To make informed decisions, we need facts. Tools to receive factual information and secure reliable, accurate source information is the foundation of Dinner at the Grange. We know the White House’s intention is to cause chaos and distract the American people from the real issues.
On this page tools and tips are provided to help us sort through the noise, find reliable/credible news sources and outlets to help us avoid the pitfalls of inaccurate, inflammatory partisan ‘news stories.’ The American psyche may be a bit damaged these days with stories swirling about ‘alternative facts’ and folks screaming ‘fake news’ to dismiss another’s viewpoint. Hopefully, folks will begin to seek out source information whenever possible and use various, credible news outlets and ignore inflammatory ones entirely.
Librarians to the Rescue!
A great article from the American Library Association Public Programs Office that provides a list of webinars and online resources including fact checking sites to help Americans spot fake news & sort out inflammatory noise. From the article: Learning to decipher fact from fiction is a key skill for all news consumers, and libraries across the country are stepping up to help patrons gain the information literacy skills they need. With that in mind, Programming Librarian has compiled the following round-up of resources to help libraries deliver their best programming about fake news.
First off, let’s start with the facts. Using a fact-checker is a great way to discover if a story’s facts are credible (and/or to what degree). There are other fact check sites on the Internet with flashy ‘pants on fire’ graphics and the like. Sensationalism is to be avoided. This fact check site is reputable and there’s an ask function to check specific items.
From the site: FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding. We do not seek and have never accepted, directly or indirectly, any funds from corporations, unions, partisan organizations or advocacy groups.
A reliable, but very mainstream site that keeps up with viral stories. Their ability to quickly post on fake news and/or point out the inaccurate components of viral stories is why I’ve added it to Dinner at the Grange.
Chose the Whole Story – Not the Soundbite
By applying the following guidance, we will get closer to source information and have a clearer understanding of the issues:
- Apply the journalistic core values (video below) and look for the tenants (how, what, when, where, and how) in every story you read or hear. Use critical thinking skills, to determine what news outlets consistently present the whole story without inflammatory verbiage. Check the date of the article. Is it recent? If yes, google the issue and look for a second story from a reputable news outlet to confirm.
- Turn away from sensational news outlets who use inflammatory verbiage and don’t give the whole story. Stay focused on the real issues. Follow news outlets that focus on the real issues, not smoke screens. Getting sensational news outlets off your social media feeds is half the battle.
- Seek out and support news outlets that champion investigative journalism and have an established record of ethical reporting practices. Those would be the news outlets marked “mainstream” in the graphic below.
- Lastly, rely on news outlets that produce analytical, complex news stories. The quality of our decisions and actions are based on our ability to understand the issues before us. Take the time to read the complex stuff.
If you’re looking recommendations, I subscribe to the following news outlets:
- The New York Times
- The Washington Post
- The Wall Street Journal
- The Economist
- The National Review
- The New Yorker
When scrolling through social media posts, I expanding my reading to including the below, (and avoid other sources with few exceptions):
- Dan Rather’s News and Guts
- The Hill
- BBC, and
- Slate, TYT/Vice, The Guardian (before I click, I recognize I’ll be reading a skewed viewpoint and may want to seek out a companion article from another source…and that’s OK)
The most productive choice I’ve made this month was to cease reading news stories from many inflammatory news outlets. This one act has eliminated my exposure to inflammatory noise and lowered my stress levels. Just my two cents.
Where do your news outlets fall on the quality & partisan scale?
The below graphics are guides, not gospel. I believe they more accurately than not categorize the various news sources and outlets appropriately (per the video below and the points above). Some folks have taken exception to the graphic and the methodology used by the graphics’ creators (see below). Their complaints are that certain outlets such as The Nation aren’t on the graphic and want to squabble about the placement of Vox and FoxNews (which is aligned with CNN on the other end of the partisan spectrum). I would have placed both lower, than marginal quality. I didn’t make the graphic, but I believe it has value and have no issue with the placement of Vox and HuffPost on the graphic; they are outlets that I’ve stopped reading due to their inflammatory and inconsistent reporting. I prefer to read other sources (see above).
In the interest of full-disclosure, the graphic below is a bit controversial. It’s posted on many inflammatory, far-right ‘rant’ sites as an example of the liberal media conspiracy.
The first graphic above (1.25.17) from Pigscast was informed by this site. From the site: Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFC News) is an independent online media outlet. MBFC News is dedicated to educating the public on media bias and deceptive news practices. MBFC News’ aim is to inspire action and a rejection of overtly biased media. We want to return to an era of straight forward news reporting. Funding for MBFC News comes from site advertising, individual donors, and the pockets of our bias checkers. MBFC News follows a strict methodology for determining the biases of sources.
The video below from the Ethical Journalism Network. It summarizes the five core values of journalism that are accepted (industry-wide) by reputable journalists and news agencies. It’s worth watching to re-frame folks’ thoughts on the ‘news’ versus reputable reporting and journalistic integrity.