Harvard pushes list calling conservative websites ‘fake news’

Harvard pushes list calling conservative websites ‘fake news’

Anthony Gockowski Investigative Reporter on Mar 10, 2017 at 8:43 AM EDT

  • Harvard University recently established a research guide on “fake news” that identifies dozens of respectable conservative websites as “unreliable” or simply“fake.”
  • Their liberal counterparts, however, are generally given a "credible" rating, even when they are described as pushing "clickbait" content,
  • The research guide also encourages students to download a browser extension that flags sites like The Drudge Report and The Daily Signal as being potentially unreliable.

Harvard University recently created a research guide on “fake news” that identifies dozens of respectable conservative websites as “unreliable” or simply “fake” while rating many of their liberal counterparts as "credible."

Harvard’s new research guide, called “Fake News, Misinformation, and Propaganda,” encourages students to acquaint themselves with a “huge list of fake news sites,” many of which are legitimately deceptive, but others of which are merely conservative or libertarian-leaning.

“When in doubt...ask a librarian.”   

[RELATED: Students call BuzzFeed article ‘sketchy’ and ‘unethical’]

The Daily Caller, for instance, is labeled as being “political,” “clickbait,” and having “bias,” whereas The Daily Kos is labeled as “political” “clickbait,” yet is considered “credible.”

Several other influential conservative outlets are included on the list of potentially fake or discredited sources, such as Independent Journal Review, Newsmax, Conservative Review, and The Washington Free Beacon, though none of their liberal counterparts, like Vox, Slate, or Buzzfeed, are on the list.

In fact, the word “conservative” appears 19 times on the list while the term “liberal” appears only 4 times.

According to a post in the School Library Journal, the document was created by Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of Communication and Media at Merrimack College.

Harvard’s guidelines on fake news also recommend that students download browser plug-ins that theoretically detect websites that “may not be a reliable source,” flagging well-known outlets like The Drudge Report, Breitbart, The Daily Signal, and even calling LifeSite News “clickbait.”

[RELATED: College journalism assignment disparages conservatives]

Harvard claims, however, that its guide merely “offers a brief introduction to the spread of misinformation of all kinds and tools for identifying it, and reading the news with a more informed eye.”

At least two other universities, the City University of New York (CUNY) and Radford University, have published the same list of allegedly fake news sources on their school websites.

Campus Reform reached out to both Harvard and Zimdars for comment on the matter, but did not receive a response from either in time for publication

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski

This article has been amended since its initial publication. 

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