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Americans grapple with recognizing facts in news stories: Pew survey

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Only a quarter of U.S. adults in a recent survey could fully identify factual statements – as opposed to opinion – in news stories, the Pew Research Center found in a study released on Monday.

The survey comes amid growing concerns about so-called fake news spread on the internet and social media. The term generally refers to fabricated news that has no basis in fact but is presented as being factually accurate.

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Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc’s  Google and other tech companies have recently come under scrutiny for failing to promptly tackle the problem of fake news as more Americans consume news on social media platforms.
The main portion of Pew’s survey polled 5,035 adult Americans aged 18 and above in February and March. The study was intended to determine if respondents could differentiate between factual information and opinion statements in news stories.

Participants were given five factual statements such as “spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid make up the largest portion of the U.S. federal budget,” and five opinion statements such as “democracy is the greatest form of government.” They were asked to identify which ones were factual and which were opinions.

Only 26 percent were able to correctly identify all five factual statements. On opinions, about 35 percent were able to correctly identify all five statements. Roughly a quarter got most or all wrong in identifying facts and opinions, the research showed.

The study found that participants’ ability to classify statements as factual or opinion varied widely based on their political awareness, trust in the news media, and “digital savviness” or degree to which they are confident in using digital devices and the internet.

“There is a striking difference in certain Americans in distinguishing what are factual statements and what are not and that depends on one’s level of digital savviness, political savviness,” Amy Mitchell, director of journalism research at Pew Research Center, said in an interview.

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The study also found that when Americans call a statement “factual” they overwhelmingly also think it is accurate. They tend to disagree with factual statements they incorrectly label as opinions, Pew said.

The research showed Republicans and Democrats were also more likely to think news statements are factual when the statements appeal to their side, even if the statements were opinions.

Reporting by Angela Moon in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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‘That’s a bombshell, that’s an earthquake’: NBC reporter sounds the alarm on Russia’s latest efforts for Trump

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The New York Times broke the story Thursday that Russia is supporting President Donald Trump and is already hacking the 2016 election to help his reelection.

It was something NBC reporter Ken Delanian called a "bombshell."

"It is the worst nightmare of many of my sources in the intelligence world," he said. "It's bad enough to learn that there is classified intelligence that Russia is interfering again and trying to elect Donald Trump. We should be careful about that because it is not clear what it means. Does it mean disinformation on social media, does it mean intercepts that suggest people in the Kremlin are discussing the campaign? That is bad enough, but then the notion that because a briefing of that information was delivered to a bipartisan group of lawmakers, that cost Joe Maguire the job? That is a bombshell."

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2020 Election

REVEALED: Bloomberg NDA gave women a specific script to read if asked about what the company did

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One of the key moments in Wednesday nights Democratic debate came when Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) pressed former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg on why he won't release women from Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) that prevent them from discussing alleged wrongdoing at his companies.

President Donald Trump also used an NDA is his hush-money scheme to silence Stormy Daniels.

Warren asked Bloomberg to release the women from the agreements, "so we can hear their side of the story."

Former Vice President Joe Biden also joined in, but Bloomberg refused to allow the women to tell their story -- and couldn't even answer Warren's question about the number of women who are gagged by NDAs.

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Russia is working to re-elect Trump, he knows it, the intel community knows it, and he’s furious House Democrats were told

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Russia is working to re-elect President Donald Trump. That should come as little surprise to many – it's actually unclear they ever stopped attacking the U.S. elections – "meddling," as far too many put it – since they began as far back as 2013, according to the U.S. intelligence community.

But the U.S. intelligence community knows Russia is working to help Trump. Trump knows Russia is working to help Trump. House Democrats were told last week Russia is working to help Trump. And now Trump is furious.

"Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected," The New York Times, citing five sources, reports late Thursday afternoon. The newspaper adds that the "disclosure ... angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him."

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