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Fake News & Fake Facts: Media Literacy Awareness

Learn how language can be used to in a way that it affects the way people perceive reality. Unlike real news, whose purpose is to simply inform, the main purpose of disinformation is to confuse and manipulate people.

How to Create and Serve a Truth Sandwich

To Correct a Lie, Sandwich it Between the Truth

Graphic of a Truth Sandwich - breads represent truth, between breads represents lies

Image Source: Adapted from The MamaDragons, Instagram

Why is a Truth Sandwich Effective?

Sandwich - drawing

Back in 2018, linguist George Lakoff tweeted:

Truth Sandwich (Truth-Lie-Truth):

  1. Start with the truth. The first frame gets the advantage.
  2. Indicate the lie. Avoid amplifying the specific language if possible.. 
    • Example LieThe losing candidate claimed there were hundreds of thousands of cases of voter fraud in Wisconsin. He’s trying to distract and you. It’s absolutely not true.
  3. Return to the truth. Always repeat truths more than lies.
    • Example Truth: Out of 3.3 million votes cast it was found only four people may have voted twice in the and 11 people whose absentee ballots may have been counted, even though they had died before Election Day.
Why is serving a truth sandwich effective in combatting fake news?

Humans remember the messages that are repeated most often. A truth sandwich ensures the facts are the first thing people read or hear. The truth s the first and last impression they take away.

The Truth Sandwich formula of truth-lie-truth is key to combatting lies and fake news.  Democratic societies rely on news and media to report the facts and the truth and to root out lies. People going about their daily lives aren't equipped to fact-check everything. We depend on editors and reporters to fact-check, point out lies, and emphasize the negative consequences of fact vs. fake. When you read or listen to the news see if you can detect whether you are getting the truth first or the lie first. Not sure? Learn how to spot fake news and fact-check sources at the link belwo.

Very Short Video: George Lakoff in His Own Words


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