Was there a Garfield piggy bank in the Sears Wishbook? Does a gar have coarse scales? Is hesed, Hebrew for "lovingkindness," the word used in Exodus 34:6?

These unrelated questions have one thing in common: In Touch Magazine. Every article we publish undergoes a rigorous fact-checking process before it lands in your mailbox. A large part of my job as assistant editor is to verify all of that content. Not only do I now possess a lot of random knowledge, but I’ve also learned how to read an article and assess its claims.

In this world of unverified writing, oversharing, and click-bait, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

In this world of unverified writing, oversharing, and click-bait, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. As a fact-checker, I find the following helpful in separating fact from fiction:

Verify by using credible sources. Find a variety of well-known websites and books to support everything, and make sure you use primary sources. For example, instead of reading an article about a law, go read the original law. Books and newspapers have already been fact-checked and edited, so they’ve done a lot of the work for you. Google and Amazon Books offer search options and previews of books online.

Use a fact-checking website. Snopes,, and similar websites can help you begin to discern what’s true. They aren’t always perfect, but they can get you on the right track.

Check domain suffixes. Websites ending in .gov, .edu, or .org have often been vetted. While anyone can create a website, these domain suffixes indicate a site’s purpose and audience.

Evaluate language and content. Articles that use incendiary language are problematic, whereas ones that share information without bias are usually more credible. If the words seem as if they’re trying to sway your opinion, they probably are. Incorrect grammar is also a red flag.

Admit that you don’t know everything. Even if I think something is right, I always verify it with another source, regardless of how pointless it may seem. I’ve often discovered that I was wrong. For example, I can’t recall any nativity scene without wise men, camels, and sheep. But the wise men didn’t come till years later (Matt. 2:16), and the Gospels never actually say animals were present at Christ’s birth. (Even though it’s probably safe to assume there were.)

Related Topics:  Spiritual Life

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6 Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;

16 Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.

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