SPJ adviser Miles Maguire said. “They’ve gotten to understand that the kinds of shards and shrapnel that result after different kinds of munitions.”
Maguire said part of verification is going out and looking at the story or the picture, but it’s also important to look internally at yourself to see what your biases are.
“It’s really important, when given the volume of information and misinformation that’s out there, all of us have to be better prepared and better equipped to analyze information,” he said.
When analyzing news, Maguire said people should be skeptical about everything, but also open to the possibility that anything could be true.
“What this exercise should do is at least open peoples’ minds and get them thinking about the news and preparing them to be more well-educated consumers of news,” he said.
Students interested in playing should arrive at 6:45 p.m. to register their group of four and the game will take place from 7-8 p.m. Prizes will be available for the winners, and refreshments will be provided after the game show.