Mario Villalobos

The SIFT Method

  • Notes

Charlie Warzel in the New York Times:

In 2016, Mr. Caulfield met Mr. Wineburg, who suggested modeling the process after the way professional fact checkers assess information. Mr. Caulfield refined the practice into four simple principles:

  1. Stop.
  2. Investigate the source.
  3. Find better coverage.
  4. Trace claims, quotes and media to the original context.

Otherwise known as SIFT.

I had an argument/discussion with a really good friend yesterday about whether or not flu cases went down during the last year. I told her they went down because of our collective COVID precautions—wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands—but she said it’s not true because they weren’t testing for influenza, so there’s no way of knowing for sure. She’s been against all the COVID precautions since the beginning, so I could understand where she was coming from. I still didn’t believe she was right, so I went online, found around ten sources for my claim that flu cases actually went down, and she said,

We don’t “believe” the same articles. We can both find ones that show what we agree with 🤣

I’m not sure if this SIFT method would’ve worked with her, but I find it useful for myself anyway. I also don’t know how to converse with my friends who don’t share the same definition of “truth” as me. Am I wrong? Is she wrong? Is there a balance? I have no idea.

But we’re still friends, and I’m fiercely loyal to my friends, even when we disagree.