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By Benjamin Hitzig

Fake News is becoming a huge problem, so what can we do to try and avoid falling into the trap? Well, for one, it’s time we have a discussion about how we digest our news. This article isn’t just advocating for the Libertarian Republic, there are websites like this one that notify people that we report factually, and if you’re reading this you probably already know that. This is more important then just a promotion, this is my attempt to try to help people find truth in an age that has been destroyed by lies and mistruths.

Growing up, I never truly questioned what I saw on the news. Sometimes I would come home from school, Fox or CNN would be on the TV, and the stories would range from house fires in Queens to burglaries in Nassau Country. I always trusted that if there was congestion on the Long Island Expressway, the news would mention it so I wouldn’t be stuck in traffic. If I could trust it for that, shouldn’t I be able to trust it when it came to politics? I always knew that Fox was a little to the right, CNN was a little to the left, and I knew that there was no single station that was truly neutral, as much as PBS and ABC tried.

It turns out however, that I have never been so wrong in my life.

When I heard Donald Trump first calling the media “Fake News”, I thought he was just being a politician. It was understandable to go after the credibility of the media when they spent the last few months aggressively attacking him, and I would probably do the same thing. I thought maybe they were a little biased, but completely fake? I wasn’t so sure. It wasn’t until I started looking at more then just the major media outlets that I began to realize just how much garbage the major media is perpetuating.

During the 2016 election, the amount of time that major networks like CNN spent on Trump-Russian collusion, without coming to any real conclusion, was eye opening. All of a sudden, it started to make sense. The major media outlets were perpetuating partisan nonsense and absolute lies, and I had to look outside the box to try and find fair and balanced news. This would prove to be challenging.

It started with Youtube videos- innocently enough. I found my first major political influence pretty early on in Ben Shapiro, who used to work for Breitbart and now runs The Daily Wire. His arguments were balanced, and his debates were great. Without just name calling, he was able to put up an educated argument for what he believed in. Soon I was searching through Youtube for hours looking for similar voices and content. This was by no means an absolute approach, and for every solid personality and outlet I found, I ran into five others that weren’t so great. A friend of mine turned me on to Dave Rubin a little later on, and his ability to interview and talk to people all across the political spectrum captivated me and convinced me to write an article about him. I don’t recommend this approach, I found it good for a start, but I had to move on pretty fast or I’d find myself falling for fake alternative news sources. Still, it brought me to the most important concept in the search for real news: Self Investigation.

Confirmation Bias is the biggest enemy to those trying to find real news. On Facebook, I used to have tons of friends across the political aisle, but as I began to express my libertarian beliefs in statuses, most of those on the left, left me. I was really grateful to have clickbait sites like Buzzfeed and NowThis off my wall.With those gone, weeding out the fake stuff was a lot easier, but I fell into a new trap. Most of what I saw was right wing news sources, and not all of them were good either. The hard part, being somebody right of center, is not falling for the right wing fake news. I’m inclined to believe most of what I see coming from the right, but I can’t. In the search for real news, I must not fall into any echo chamber, even if it’s one that is saying all the things I want to hear.

As I joined different facebook groups that were filled with people who believed things similar to me, I started noticing that some of the sites they shared were complete clickbait. Even if the news seemed interesting, it was devoid of content and just had interesting titles and tons of advertisements. Still, at this point I was beginning to utilize a number of solid sources, such as some of the names I’ve mentioned previously, along with new sites like The Drudge Report, which has a ridiculously large following. Somewhere along the line as I started to shift more towards libertarianism, I started reading more Libertarian based news sites. Reason and Heat Street have become major sources for me.

Now that I have a number of different sources I use, my final mission was to make sure I was balanced. This is absolutely the most important part of combating fake news. If I see a claim, I try to look at more then one source to get more then one opinion on it. All the different sources I mentioned put different spins on the stories, and understanding more then one side is an important weapon against falling into an echo chamber.

By using some of the aforementioned tools, we can begin the hard and laborious task of combating fake news. This isn’t an overnight thing, and it takes a lot of training and dedication, but with time and effort, anybody can find the truth. The real question is if you’re ready to start working? if so, the truth is at your finger tips. Together we can find and rebuild true journalism!

EDITOR’s NOTE: The views expressed are those of the author, they are not necessarily representative of The Libertarian Republic or its sponsors.