The Devil in the Details: How to Spot ‘Fake News’ – Top 10 Tips and Tricks!


Written by Mark Pearce, media member of the Committee to Support the International Tribunal for Natural Justice (ITNJ)

Media corporations create stories to be intermediaries between the powers-that-be and the people. Their philosophical underpinnings are often not based on human or community relations, but on economic systems. Behind the pages and screens we see, issue-driven stories are designed months ahead of release. To understand what’s required to spot fake news so that your friends and family members can benefit, you must first remove your emotional hat and do your homework!

It’s no secret that money leads to media bias. This bias is fueled by multi-million dollar lobby groups and other social engineering organisations, who in turn create puffery and marketing literature—aka propaganda—for service-to-self agendas. In order to progress their agendas neatly and quickly, these groups rely heavily on mass mindshare (locally, nationally and internationally) to bring topics of conversation into the public, all appearing to be of service-to-others.

Essentially, this process is done by funnelling issue-driven articles and advertisements into a handful of multi-national media corporations, who often report hype, using over-simplified methods of language to grab the attention, opinions and emotions of the people – all in the name of fostering their product or brand.

Some media stories of course are genuine but much is rhetoric and moreover, much of it is redacted. This ‘distraction-by-design’ causes immediate outcry and disagreement from the people, who pressure media organisations to create more and more argument and objection via their myriad of platforms and programs. Tied together with advertising dollars, the press sits in a corner waiting, as the poli-puppets (politicians) produce their usual barrage of well-crafted speeches for yet another week.

As the media Ferris-wheel spins, the pressure builds for politicians to react by creating regulations, changing policies and transforming laws. These laws usually have little to do with bettering society for the commoners and their communities. The law comes into effect and everyone moves on to the next so-called ‘important issue of the day.’

Whether you like it or not, these laws transform humanity on many levels, be it economic, religious, educational, governance, scientific, health, agriculture, free trade, energy resource, and so on. If you travel the world you will see with your own eyes the same ‘colonial conditioning’ practices across the global community, experiencing the same problems at local and national levels. Where does all this information originate? What agenda does it serve? And why is it occurring at a rapid pace?

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about the media over the last 20 years of working with advertising agencies, corporate companies, television networks and the world of filmmaking, it’s this: critical observation directs us away from deception.

Here are the top 10 tips and tricks to discern media information and to determine the truth from white-lies, half-truths, and falsehoods masquerading as truth—especially the stories we share via social media.

  1. Follow the money. Start by understanding the business of the article you are reading. Do a search on the publisher. Although some pages on Wikipedia are manipulated by specific lobby groups, it’s not a bad place to begin your research. Look at when the publisher/site began. Look at the corporation or organisation who owns or controls the site/publisher and the people/board/CEO/key shareholders or ex-shareholders. Look at the history of these names behind the publisher. This will often give you an indication of what agenda they are pushing and what other corporations they are connected with. Search the names of these CEO/board members and add a key word that might be relevant to that article, such as banking, finance, politics, lobbyist, religious organisations, the Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, International Monetary Fund, Federal Reserve, United Nations, World Health Organisation, other medical organisations or possible affiliates. Search high profile names that you know are connected with the issues and the industry you’re reading about, such as Rothschild, Rockefeller, DuPont, Goldman, Clinton, etc. You’ll start to see who is financing who.


  1. Always make sure there’s a date and author name on the article. Search the author to see who they work for. Are they independent? What other articles have they written? Are they an investigator or reporter? If there’s no name or date on the article you’re reading, it’s rubbish.


  1. Always make sure there are embedded links (video or written) in the article. If there’s none, it’s heresy.


  1. Always check to make sure it’s a properly edited article with correct grammar. If it’s written with more than a couple of mistakes, ditch it.


  1. Does the headline of the article match the story? Ask yourself why is it spun in a particular way? Is it an article or an op-ed (Opposition Editorial)? Opinion piece? Is it astroturfing? Familiarize yourself with these terms, if you don’t know them.


  1. Always scroll to the bottom of an article to see where the source came from. Is there an original source? Is this article the original source? Find the original source by googling the headline and click other publications to see where the story originated from. Check the source – are they reliable? Repeat Step 1.


  1. Citizen Journalism 101: If it’s stated in the article “a spokesman said”, it’s more than likely a Business to Business (B2B) advertorial or lobby money involved, or just bad journalism.


  1. Find a second source when it comes to major statements and factual information, such as statistics. Check to see if the second source is owned by the same publication or affiliated with the original source. There isn’t some form of truth until you find a second or third source – at least one other source, independent of the original source.


  1. Is it just part of an advertising deal? There are hundreds of lobby groups infiltrating media publications who essentially write B2B advertorials every day. Lobby groups have millions of dollars. Within the media/magazine/TV industry, it’s no secret they live and work in the corporate world and this is their purpose – a B2B company. Most magazine publications are built around propping up the industry and fulfilling their negotiated deals with advertisers. Not in an evil or conspiratorial way, it’s just how the media industry currently operates. Ninety percent of people don’t understand this concept. A company purchases ad space in a magazine or television program and part of the obligations of the publisher/broadcaster is to write a series of articles or offer more airtime in various ways for that advertiser over a period of time. I refuse to watch television news these days because I know I am being manipulated in this way. If you want to prove this to yourself, watch your six o’clock news and write down every story that’s being told/sold to you and the issue it covers. Ask yourself if the issue being told/sold is skewed in a positive or negative light? Then write down every advertisement in between the stories and look for correlations, such as a story about babies and an ad about baby formula. You’ll start to see patterns.


  1. Beware data collection. There are many marketing tricks set up by the media industry to help suck money from citizens and collect data for Artificial Intelligence (AI) purposes. Be aware that most major media corporations want or already have your cookies, so they prey on your pocket and pass on this information. Data is more valuable than instant cash in many circumstances because it’s long-term/ongoing information they can use for the future. The AI agenda is running Facebook and other social media platforms and it doesn’t care what you are posting—it just wants your information and your “mindshare” of time – time that can take you away from yourself. Its purpose is to collect your personal history and your preferences. In their own words, the NSA have said: “collect it all.”


If you repeat step 1 for twenty different publications over twenty days you’ll begin to connect the dots very quickly and discover who owns who and why they’re publishing a story, and importantly, why the perspective of that story is slanted for or against the issue. Don’t hesitate, investigate! The devil is in the details.


Filmmaker and journalist from Australia with over 20 years-experience producing stories for industry magazines, television commercials, and documentaries. Since 2012, Mark has collaborated with environmental, educational humanitarian, government, and NGO advocacy organisations to create social impact media, which in turn, has amassed millions of views, prompting direct response from mainstream media.

His advocacy documentary work has opened film festivals in Frankfurt, Melbourne, and Sarajevo and has appeared in articles for The Guardian, Australian Geographic, ABC Australia, The Australian, Medium, and The Wall Street International to name a few. Importantly, his stories have changed the outcome of many lives, successfully lobbying governments to protect the animals, the people, and the places we love.


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