This is the "Critical Thinking & Accuracy" page of the "Media & Communication Ethics - Media Literacy" guide.
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Media & Communication Ethics - Media Literacy   Tags: ethics, ict_literacy, social_web  

A brief guide to Media Literacy covering critical thinking and accuracy, access to information in scholarly and popular media outlets, Security, Privacy, Free speech, Plagiarism, Copyright and Social Media
Last Updated: Jun 16, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Critical Thinking & Accuracy Print Page

Suggest an Information Accuracy Link

NGO sources of data for fact-checking

  • Pew Research
    "The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan "fact tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It is made up of seven projects. is a portal to material produced by the seven projects and also a home to original material produced exclusively for this site. "
  • (Annenburg Public Policy Center)
    "We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding."
  • PolitiFact (2009 Pulitzer winner for fact-checking in politics)
    PolitiFact is a project of the St. Petersburg Times to help you find the truth in politics....examine statements by members of Congress, the president, cabinet secretaries, lobbyists, people who testify before Congress and anyone else who speaks up in Washington. We research their statements and then rate the accuracy on our Truth-O-Meter – True, Mostly True, Half True, Barely True and False. The most ridiculous falsehoods get our lowest rating, Pants on Fire."
  • Pro Publica: Journalism in the Public Interest
    "ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with “moral force.” We do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them." (recipient of 2011 Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting and a 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting.)
  • Nieman Watchdog Journalism Project (Harvard)
    Tagline: Questions the press should ask
    "Nieman Watchdog Journalism Project, which encourages reporters and editors to monitor and hold accountable those who exert power in all aspects of public life"

Some Professional, NGO and Watchdog Resources

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle

  • Regret the Error (Major News Media)
    "Regret the Error reports on media corrections, retractions, apologies, clarifications and trends regarding accuracy and honesty in the press. It was launched in October 2004 by Craig Silverman, a freelance journalist and author based in Montreal."
    Note: Use of tags including "Plagiarism" and "Hoaxes" as well as link to "Year-end Round-ups" of worst cases of Plagiarism)
  • On the Media (The role of media in information distribution)
    NPR program: "On the Media explores how the media 'sausage' is made, casts an incisive eye on fluctuations in the marketplace of ideas, and examines threats to the freedom of information and expression in America and abroad. For one hour a week, the show tries to lift the veil from the process of "making media," especially news media, because it's through that lens that we literally see the world and the world sees us."
  • Open Net Initiative (Analysis of Internet access, filtering and censoring)
    "...research into the factors influencing specific countries’ decisions to filter or abstain from filtering the Internet, as well as the impact, relevance, and efficacy of technical filtering in a broader context of Internet censorship." Profiles compiled by region, country, and types of media used.
  • Berkman Center: Media Cloud
    Search by weekly-timeframe, back to April 5, 2010: "Media Cloud is an open source, open data platform that allows researchers to answer quantitative questions about the content of online media. Using Media Cloud, researchers, journalism critics and interested citizens can examine what media sources cover which stories, what language different media outlets use in conjunction with different stories, and how stories spread from one media outlet to another."
  • Pew Center for Excellence in Journalism
    Offers statistics and analysis of media ownership and news coverage, including weekly content analysis, starting in January 2007.
  • The Conversation: Media and Democracy
    Australia-based non-for-profit media group: "The Conversation is an independent source of information, analysis and commentary from the university and research sector — written by acknowledged experts and delivered directly to the public. Our team of professional editors work with more than 1,600 academic authors to make this wealth of knowledge and expertise accessible to all.

PolitiFact’s Guide to Fact-Checking

This video shows some of the techniques writers at use in researching their stories. is the Pulitzer Prize-winning political site from the St. Petersburg Times.  The prinicples in the video serve as a good guide for all researchers in the age of the internet!


Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports tests the quality of products, and tests claims made by ads for products. The CR Video platform  offers a Health "CR AdWatch" series, where they address claims made in "5-hour energy drink" ads (below), as well as researched analysis of claims made in presecription drug ads including Abilify (depression), Boniva (osteoporosis), Chantix (smoking cessation), Cialis (ED), Latisse (eyelashes), Nuvigil (keeping awake / shift-disorder), Toviaz (overactive bladder). 

Helpful Databases for Reliable Pro/Con argumentation

  • CQ Researcher Plus Archive
    Offers reports on timely topics, written by experts in the field. Helps for finding a topic, or offering research for a topic you have already chosen. Note especially the parts of each report entitled Pro/Con and Chronology.
  • Opposing Viewpoints in Context (Gale)
    Searching by topic defaults to Pro/Con research (frombook format). Also allows searching for keywords, and narrowing research to scholarly journals.
  • TED: Ideas worth spreading
    Founded in 1984 as a conference under the auspices of Technology, Entertainment, and Design. In video format the expert speakers are talking about a variety of subjects in 18 minutes or less

US Government Resources for Fact-checking

  • Open reports of Congressional Research Service
    "CRS Reports do not become public until a member of Congress releases the report. A number of libraries and non-profit organizations have sought to collect as many of the released reports as possible. Open CRS is a centralized utility that brings together these collections to search."
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
    "The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is known as 'the investigative arm of Congress' and 'the congressional watchdog.' GAO supports the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and helps improve the performance and accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people."
  • Congressional Budget Office
    "CBO's mandate is to provide the Congress with: (1) Objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget and (2) The information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process."
  • Supreme Court -- Public Information

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