What News We Read, Listen To and Trust- and maybe shouldn't!
Since well before the last election, we all begin to experience and to learn that much of the media was so caught up in the facts, stories, and statistics that they wanted to believe was "real" and trustworthy, that almost everyone missed the boat of awareness of America's and Americans true "hopes and dreams" about the future we wanted to see, and frankly the power we thought we deserved.
It was a rude awakening to discover that not only were major intuitive predictions wrong about our 2016 election, but that the best analytical prognosticators and statisticians and their sites were as well.
Those of us on social media went through huge challenges and even lost long time friends because we were getting our news from vastly different sources. (note Laura F.s topic on metacognition and extremism)
It started hard discussions as we all gently provided our own information and voiced disagreements to name calling of people in power and eventually, each other.
I all but left social media after trying my best to affect change by opening hearts and minds.
I don't want that experience to carry over to this site that brought me so many new online friends and kindred spirits. But as far back as December during a post group chat, I told Jeanne I forsaw it happening here. I gently ask that we take a look at ourselves before it happens.
The developers have already changed our "popularity" ratings based on how much we visit and post. Talking a lot doesn't make me trustworthy. I always talk too much. And often write far too much 😉
Hard work and wise thinking and an open and loving heart are my goals. Your comments warm my spirit not my stars and eventually numbers of medallions! They're for show to encourage us to post more and more by ratings algorithms and beyond Jeanne's control. Thanks, Jeanne for your original explanations on that change. I felt vastly better about the change. But to point out the silliness of ratings, why doesn't Jeanne get at least a shield when she deserves a trophy? Algorithms prevail in this digitally mastered and controlled world. And we are all part of that collective.
And no doubt my newsfeed algorithms work pretty much the same way!
But as I read too much celebrity or royal news gossip (usually fake in my opinion of course) or news, I can see my own as well as all of our selective choices and references swaying. And I am guilty as anyone else and that makes me sad but also more aware.
In order to find post links I've sunk to google news on my search engine page (I only type on my mobile phone) and noticed lately absolutely ridiculous stories at the top of the new feed from sources I'd never even heard of!
The end of the world of our planet due to our suns complete burnout which of course could happen but billions of years away drew my attention immediately! I actually clicked on it to guesstimate its fake appeal factor. Sucked right by my click! Its all about ratings and popular posts and watching sites counts go up
So, I ask and lets be honest, what news sources do you most often click on without even thinking? I love royal photos, celebrity homes, events, and new babies to famous people, sigh. Also anything with animals in the news.
I just deleted all of my favorites from my apps on my phone.
What do you read and what is good and not so good about it?What suckers you in (darn it, those People Magazine teasers!) and what have you deleted or unsubscribed from?
I know I'm not alone. What draws you in, what do you trust and be honest, if you make a statement here about anyone (or their wives or children or how they live or who they fought with over whatever) do you check your source?
I love to check things on Politico or from the Pew Research Team. Are they still high in the ratings or not?
Tell my your news sources and give me a chuckle over the sites you wished you'd never clicked on.
Then read Pews interesting articles on on our most interesting habits and patterns.
Hello there. I've been following this forum for quite a while and have been shy about posting, but this issue is one I think about a great deal because I teach critical thinking and information literacy.
It would be so nice if we could just tune into certain sources and just trust what they have to say, but there is nothing without bias, even from respectable, even-handed journalists and periodicals. Often the bias is a matter of what stories they choose to tell--what they focus on and what they ignore--even more than the particular slants that affect how they construct their narratives. For example, we are only now getting stories in mainstream media about our environmental crisis. There may have been greater urgency to act long ago if things had been reported differently (or at all). Even with quality journalism we need to step back and consider what stories are not being told, whose voices are being ignored, and what/whose agenda may be served.
That said, I do not have cable TV and I find the mode of discourse on the TV news networks to be loaded with punditry, much of which tries to provoke outrage (even CNN and MSNBC). There's a terrific documentary called The Brainwashing of My Dad that takes a close look at how right wing media in particular has affected people and one of the strategies of Fox News was to agitate viewers in a way that became addictive--with an explanation of the neurological response to those repeated triggers. When I do catch these shows in public places, I see similar mechanisms at work--it is kind of like viewers get worked up feeling "Yes, that's AWFUL" and somehow are wired to keep coming back for more of the drama. I suppose something similar might happen via written text, especially with the more provocative sites that make videos and use lots of images, but generally when we are reading text we're less susceptible to that kind of manipulation.
Sorry that I haven't actually answered the post yet! While I always keep one critical eye open, I do listen to some NPR in the car. I appreciate that they offer different points of view and are generally low-drama in their presentation. But even that I can't do every day, largely because there's just too much focus on the orange goblin king in the media and I cannot stand to see him or hear his voice.
The Guardian is one I follow online for their focus on environmental issues, and they even address the importance of how we talk about these issues: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/24/media-outlets-guardian-reconsider-language-climate
Democracy Now is pretty biased (anti-corporate) and before the 2016 election I wearied of their focus on digging up dirt on Hillary--it seemed like they were too intent and fixated on that to the neglect of plenty of other stories that might have been told. What I like about Democracy now is that you do get stories and voices that you would not get in mainstream media: missing and murdered indigenous women, transgender rights; they were present at Standing Rock before other media, and they've done some good reporting about the crisis on the border. But again, I do not "tune in" regularly to them.
It seems like remaining present in the moment and connected to your senses, to nature, to your relationships, to community--the world that is happening around us--is essential to balance out the constant drone of media we are inundated with. And that's part of why I check in here--it is a counterpoint to that noise. I also have some literary and artistic people I follow to help me stay soul-centered. Rebecca Solnit writes about the environment, about women's/LGBTQ/Human rights, and, so importantly, about HOPE. On facebook she posts not just critiques of the inequities and crises at hand, but articles that show positive actions people are taking to foster good. We should not ignore this nightmare happening in our country, especially the pain being suffered by those who are most vulnerable right now, but we also need to tune into other frequencies and stories, especially from the spiritual and natural world. ❤️
Here are two links to two wonderful resources that intersect with spirituality and the environment:
Emergence Magazine: https://emergencemagazine.org/
For the Wild Podcast: http://forthewild.world/ (This one always makes me think of the predictions about youth doing great things to restore balance in the world.)
I am so happy and grateful that you joined us and wrote such a great response.
This is more than I hoped to encourage from our group and I truly hope others will chime in.
All I could do was smile with delight reading each and every sentence you wrote.
Its just what we needed to hear and from one quite wonderful new source...you!
Please continue to join in. I could not be happier you were moved to join and to join in to this complicated but so needed conversation.
As long as you are signed in and the site's time limit isn't up for edits, there is an edit button always at the bottom of the texting box.
I write completely on a cell phone...not only no cable tv at my house either, but no wifi anymore. I edit my typos over and over until I've finally corrected as many as I can as quickly as I can but I still lose my edit button frequently on my very often very long posts trying my best to be relatable in one way or another to so many.
I am so glad it connected with you and brought you into this forum and especially this topic!
herondreams - thanks for your post!
Where can we view the documentary you mentioned?
Thanks Laura F.
For those of you who've already noticed that herondreams included two links, the one that Laura is most likely alluding to dif not (at least immediately) show up in a search.
Instead, the google search/chrome search brought up this site/herondream's post instead. In other words a U-turn return 😉
However, on my second attempt it worked perfectly Laura! It requires a subscription I believe but the site itself leads me to believe it might be worth a donation/sunscription to read podcasts.
And the noth linked sites are awesome!
Here are two links to two wonderful resources that intersect with spirituality and the environment: Emergence Magazine: https://emergencemagazine.org/ For the Wild Podcast: http://forthewild.world/ (This one always makes me think of the predictions about youth doing great things to restore balance in the world.)
I love the warmth and support in this group. ❤️
The documentary The Brainwashing of My Dad is on Amazon (included with Prime) & may be available other places.
I've been able to read Emergence without a donation. They have a unique, multi-modal platform, with audio recordings read by the writers, video and other interactive visuals in addition to written text. You can also find the audio recordings in Apple podcasts (and probably others). It may be helpful to try clicking around their site to get a feel for it, since it is pretty different.
Journalism bias has been tracked for decades. There are reputable organizations that publish the error rates of various media. They also write articles pointing out how certain outlets are more biased and in what way. We subscribe to FAIR, which is one such group.
I'd like to weigh in on a small little known publication, Democracy Now!, which is hosted by Amy Goodman, the filmmaker journalist who runs the organization.
Learning something about Democracy Now! helps us understand bias.
Goodman was arrested and jailed in 2016 for filming a Dakota Pipeline story. She was filming security guards abusing protestors when she was arrested and jailed, and threatened with ten years imprisonment.
It turned out that the prosecutor was a fan of Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi, who is an award winning journalist. So in order to help Goodman, who he knows professionally, Taibbi wrote a complimentary article about her and Democracy Now! explaining who this woman is and why she should be released from jail.
His article is worth reading and will make you want to follow Democracy Now! https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/journalist-amy-goodman-shouldnt-be-arrested-for-covering-dakota-pipeline-story-119214/
For those of you who don't know Matt Taibbi, his stories are also worth reading.
To call Amy Goodman biased is interesting. Yes, she is less likely to cover the corporate side of the story than the people's side of the story and, according to Taibbi, she does so with unflinching photo journalism.
We all know that FOX is biased. FOX the P.R. arm of corporate America. When FOX first began it's newsroom, they pressured the journalists into biased stories. Normal journalists who had been trained to report the truth pushed back, many wrote about what was happening there, and many resigned or were fired. They were replaced with airhead public relations people who were happy to place the p.r. role for corporate America. That is FOX today.
So it's not journalism but public relations which is part of a company's marketing system. When Fox News started way back in the day, it was well known that good journalists left because of the enforced, pro corporate bias, and bad journalists were hired.
All news outlets have error rates, i.e., the percentage of errors in their stories. FOX's error rate which is tracked by journalism watchdogs, like Columbia Journalism Review and FAIR, is off the charts.
Then there are main stream publications like the NY Times, Washington Post, the Guardian, and the Boston Globe. These are also biased in favor of the Corporate sector, but they are a whole other magnitude less biased than outlets like Fox News. They hire top notch journalists and they follow basic journalism method, unlike FOX which just writes p.r. schlock. The reputable news outlets have fact checkers who check the truth in the stories.
When I wrote a story for the Atlantic many years back, their fact checker was all over the story, making dozens of calls to check the facts of every detail in my story. (It checked out 🙂 Remember the movie with Kate Hudson, Almost Famous? An important plot line hinged on the Rolling Stone fact checker being unable to verify the unflattering details the young writer exposed about the rock group he was writing about.
Taibbe (of Rolling Stone) points out that in order to get the stories, journalists have to get on the good side of their sources, and that means that journalists have to snuff some unflattering facts. Even at Rolling Stone, which is progressive and Republicans would call extremely biased, he admits he's snuffed the truth in order to maintain access to his sources. But Amy Goodman at Democracy Now! doesn't do that, he writes.
I read two publications whose sole focus is to detect bias in journalism. Columbia Journalism Review and Fair. They keep track of errors and bias in reporting and help you to become aware of just how reporters give us biased news.
I thought I would post something on this topic as someone posted a link to an article a few days ago that claimed that Ilhan Omar and Kushner are Qatari assets. As we all know, it is currently difficult to figure out what information sources are reliable and to agree on a common reality. I thought I would post the original link, a follow up from the same publication and a link to an article which came out today which briefly mentions the allegations as baseless but is primarily and article about Omar’s Republican opponent being banned from twitter for suggesting that she be hanged.
I looked up the Jerusalem Post and they are rated as a right of center media source that tends to be reliable. The Washington Post also tends to be reliable. So how does the average person make sense of these kinds of stories without going full conspiracy theory? I don’t know anything about the person who made the allegations in sworn testimony and I don’t know if the Jerusalem Post is biased against Omar because she is Muslim. If that were the case though, why would they mention Kushner who is Jewish?When I just put in the search words Ilhan Omar and Qatar, the majority of stores that come up are from far right sources, most of which do not look very reliable.
Sorry that this post is so long, but I just wondered how the rest of you make sense of these kinds of stories in the media.
I looked up the Jerusalem Post and they are rated as a right of center media source that tends to be reliable. The Washington Post also tends to be reliable. So how does the average person make sense of these kinds of stories without going full conspiracy theory?
Thanks for bringing up this story. I am assuming that your source that said The Jerusalem Post "tends to be reliable" means that they have a low error rate? Since all they did was to report some court testimony, then they didn't commit an actual error. Their true error was one of omission: they failed to explain how dubious the Canadian businessman's testimony was. And they put the information on Kushner at the tail end of the article, again showing their bias. The JP has a reputation to uphold for "reliability" so they keep it factual, but if you want to read right-of-center news, then they've lived up to their reputation by not reporting how dubious the source was and putting far more emphasis on Omar then Kushner. So after reading their article, you have been biased towards the right.
These days, the right wing leans against democracy. I am pro democracy, that's my bias, so I wouldn't read them. The fact that they also included the court testimony against Kushner, to me, shows they are trying to act even handed and boosting their "reliability" reputation. But as I said they put it near the end - minimizing damage to Kushner and maximizing damage to Omar. They also soft pedaled the Kushner story.
The Washington Post's media bias is left but these days, "left" means leaning towards democracy. So if the bias is for those trying to uphold democracy, then I prefer to read it.
Unlike the Jersusalem Post's reporting, WAPO made it clear upfront that the accusations against Omar were "baseless." WAPO explained in detail that the only source of "evidence" against Omar was a right wing dubious Canadian businessman who made the claims in court.
WaPo is reliable, I agree with Jeanne, and it is pro-democracy. I subscribe to the LA Times, which is also reliable, and my husband likes the NY Times, which I no longer trust as they are apologistic, "fine people on both sides" at this point, they cling to the outdated notion of "fairness in reporting" which pretty much died the day Rupert Murdoch hit US soil. As for TV journalism, I trust none of it and don't watch it unless it's related to a local disaster and I need safety info. I do watch televised hearings, but I never watch any pundit commentary on TV. For world news I watch NHK TV - Japanese public TV, they are succinct and to the point without opinionating (you can view online or download the NHK app on Roku or Stick).
The best source for real investigative news is ProPublica. They do long-range, in-depth reporting on various issues and are NON-PROFIT. In fact, I support them with a monthly donation. They have a user database called Trumptown, in which you can click on different things to track the shady financials of Drumpf et al.
Even NPR has become somewhat unreliable, as the Koch family is on the board and a big contributor. And my rule of thumb is: if any news outlet gets money from any commercial or political entity, I don't trust them. This especially applies to Facebook. I block anything that comes up in my feed as "news" regardless of source (except ProPublica, I follow them on purpose).
Money has been corrupting journalism for over 100 years (vide: Hearst), there's no reason to believe that has diminished over time, it has probably increased.
My advice to everyone is to remain skeptical, especially of online and foreign news sources. You just have no real way of knowing what's true vs. what's being manipulated. Remember to "follow the money and power". Ask yourself - Who benefits from this article's publication and dissemination? Try to look at the big picture - remember forces of darkness have a vested interest in sowing chaos. Those of us on here have a slight edge - use your spidey sense too.
I agree with your assessment, @Jeanne Mayelle. I just wonder how many people take the time to do the research to check the sources they are consulting and to read with a critical eye to any intentions or agenda of the source? When I think of certain members of my family, I can not imagine them consulting multiple news sources, let alone thinking about what could possibly motivate and inform their reporting. @Laura F. I agree with you about reading with a critical eye no matter where you get your news and that using your spidey sense can be helpful. However, I disagree that one should be distrustful of all foreign sources of news. I live outside the US and that would make my news intake very limited. I think you can learn very different perspectives on the same issues by seeing them reported by the press in different countries. I also can not imagine not reading news online. I agree though that one has to be careful about what sources one trusts and to consider news critically.
I like Pacifica Radio. It has Democracy Now, and lots of other progressive news programs. It also has amazing and eclectic music programming. The local station here has been bombed off the air, twice, by the KKK. Nevertheless, KPFT Houston is approaching it's 50th anniversary!
If you don't have a local affiliate where you live, you can listen in anywhere in the world, online, at https://kpft.org/listen/