Part 5: Evaluate Claim
Please read through these examples that will guide your evaluation of this article.
Example 1 – True
Rolling Stone reported that “Anthony Bourdain Dead at 61 of Apparent Suicide.”
(1.1) The main purpose of the article is to report that Anthony Bourdain has recently died and how he died.
(1.2) You decide that the central claim is that he recently died of a suicide.
(1.3) You are trying to find evidence to support or reject if Anthony Bourdain died of a suicide. CNN might be a source that you trust, and one link from CNN – which hosted Anthony Bordain’s TV show – supports the claim that Anthony Bourdain did commit suicide: https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/08/us/anthony-bourdain-obit/index.html.
(1.4) A statement in the CNN article is “His good friend Michael Ruhlman said he was stunned by news of the suicide,” which supports the original claim. Because CNN is a source you trust and it provides supporting evidence for the claim, you decide to rate the claim as “True”.
Example 2 – False
Socceronsunday.com published a story reporting “José Mourinho Sacked By Manchester UTD”
(2.1) The main purpose of the article is to report that the Manchester United soccer team’s manager, José Mourinho, had been fired after years of poor performance.
(2.2) You decide the central claim is that Mourinho was fired as manager of Manchester United.
(2.3) BBC might be a source you trust, and a recent story from their website (published after the article you are evaluating) reports that Mourinho is still manager and has the support of the Manchester United board: https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/45768138.
(2.4) The article states that “The club’s recent form has led to intense speculation about the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager’s future. However, it is understood there is no immediate threat to his position. United have previously indicated results would be the determining factor in deciding Mourinho’s future and that remains the case despite reports of unrest behind the scenes.” This provides evidence against the original claim. Because BBC is a source you trust and it provides evidence rejecting the claim, you decide to rate the claim as “False”.
Example 3 – Misleading, but not false
A local news outlet reported that “All alcohol is bad for you, according to new study”
(3.1) The main purpose of the article is to report that no amount of alcohol is safe for consumption, based on the findings of a recent study.
(3.2) You decide the central claim is that drinking any amount of alcohol is bad for you.
(3.3) Vox might be a source you trust, and a report from this website describes why the claim that no amount of alcohol use is safe is not supported by the original study’s analysis: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/8/29/17790118/alcohol-lancet-health-study.
(3.4) The report states “”But while the paper is so nice and so useful [at estimating alcohol’s disease burden],” Stanford meta-researcher John Ioannidis told me [author], “at the last moment it [the research paper] destroys everything.” Instead of focusing on the message about the dangers of excessive drinking, “it focuses on making a claim that no alcohol use is safe.” Not only did the data in the paper not support a zero drinks recommendation, but the authors were also guilty of doing what too many nutrition researchers do: They used definitive, causal language to talk about studies that are only correlational.” This indicates the original claim is not fully supported. Because Vox is a source you trust and it provides evidence that the original claim is not fully supported, you decide to rate the claim as “Misleading”.