Why do you trust the News Outlets that you trust?

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Stannis
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06 Sep 2014, 11:25 am

There was a thread not long ago abut the news outlets people use. I am curious as to which, if any, processes people use for assessing truth and accuracy in the media they consume.

Conveniently, Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman outlined several factors that can compromise the truth value and completeness of media reporting, in Manufacturing Consent Including: bias of the owners, advertiser bias, relationships with sources, unwillingness to take flak for brave reporting, and deliberate fear mongering. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_model

There are many additional factors that can compromise true and accurate reporting, of course. I am curious if anyone has any ideas about what we can look for to make us reasonably confident that a story is truthful and accurate, and whether a particular journalist is likely to put out those kinds of stories.



Last edited by Stannis on 07 Sep 2014, 2:13 am, edited 9 times in total.

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06 Sep 2014, 11:39 am

You mean that PRAVDA isn't telling the truth! 8O Oh the shock horror of it. :P


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0_equals_true
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06 Sep 2014, 11:43 am

Trust nothing on face value.

However I think there are load of people who think they are terribly smart for being contrarian. This doesn't mean they know who to trust.



Janissy
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06 Sep 2014, 5:51 pm

What I do is cross-check. I use the old guard media as a starting point, such as New York Times or Washington Post, because they have a long tradition of trying not to be caught out in inaccuracies. Then I cross-check the story with other sources especially ones that have a vested interest in the story. For example, if the New York Times picks up a story that happened in a town somewhere in the U.S. I'll also go to the website of that town's paper to see what is the same and what is different. If it's an international story, I'll go to old guard media of that country to cross-check. Although the internet makes this do-able, it is still time consuming so I'll only do it with stories I care about.

Cross checking multiple sources is a good way to see slant in a more obvious way. The choice of adjectives and so on colors the way a story appears. If multiple sources say that X happened even if they report it in wildly different ways, then I have reason to believe that X happened. The place that there is usually the largest media disagreement is in why X happened. If I care about the story (and it is not possible to care about every story there is, I pick and choose) then multiple sources will give multiple reasons for why X happened and from these multiple sources I can start to piece together a somewhat plausible idea of what happened and why.



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06 Sep 2014, 6:24 pm

You start by trusting news outlets and end up believing in evolution, quantum mechanics or the Earth?s rotundity.¹ 8)

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seaturtleisland
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06 Sep 2014, 8:25 pm

I don't watch the news regularly. I might read an article in the paper here and there because it's easy to find newspapers lying around and when I lived with my parents there was a newspaper on the kitchen table every morning. I read the paper much more often than I watch the news. Sometimes I hear about things via word of mouth and the information I get probably comes from the news a lot of the time.

I also don't know who to trust so I maintain that I don't know anything for sure. That doesn't mean I don't have a guess about a thing or two but it's just a guess based on what I've heard (and sometimes what I haven't heard) knowing that the information I have could be false. Even if it's not false I can still be biased on my own. If I have limited circumstantial information that is accurate I'm going to jump to what I see as the most likely explanation for it but my own biases can affect what seems likely.

The news reports on a lot of things that don't affect me anyway so there's no point in doing rigorous fact checking for those sort of things. If it's not relevant to my actions then it's not going to change my decisions either way.

In general I don't trust the news. I don't even trust myself to be unbiased. I assume that I don't know anything for sure. I don't say that to sound smart. If I were smart I'd be better at checking my sources. If I was smart I would find a way to know rather than just admitting that I don't know. And fairly recently I pretended to know something when I knew I didn't which is something I usually don't do. That's not smart either. That's actually pretty stupid. I'm just distrusting of the news and my own judgement. That's all.



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06 Sep 2014, 8:57 pm

I cross check too, and take much of what is said with a large grain of salt. The only news I trust here in Oz is ABC radio news. They give the facts and leave interpretation to the listeners. When I watch TV news later, they seem to leave out facts, giving a story a wrong twist, even when the story doesn't matter much.


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06 Sep 2014, 9:08 pm

Janissy wrote:
What I do is cross-check. I use the old guard media as a starting point, such as New York Times or Washington Post, because they have a long tradition of trying not to be caught out in inaccuracies. Then I cross-check the story with other sources especially ones that have a vested interest in the story. For example, if the New York Times picks up a story that happened in a town somewhere in the U.S. I'll also go to the website of that town's paper to see what is the same and what is different. If it's an international story, I'll go to old guard media of that country to cross-check. Although the internet makes this do-able, it is still time consuming so I'll only do it with stories I care about.

Cross checking multiple sources is a good way to see slant in a more obvious way. The choice of adjectives and so on colors the way a story appears. If multiple sources say that X happened even if they report it in wildly different ways, then I have reason to believe that X happened. The place that there is usually the largest media disagreement is in why X happened. If I care about the story (and it is not possible to care about every story there is, I pick and choose) then multiple sources will give multiple reasons for why X happened and from these multiple sources I can start to piece together a somewhat plausible idea of what happened and why.


I do something similar, using multiple ideologically opposed sources to try and get a picture both of the story and the spin, as the spin is often more interesting to me than the actual story. Of course, if it's a gun related story I can usually do my own fact check just by looking at all the technical mistakes, which are usually legion in mainstream media stories, and not just nit picky stuff like saying 'clip' instead of 'magazine' either.


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07 Sep 2014, 1:56 am

You should be aware of the source of the news you're reading and their potential biases, I don't bother with TV news. I like the news aggregates online to sample all over, twitter, stuff like that.



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07 Sep 2014, 8:45 am

Most of it is not very pleasant. It does not make me feel good. I like birds, and flowers, and good food,and speedy cars, and motorbikes, and trees, and poofy clouds, and blue skies.

Stuff like that.

However reporting blue skies does not make money, sell, or improve ratings. so we are stuck with the news. :cry:


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10 Sep 2014, 7:24 pm

Dox47 wrote:
Janissy wrote:
What I do is cross-check. I use the old guard media as a starting point, such as New York Times or Washington Post, because they have a long tradition of trying not to be caught out in inaccuracies. Then I cross-check the story with other sources especially ones that have a vested interest in the story. For example, if the New York Times picks up a story that happened in a town somewhere in the U.S. I'll also go to the website of that town's paper to see what is the same and what is different. If it's an international story, I'll go to old guard media of that country to cross-check. Although the internet makes this do-able, it is still time consuming so I'll only do it with stories I care about.

Cross checking multiple sources is a good way to see slant in a more obvious way. The choice of adjectives and so on colors the way a story appears. If multiple sources say that X happened even if they report it in wildly different ways, then I have reason to believe that X happened. The place that there is usually the largest media disagreement is in why X happened. If I care about the story (and it is not possible to care about every story there is, I pick and choose) then multiple sources will give multiple reasons for why X happened and from these multiple sources I can start to piece together a somewhat plausible idea of what happened and why.


I do something similar, using multiple ideologically opposed sources to try and get a picture both of the story and the spin, as the spin is often more interesting to me than the actual story. Of course, if it's a gun related story I can usually do my own fact check just by looking at all the technical mistakes, which are usually legion in mainstream media stories, and not just nit picky stuff like saying 'clip' instead of 'magazine' either.


There are a number of decent think tanks out there too. Why do I watch FOX? I watch FOX because even though I oftentimes disagree fully or in part with what folks on FOX say, there are a few commentators there that aren't pure sophists like I've found basically unanimously on other political networks. Regardless, FOX doesn't have all that much to do with how I form my opinions and there are too many talking points there as well, I often tire of the inane quantities of basic fallacies and unethical misinformation that the average viewer is subjected to. For the most part, it's the talking points that tire me, it bugs me when I hear about something interesting and no one is willing to present a qualified, substantive view on it.


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10 Sep 2014, 7:32 pm

I don't "trust" ANY of them because they are typically full of sh!t.
I usually just go with local news since it's comprehensive enough for me and not too slanted.
Other than that it's good old Fox. :P


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14 Sep 2014, 11:44 pm

anything i can get my hands on. i try to take nothing at face value, (is that how you use that phrase?). with a grain of salt. i don't watch tv news.

my main local newspaper was under hot water several years ago when a businesswoman bought it, tensions rose when some editors and journalists started to see that she was overlooking it, compromising the neutrality and credibility of the paper. 5 editors and a columnist resigned, ever since there has been a slow loss of workers there.

the paper gets physically smaller every year.


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15 Sep 2014, 5:04 pm

Here was last week's assignment in my Social Welfare Policy class...

Quote:
Media and political Ideology: Watch at least one hour on one of the cable news channels that you do not regularly watch (e.g., Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNBC, Headline News, or CNN). Write a thoughtful discussion post reflecting on the economic and/or political perspective of the commentators. Did they appear slanted toward any specific political or economic perspective? Was an effort made to present both sides of ideological issues? Compare this news source to the news source that you usually prefer. Were there any significant differences? In addition, please be sure to respond to at least two other students' perspectives as well.


This is a advanced class made up of Seniors and Grad-students and I was really shocked to see how many people (about 40%) either didn't watch news at all, or watched the news totally uncritically.

Several people claimed that they usually watched Fox News, but never realized how biased it was until watching a bit of CNN...

Totally nuts.


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