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If the news seems too far out, or too good to be true, it probably is not true.

Fake news is full of colored words, “dirty bombs,” made of lies that touch our forever beliefs. That’s why they seem to ring true. Please help save your democracy. Be careful. You guard the free flow of real opinions and truth. “Falsehood flies and truth comes limping after.” --Jonathan Swift, 1710

Find the truth. Find the reliable sources on the internet or call the reference department at the La Crosse Public Library for great help. Your brain is the fastest processor of information. It’s your best defense against fake news. How can you check for truth?

• Listen carefully, or read the first and last statement of any material and skim the center for the main facts. Does the bulk of evidence indicate the conclusion?

• What is the speaker or author’s purpose or point of view? Is it to inform you, persuade you, ridicule, deceive or flatter you? Or is this a “red herring,” only appealing to your emotions or to lead you off the subject?

• Repetition is not truth. If you’re just an echo, please change.

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• Follow the money.

• Flattery is the greatest deception. Beware if all you see or hear or read is “right on.”

• Is the source a celebrity, friend, politician or professional? Are this a reliable source for the topic?

BOTS and propagandists are weapons of destruction. Our defense is our level of critical doubt.

Dave Trapp, Onalaska

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