On The Media

Just a few minutes ago I googled “independent news sources” because I like to know my facts before I form an argument.  Well, I was taken here which has a list of non-corporate owned news sites, fact checking sites, financial accountability sites, etc. Most of what was on there I already knew about, so it wasn’t too helpful.  However, the blurb at the beginning of the list was.  It reads:

“There was a time when the nightly news was synonymous with the words objective, impartial, fair and balanced. Reporters and newscasters saw it as their duty and badge of honor to inform the public, as factually as possible, of the happenings in this country and around the world. Today, instead of journalists such as Walter Cronkite, a legend in his own right who brought the scandals of Watergate and the Vietnam War to the American people unfiltered, we have the major media outlets and their Talking Heads blindly supporting “facts” as told to them by the government, corporations and anyone else they deem worthy.”

This blurb is speaking to the inherent bias that exist in the news outlets that are owned by corporations.  While this makes network and cable news, at best, untrustworthy, there is an even bigger problem out here on the internet – completely fabricated news sites.  This practice is so popular that new ones are added almost daily.  Fake new sites come in three categories: Fake/hoax news sites, Satire sites, and clickbait cites.

Here are the links to check out the list so you can double check what you read.  All information comes from Fake News Watch .

Hoax/Fake news

Satire

Clickbait

These news sites are incredibly dangerous and will say anything to get people to click a link.  The most popular tactic is to post a headline as “Breaking News” with a graphic that looks like it comes from a legitimate source.  Here are some examples:

breaking-news-1

breaking-news-2

breaking-news-3

With the exception of the satire sites, which usually advertise somewhere that they are not meant to be taken seriously, these sites only purpose is to mislead and spread harmful rumors that have an agenda of some sort.  As I look down my Facebook newsfeed, all I see anymore are these links and they come from both sides of the political spectrum.  In addition to spreading lies, they can also spread viruses.

Ultimately, the responsibility falls on the consumer to verify what we hear, read, and watch.  All I can say is research, research, research.  It’s not that hard to verify information and there are outlets to do that.  The following outlets are ran by non-partisan organizations and are considered trustworthy, but as always it’s still your responsibility to do additional research if something seems off.

Christian Science Monitor

Reuters

The Center for Public Integrity

Aljazeera America

BBC America

Politifact

Open Secrets

Fact Check

Institute for Public Accuracy

Please be responsible media consumers and do as much as you can to verify information you distribute.  If you share “news articles” that are not factual, you are part of the problem.  I hope this helps.

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