I’ve run into some 3rd party diagrams and a (Google provided) document attempting to sort out biased or fake news on behalf of the public.The document and diagrams themselves did not seem accurate to me, but it made me wonder, is biased news bad news? Better yet, what IS bad news and what IS good news?
First off, I think there are a two things to consider:
- Personal Opinions
So, when you think about your own encounters with news stories by journalists, which of the two would you like to see the most of?
Facts…. or opinions?
Tip: If you said opinions, you need not read on!
If you said facts, then let’s go a little deeper.
In your opinion, is this “good journalism”?
Thoroughly researched information
Includes interviews from a reliable group of people/sources/witnesses?
Contains accurate, unaltered visuals (pictures, videos footage)
Portrays different viewpoints to the best of their ability
Not emotionally charged
Going further, would it be safe to call this “bad journalism”?
Partially/Poorly researched information
Altered/Highly edited pictures or video footage
Highly opinion based
Little to no pursuit of balanced viewpoints
Partially or completely untrue information
Food for Thought
Here is an interesting thought. Say you are reading an article by a journalist and it has many of the components of good journalism. It has facts, accurate footage, real quotes or interviews from reliable sources , but as you read on, the vocabulary you read seems to match that of a conservative vocabulary. Since maybe that is not the side of the aisle you stand, you quickly dismiss what you just read as false reporting. Or, perhaps it is loaded with left leaning vocabulary and so you dismiss it.
Is it possible for a journalist’s writing to appear biased when it is simply stating fact? Is it possible that because it’s difficult for us to receive facts when they upset our belief system, we dismiss it and choose to never look at that source again, categorizing it as “bad, biased news”? Worse yet, we never look at it because we let others decide its validity for us.
I believe this happens a lot, on both sides. That’s not to say that I don’t share a lot of opinions by others on social media, but when it comes to actual journalism, I like sources like the Daily Signal, which I find to be very trustworthy and follows the “good journalism” rules I appreciate, yet, it is a conservative publication. Perhaps there is a publication that you read that you have found to be trustworthy.
Maybe a good challenge for us in this coming season is to figure out what news/journalists pride themselves on the items on the “good list” and give them a chance, laying aside our pride and fear.
It may be beneficial for us to eliminate some of the opinions that we are inclined to share, and, for the sake of creating an atmosphere for listening, we share what is “good” only.
Sure, we may hear something that doesn’t feel good, but knowledge is power and the truth can set you free. Wouldn’t you rather feel temporarily bad but be permanently enlightened?
The truth hurts, but lies hurt more.
So now what?
I think that if the list of good journalism traits seems reasonable to us, it would be worth our while to find out where or who exhibits these characteristics consistently, not simply to GET accurate information, but to SHARE accurate news with others.
Unreliable sources should fizzle away while fact based reporting comes to the front line and rewarded.
With the tremendous amount of mainstream and independent news sources that exist, it’s valuable for us to use reason and open-mindedness, weighing new information against our personal philosophies and belief systems. If we truly stand for freedom, equal rights, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we should make every effort to become educated in not only our history, but the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, which were painstakingly created by our forefathers, who ultimately came to an agreement of what the United States stood for. Often times, we scream for a changed America, not realizing that we are attempting to change it into the very thing our forefathers were trying to escape.