You can tell mostly based upon the credentials of the author; is the author a P.h.D.? Was information in the article well cited and comes with good analysis? Maybe try and do some of the same research that was done in the article- did you come up with a similar conclusion? With information being so easily accessable over the internet, plagarism is a huge problem, therefore many more question the credibility of any sort of news or research they see.
Check the website from where it is coming. If it is The New York Times, Washington Post, or another newspaper of record, than you can trust them. If it is a smaller blog, then you may be wary. It is always important to question and be curious. One of the best things you can do for yourself when reading about a debate is to learn both sides. Find the counter argument and decide for yourself what makes sense. When you know the opposition, you can better understand your own beliefs.
Look to see if the author lists any sources, especially if bold claims are being made. Also pay attention to the arguments. Does the conclusion follow from the premise? Are there any logical fallacies? Pay special attention to argument structure if the item being discussed on a TV talk show.
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