Information is coming at us from all sides. We get news from traditional media, and news from non-traditional media. We get tidbits of stories from our friends and family in person, and we get them from strangers on Facebook/Twitter/Reddit/QAnon. Some sources clearly have a bias, some claim to have no bias, and some have a hidden bias.
How is an ordinary person to know which sources to trust?
I just read an article that discusses exactly that dilemma, and comes to the conclusion that we cannot avoid reading or hearing about unreliable information sometimes. What we can do is to look for sources that thoroughly check the validity of their facts before publication.
The article is by Ben Smith who was the founding editor of BuzzFeed News. He has covered politics for a number of news media and he knows whereof he speaks. Among the very quotable statements in his article, he says:
“By 2015, the old gatekeepers had entered a kind of crisis of confidence, believing they couldn’t control the online news cycle any better than King Canute could control the tides.”
But, since then things have changed. He points out:
” It turns out there is a big difference between WikiLeaks and establishment media coverage of WikiLeaks, a difference between a Trump tweet and an article about it, even between an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal suggesting Joe Biden had done bad things, and a news article that didn’t reach that conclusion.”
Recently, the establishment media have begun to reassert themselves and even to play some of the dirty tricks previously used by less authoritative sources. The free press has produced factions that compete not only for audiences but also for a reputation as trustworthy. It behoves us all to find out what is the underlying focus of our favourite media.
I recommend that you read the article entitled Trump Had One Last Story To Tell. The Wall Street Journal Wouldn’t Buy It in the New York Times, and I will be interested to know your thoughts. The takeaway for me is that, when some surprising news about any politician comes out, I’m going to wait a couple of days. By then, the good researchers will have found out if I should care or not.