NORTH ANDOVER (CBS) –- Fake news is a hot topic these days, as many have questioned whether false or misleading stories spreading on Facebook influenced the presidential election.

How can you make sure that what you’re sharing is real? One educator may be able to help.

Melissa Zimdars is an associate professor of communication and media at Merrimack College in Massachusetts. She created a public Google document of “false, misleading, clickbait-y, and/or satirical “news” sources” that started as a resource for her students, but now has been shared by national media outlets like The Los Angeles Times.

Click to see the list of websites

There are dozens of websites on the list representing both conservative and liberal viewpoints. Some urls closely resemble legitimate news sources like “” or “,” neither of which are affiliated with ABC News or the Fox News anchor.

Some of the false, misleading or satirical websites identified by the professor. (Image credit Melissa Zimdars)

Some of the false, misleading or satirical websites identified by the professor. (Image credit Melissa Zimdars)

Zimdars notes that not every website on the list is just making things up. Some circulate information that is misleading or unreliable, some post headlines that are strictly “clickbait” and others are satire or comedy websites that can be mistake for real news.

The document also offers tips for spotting a fake. She recommends avoiding websites that end in “lo” or “” and being weary of headlines that are in all capital letters or trigger a strong emotion.

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“If the story makes you REALLY ANGRY it’s probably a good idea to keep reading about the topic via other sources to make sure the story you read wasn’t purposefully trying to make you angry (with potentially misleading or false information) in order to generate shares and ad revenue,” Zimdars writes.

What sites does Zimdars trust? She says she gets her information from mainstream media sources like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Atlantic and National Public Radio.

“It’s always best to read multiple sources of information to get a variety of viewpoints and media frames,” Zimdar writes.

Since releasing the document, Zimdars says she’s gotten hundreds of suggestions about other fake news websites and will be updating the list as needed.

Comments (15)
  1. reformedii says:

    “She recommends avoiding websites that …….
    and being weary of headlines that are in all capital letters or trigger a strong emotion.”

    WOW!! Does she also think she can tell us which sweater to buy or which fork to use?

    Yeah that truth stuff can trigger strong emotions. BEWARE! Danger, danger!

    Good grief.

    1. What bothered me about that sentence was a professor of communication who uses the word “weary” instead of “wary”. That makes me “wary” of her opinions.

  2. Gad Foltys says:

    This list is total bs and your network is participating and propagating a piece of deceit and propaganda.

    When I don’t see CNN and Snopes on this list and I see some sites and sources that I consider 100% reliable on this list, I have the suspicion that this list is a shill operation meant to discredit hundreds or even thousands of truth activists who have been doing great work investigating and spreading the truth or their perspective which is much needed.
    PLEASE do your due diligence DON’T take anything seriously just because it came from the Government, MSM or the “Higher” education system and might have some impressive credentials next to it.
    You as a HUMAN BEING are the ultimate authority on what you take in, how you process it and what you express.
    It is my opinion that The “System” official and “official looking” (Government, MSM, Education, Health etc) is corrupt to the core and is 100% self serving.
    To me this list is an effort to disempower the individual and discredit the many individuals who are selflessly hard working at spreading the truth and helping to usher in a new age of justice, truth, respect and equality.
    On another note, there is the tendency among many of us these days to Gloss over headlines without reading content and creating a phenomenon a friend named “chasing links” once again we individually and collectively must put in the extra effort to read the articles and corroborate/fact-check the information in whatever way we deem necessary or possibly add to the post the disclaimer “I have not read this” or “, “I have not read this yet” etc. That gives the viewer context as to your level of awareness of the material you are posting.

    P.S. CNN (among others) has been caught lying, manufacturing news, using green screen technology and injecting subjective context/agenda in to their programming, I would gladly post proof to this if asked.
    After having submitted information and checked Snopes my conclusion is the Snopes is not a credible operation it is a Subjective, agenda driven shill operation and not to be trusted.


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