Move 1: Looking for previous work

Today we will be busy talking about emotional+sharable content and practicing Caulfield’s first move by finding previous facts-checks and Wikipedia notes.

Check your emotions.

Before we get too far into this unit, it’s important that we discuss this piece of advice from Mike Caulfield in Chapter 3:

“When you feel strong emotion — happiness, anger, pride, vindication — and that emotion pushes you to share a “fact” with others, STOP. Above all, it’s these things that you must fact-check.”

What does Caulfield mean by this? How does it work in practice? What moments from Unit 1 does it recall?

Looking for Previous Work: Fact-checking sites

Of Caulfield’s four fact-checking moves, his first is to see if anyone has already done the work for you. To begin this move efficiently he shares a handy way to site search on DuckDuckGo. This method essentially uses specific search language to crawl multiple fact-checking sites at once to see if there’s anything relevant on the issue (you can search specific sites with Google, but only one site at a time). For example, here’s a site search for information that discusses Donald Trump and the recent declared Wall emergency. As you might know from reading the news, last Friday the president announced that he will try to evoke his executive powers to divert money that Congress has not officially approved to build the wall he’s been talking about since 2016:

trump wall emergency

Looking for Previous Work: Using Wikipedia

Included in Caulfield’s first move of looking for previous work is checking in with Wikipedia. Why? How do we use Wikipedia?

Meme from my relative’s FB wall.

Activity: In this folder I have collected screenshots from several memes that a relative of mine shared on Facebook in the last few days. Once I assign you a number, take a few minutes to use both of Caulfield’s methods in the first move — (1) look to previous fact-checking sites using DuckDuckGo and (2) use the notes in Wikipedia — to see if who has already researched the supposed facts within your assigned meme. Talk with your group and compose a FB comment for this person — let’s call him Wes — that includes facts and links to sources.


  • How many different statements of fact could or did you research in your meme?
  • What did you learn? How confident are you in what you learned? Where did this info come from?
  • What would you still research if given more time? Where might you look?
  • How comfortable did you feel in researching political content?

Homework for Thursday, 2/21

Read Caulfield, Chapters 7-11