Like many citizens around the world, you may be concerned about media manipulation. It was digital news content, referred to as “fake news,” that spurred international concern that false news reports were misleading voters after the so-called Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and the election of President Donald Trump in the United States. Trump weaponized the term “fake news” to denounce any reporting he deemed to be inaccurate or inconveniently critical of him or his administration.

As Nolan Higdon notes in The Anatomy of Fake News: A Critical News Literacy Education, “Fake news is anything but self-explanatory. It extends far beyond news itself and exists in numerous formats such as rumors, lies, hoaxes, bunk, satire, parody, misleading content, impostor content, fabricated content, and manipulated content.”

You are not powerless against the influence of the news media, however. As a critically news-literate person, you can investigate news content and the process behind its production and dissemination. One way to begin is to familiarize yourself with who is likely to produce fake news.

The known producers of fake news include the following:

Political party propaganda apparatuses: Loosely connected groups that work to influence electoral outcomes and policy debates through the promotion of content, including fake news. These organizations include public relations firms and members of the news media who often work in tandem.

The legacy media: These are often called “mainstream” media, but are also sometimes referred to as “corporate” media. Although they reach large audiences and report on many daily affairs accurately, they sometimes report falsehoods that can be minor, such as misattributing a quote, or significant, such as the claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, which served as one justification for the catastrophic U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

State-sponsored propaganda machines: A conglomerate of government-funded efforts that seek to influence public opinion. Governments, including the United States, have long produced and distributed fake news to domestic and foreign populations through outlets such as Radio Televisión Martí and Voice of America. Other nations, including Russia, engage in propaganda operations that also seek to shape global interpretations of events.

Satirical fake news: A form of entertainment that lampoons dominant culture by simulating a major news outlet’s format and presentation. Examples include The OnionLast Week Tonight with John Oliver, and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

Self-interested actors: People who create fake news to serve their own ends. For example, in an effort to promote his own career, Jayson Blair reported fake news in numerous stories he filed while he worked at The New York Times and The Boston Globe.

Read the full article about media literacy at YES! Magazine.