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News literacy: Spotting the difference between news and opinion anchors

Not all news is necessarily equal. Some news networks have hosts that share opinions, not news. Telling the difference can be tricky.

AUSTIN, Texas — When it comes to television news, there are a lot of options out there.

ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN and MSNBC are all different options. No matter which you prefer, it’s important to know the difference between what you hear on each network and realize that what you’re being told might be opinion.

Two questions you could ask yourself when watching the news:

  • Could I Google this and find an answer?
  • Is it something where someone could come up with a different opinion or different attitude?

Talia Stroud from the University of Texas’s Center for Media Engagement said if an anchor or host says something is good or bad or uses evaluative terms, that could indicate it’s more of an opinion than fact.

"If you're watching broadcast news, these are people that are really trying to bring you the facts and the information about what's happening in the world right now," Stroud said.

RELATED: News literacy series aims to help you be a smarter consumer of news and information

Broadcast news means ABC, NBC or CBS. But if you prefer more of the opinion programming that you’d find on FOX News or MSNBC, the best thing to do would be to listen to multiple opinions.

“If you're just hearing one opinion every day only, then you don't realize that some people disagree with that opinion, that it's not factual necessarily,” said Gina Masullo, the associate director of the Center for Media Engagement.

If the host spouts off on a topic, that could be another red flag you should take note of before trusting that everything they say as fact.

We want to hear from you with your questions about how news is gathered and then reported to you. Text KVUE at 512-459-9442 or email bnewberry@kvue.com.

VERIFY: Understanding the difference between legitimate news and misinformation


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