Inability to identify false news might be due to “lazy thinking” not motivated reasoning
Research by Gordon Pennycook and David Rand testing belief in “blatantly inaccurate news headlines” suggests that people who are more analytical (i.e. do better in a cognitive test) are better at discerning false news from real news. That is the case regardless of whether that news aligns with their political ideology—and actually they were better at identifying false news if it did align.
So they conclude that it’s more “lazy thinking” i.e. a lack of analytical thinking that causes people to be susceptible. This contrasts with previous research from Dan Kahan that more analytical people are better able to argue for attitude consistent interpretations.
Also note the importance of analytical thinking – a skill that seems out of favor.
That finding is of personal interest – I am very analytical and I quickly spot, and get perturbed by, fictional news.