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JamesHackerMP

How do you know what media/sources to trust?

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It's difficult these days to know what sources of media to trust. Some other threads have been started on particular genres of news--the main stream media, or particular sources--but the bigger question is HOW do you know what or whom to trust? What makes a source trustworthy, anyway? It's easy to say "oh, because they're telling the truth." But how can you tell? We sit here at our computers, isolated from the world at large, and a small cadre of journalists (or other nefarious persons) are making the decisions for us of what "truth" actually is.

Part of the problem, of course, is that people don't always want to believe the truth, they want to hear what they want to hear or read what they want to read. It's so easy to deceive. And we all do that, even if some of us would like to think that we happen to be the smartest person in the room; the one person among many capable of actually seeing through the bullshit. But that is unlikely, as there are so few people like that. At the end of the day we're all equally vulnerable to bullshit.

So how can you tell who is reputable and who isn't? Whom--and what--can we trust, and how do we know?

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How do you know what media/sources to trust?

It probably starts with knowing yourself first.  The absence of superstitious influences and inappropriate thinking i.e. a poor understanding of cause and effect.  Critical thinking, a mainstream cliche if there ever was one.

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So how can you tell who is reputable and who isn't? Whom--and what--can we trust, and how do we know?

 

I think the character of the people who quote them is a good first clue.  Take Trump and Faux News for example.

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Not really sure that it matters, but Rule #1 is to just follow the money (motives).

The truth is way overrated anyway....it does not always follow that people will change their views/actions when presented with the "TRUTH" by media.

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10 hours ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

Not really sure that it matters, but Rule #1 is to just follow the money (motives).

The truth is way overrated anyway....it does not always follow that people will change their views/actions when presented with the "TRUTH" by media.

Yes - start off with over-rich Australians, than whom sooner trust the village idiot.   Rich Australians will never bother you with the truth.

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On 4/14/2018 at 2:19 PM, JamesHackerMP said:

So how can you tell who is reputable and who isn't? Whom--and what--can we trust, and how do we know?

I think the sad reality is that there is no source or organization that you can trust implicitly. Personally, I take all "news" from all sources with a big grain of salt. 

If I'm interested in whether a particular piece of news or information is true enough to do some research, I'll usually check multiple kinds of sources. Certainly check sources that are considered "reliable" by the mainstream like AP, Reuters, BBC, etc. Also check ideologically biased left-leaning and right-leaning sources. Also check out sources from different countries like the US, Canada, Europe, Russia, China, etc. Now make a list of all the things they agree on and all the things they disagree on. Chances are that if a particular fact or piece of information is consistently reported in sources that cover a wide range of ideological and national viewpoints, it's probably true. And pieces of information that are disputed depending on the bias of the source are better to not assume to be true. 

Be particularly wary of any information that is making waves. If people are protesting about something or if something is going viral on social media, there is almost always more to the story than the headlines or social media posts or protest signs claim. The more of a spotlight there is on a certain news story, the more it gets ideologically distorted. The "popularity" of a story serves as a great polarizer, where as something becomes more and more important to more and more people, sources that normally try to stick to the facts for smaller stories will inevitably be pulled to one ideological extreme or another when reporting on a major story. Hence you can find lots of unbiased reporting on, for example, the latest progress in Alzheimer's research, but essentially no unbiased stories on, for example, Trump's presidency.

These kinds of popular stories will inevitably require someone who cares about finding out what is "true" to dig far deeper and spend more time sorting the bs from real facts, to the point that the vast majority of people, even those that are engaged and genuinely interested in truth simply get fatigued and stop bothering, and join the rest of the population in just listening to whatever their "side" says. 

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IMO the media should be responsible for what they publish, especially if the person they targeting or making accusations against, denies it. 

Take this hit piece for instance:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/pallister-free-press-lawsuit-threat-1.4620806

Pallister denies it and IMO is right to demand answers; why should we believe anonymous sources and why should the target not know who is making the accusations.  I don't know much about Pallister but it's not a partisan issue, IMO it's a matter of truth and fairness in reporting.

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I am learning that if I have an emotional reaction to a story, good or bad, it would be a good idea to consider it suspect. 

 https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/ examines sources and rates them as left-bias, left-center bias, center, right-center bias, right-bias based on their use of emotional words and stereotypes.  I've found it useful from time to time, and maybe others will as well.  

If you want some least-biased sources, check out this page:   https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/center/

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These sources have minimal bias and use very few loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes).  The reporting is factual and usually sourced.  These are the most credible media sources.  

 

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I checked out some of the sources on this website. I was surprised to see Al jazeera has a "slight bias" to the left. This organization (the media bias site) must have a pretty high bullshit tolerance level.

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On 4/14/2018 at 2:19 PM, JamesHackerMP said:

It's difficult these days to know what sources of media to trust. Some other threads have been started on particular genres of news--the main stream media, or particular sources--but the bigger question is HOW do you know what or whom to trust? What makes a source trustworthy, anyway? It's easy to say "oh, because they're telling the truth." But how can you tell? We sit here at our computers, isolated from the world at large, and a small cadre of journalists (or other nefarious persons) are making the decisions for us of what "truth" actually is.

Part of the problem, of course, is that people don't always want to believe the truth, they want to hear what they want to hear or read what they want to read. It's so easy to deceive. And we all do that, even if some of us would like to think that we happen to be the smartest person in the room; the one person among many capable of actually seeing through the bullshit. But that is unlikely, as there are so few people like that. At the end of the day we're all equally vulnerable to bullshit.

So how can you tell who is reputable and who isn't? Whom--and what--can we trust, and how do we know?

We have the MSM that constantly lies and makes up stories and makes false accusations against Trump all the time. Nothing proven true yet. But yet Hillary and Comey and Obama are the  liars because it has been proven so, but yet the MSM like CNN and MSNBC and even the CBC ignores that story. That is why I listen to FOX news because they do appear to be telling the truth. It is easy to condemn FOX news when you only listen to the liberal pro-democratic MSM and not at least give some time to FOX. As they say if you only are willing to read and listen to one side of the story and not the other, than you really don't know anything at all. 

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Are you sure it's not because they're telling you what you want to hear? Nothing against you for watching Fox, I don't care what anyone's political leanings are; but in America today, whether one watches CNN, MSNBC, or Fox (or anyone else for that matter) depends in part on what they want to hear. It's not because you (or any human being in particular) is a fool, but because humans tend to seek validation for their own beliefs. That is part of the problem.

I do however agree with your last statement. Always better to get a variety of sources and read between the lines.

Edited by JamesHackerMP

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Most of the time you cant know that. Humanbeing is prone to be lazzy and in general they avoid thinking deeply and detailed, so they simply choose to believe in what they are told as long as it fits their personal interests. For example 9 people are murdered by truck driver and media told you he was a Muslim, you didnt need to ask what is the proof or evidence, you simply believed it because this is what you want to hear. The largest and most famous media companies works in this way, they tell you a little real and many lies. 


The real solution to solve this problem is to be able to sue media companies based on their news and enforcing sanctions if they cant prove what they claim. Here another problem appears, everyday media prepares many news that  dont contain any definite judgment, for examle such a title "The poster named JamesHacker PM may be murdered his mother". So they dont need to prove anything even if you sue them because they didnt say you did, they said "maybe".  Or another example "Serial killers and Muslims has a common point, both of them are addicted to drink water". Are you able to sue such a news title ? Probably no. This is called negative perception managament or in Islamic saying "fitnah". 

Edited by Altai

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On 4/15/2018 at 2:54 PM, Bonam said:

These kinds of popular stories will inevitably require someone who cares about finding out what is "true" to dig far deeper and spend more time sorting the bs from real facts, to the point that the vast majority of people, even those that are engaged and genuinely interested in truth simply get fatigued and stop bothering, and join the rest of the population in just listening to whatever their "side" says. 

It is difficult, time-consuming and frustrating, Bonam.  Just finding that first piece confirming the lies can take numerous searches using numerous different headings.  Once that is found it does get a bit easier as you at least have more leads and a better understanding of exactly what to search for. It does take commitment.  Unfortunately, most people have neither the time nor the opportunity to research a story.  There is so much disinformation on the net and so very many sites that continue the lie.  One must be totally dedicated to their goal.  The reward is being able to expose the fallacies and it is most definitely worth the effort.

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On 4/23/2018 at 4:44 AM, JamesHackerMP said:

Also, part of the problem is that we are incapable of checking every single fact in a news story with raw data of some sort.

We are capable of checking facts, James though it is difficult and there are many false leads, it can be done.

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7 hours ago, mowich said:

We are capable of checking facts, James though it is difficult and there are many false leads, it can be done.

Yes, but it is very time consuming. Every time you pick up a newspaper and read it, do you have the time to check every fact in every story you care to read?

18 hours ago, Altai said:

Most of the time you cant know that. Humanbeing is prone to be lazzy and in general they avoid thinking deeply and detailed, so they simply choose to believe in what they are told as long as it fits their personal interests. For example 9 people are murdered by truck driver and media told you he was a Muslim, you didnt need to ask what is the proof or evidence, you simply believed it because this is what you want to hear. The largest and most famous media companies works in this way, they tell you a little real and many lies. 


The real solution to solve this problem is to be able to sue media companies based on their news and enforcing sanctions if they cant prove what they claim. Here another problem appears, everyday media prepares many news that  dont contain any definite judgment, for examle such a title "The poster named JamesHacker PM may be murdered his mother". So they dont need to prove anything even if you sue them because they didnt say you did, they said "maybe".  Or another example "Serial killers and Muslims has a common point, both of them are addicted to drink water". Are you able to sue such a news title ? Probably no. This is called negative perception managament or in Islamic saying "fitnah". 

In the US, this is difficult to do. The Supreme Court rules that you have to prove that the newspaper (or whatever media outlet) was deliberately trying to smear you. You have to prove its intent, in court, and that's extremely difficult to do. They have ruled that being a little wreckless in presenting their facts is not the same as intent to ruin someone's reputation through lies. That's not necessarily my opinion, but that is what the Supreme Court has said.

In a way, it does make sense. Otherwise, the courts would have the power to veto any news story they felt like, and that's not good in a free society. It's one of those times you have to take the good with the bad.

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1 hour ago, JamesHackerMP said:

Yes, but it is very time consuming. Every time you pick up a newspaper and read it, do you have the time to check every fact in every story you care to read?

No, generally not. That's the whole point of the way that media constantly bombards people with bs... it's simply not possible to fact check it all. 

Honestly, my working assumption at this point is that everything I read or hear in the "news" is "fake news". If some particular topic interests me deeply, I'll go and actually spend the time to find out the truth of the matter, but on most topics I can just stick with the assumption that nothing I casually see or hear in the news can be relied upon to be true and it doesn't really affect daily life. 

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21 hours ago, JamesHackerMP said:

Yes, but it is very time consuming. Every time you pick up a newspaper and read it, do you have the time to check every fact in every story you care to read?

In the US, this is difficult to do. The Supreme Court rules that you have to prove that the newspaper (or whatever media outlet) was deliberately trying to smear you. You have to prove its intent, in court, and that's extremely difficult to do. They have ruled that being a little wreckless in presenting their facts is not the same as intent to ruin someone's reputation through lies. That's not necessarily my opinion, but that is what the Supreme Court has said.

In a way, it does make sense. Otherwise, the courts would have the power to veto any news story they felt like, and that's not good in a free society. It's one of those times you have to take the good with the bad.

It is extremely time consuming, and no, I do not have the time to check every single news story.  I check what I believe is important and do what I can to let others know what I have found. 

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On 4/25/2018 at 8:02 PM, mowich said:

It is extremely time consuming, and no, I do not have the time to check every single news story.  I check what I believe is important and do what I can to let others know what I have found. 

That's an impossible task. However the way I see it, if the article contradicts itself part way through, then you know that the information is wrong or worse yet, news organizations can no longer write comprehensive and concise news pieces.

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On 4/25/2018 at 12:27 AM, Bonam said:

No, generally not. That's the whole point of the way that media constantly bombards people with bs... it's simply not possible to fact check it all. 

Honestly, my working assumption at this point is that everything I read or hear in the "news" is "fake news". If some particular topic interests me deeply, I'll go and actually spend the time to find out the truth of the matter, but on most topics I can just stick with the assumption that nothing I casually see or hear in the news can be relied upon to be true and it doesn't really affect daily life. 

I would say that it does affect your daily life, but in ways you just don't see easily.

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On 4/25/2018 at 5:54 AM, JamesHackerMP said:

Yes, but it is very time consuming. Every time you pick up a newspaper and read it, do you have the time to check every fact in every story you care to read?

In the US, this is difficult to do. The Supreme Court rules that you have to prove that the newspaper (or whatever media outlet) was deliberately trying to smear you. You have to prove its intent, in court, and that's extremely difficult to do. They have ruled that being a little wreckless in presenting their facts is not the same as intent to ruin someone's reputation through lies. That's not necessarily my opinion, but that is what the Supreme Court has said.

In a way, it does make sense. Otherwise, the courts would have the power to veto any news story they felt like, and that's not good in a free society. It's one of those times you have to take the good with the bad.


I dont think it matters whether or not they were intended to harm  you. What matters is whether or not they harm you. If you remember, there was another topic about a woman stops on the highway to help someones and causes another crash that kills some other people. Maybe she was not trying to harm people but still she did it and sentenced. The same thing goes for fake news too. You will be engraved in minds with something you never did. You will lose your job,  people wont like you, you will have socializing problems, maybe someones will try to kill you, you will be an unhappy person. All of them because of a media agency prepares an "unintended" fake news. Sorry this should not be allowed.

Edited by Altai

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On 4/29/2018 at 1:46 PM, GostHacked said:

I would say that it does affect your daily life, but in ways you just don't see easily.

You're right, but sometimes you can see it.  eg. Trump was on TV yesterday saying he might have to 'close up the country'.  That was definitely real and potentially impactful.

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5 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

You're right, but sometimes you can see it.  eg. Trump was on TV yesterday saying he might have to 'close up the country'.  That was definitely real and potentially impactful.

No, it was more of his pompous bullshit. He has no ability to close up the country.

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2 hours ago, Argus said:

 He has no ability to close up the country.

What does it even mean though ?  Should I believe the media when they show a video of him spouting incomprehensible pomposity ?  Somebody tell me when to panic.

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2 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

What does it even mean though ?  Should I believe the media when they show a video of him spouting incomprehensible pomposity ?  Somebody tell me when to panic.

Trump's fearmongering and nationalism are aimed squarely at his base. They have no impact on anyone else other than eye-rolling or contempt. And given the courts' treatment of his attempt to ban people from just a few countries I can only imagine the way they'd treat an attempt to close the border. Until the courts start caving into him he's limited in what he can get away with.

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I think Trump uses these types of messages as soundbites, to stir the outrage. Note they are often not entirely lies, there is some truth in it but he likes to say certain things in a rather brutal fashion. Yes, he is talking to his base when he does that, and very likely knows the kind of hysterical response it will get from "the left".

And yet paradoxically, polls show his approval on the rise. Link
Or at least, holding steady. But in any case, no where near the full-blown debacle it is perceived to be among the left, or among those who live outside of America.

Trump's success through this style of leadership is a mystery. His presidency reminds me of a reality TV show, complete with all the outrageousness and bombast. And yet, that is not all there is to it. No matter whether you like him or not, the country is doing well.

 

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HOW do you know what or whom to trust? What makes a source trustworthy, anyway? It's easy to say "oh, because they're telling the truth." But how can you tell?

It's quite difficult. I am always impressed by that the internet was once hailed as a great resource for sharing information, communicating with people from other cultures, and would be a boon to education. And yet, it has become a freak show, criminal enterprise. What it became is testimony as to what we are.

Edited by OftenWrong

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