Fact? Or Opinion?

From NYTimes Morning Briefing, 11/18/19 (via email):

“Now more than ever, the lines between fact-based reporting and opinionated commentary seem blurred for people,” said Evette Alexander, research director at a journalism foundation. “That means they trust what they are seeing less. They are feeling less informed.”

Details: According to one recent poll, 47 percent of Americans believe it’s difficult to know whether the information they encounter is true. About 60 percent say they regularly see conflicting reports about the same set of facts from different sources.

I think this is a very real problem in today’s political news environment. Unless people take the time — and make the effort — to read or listen to more than one source (even if it’s contrary to personal leanings), they are going to “swear” that what they’ve read or heard is 100% true and accurate.

And I daresay, nearly all of us are guilty. We tend to believe (and agree with) the sources that go along with our personal perspectives.

I admit it’s difficult to enter into the world of diametric information. It can often raise the blood pressure a notch or two. But if we truly want to judge a situation (or individual) without prejudice, it’s important to look at all sides.

As many have expressed, the news sources of today are greatly influenced by corporate dollars, which means they often focus on the events and happenings that will draw in the most readers/listeners. This is all the more reason why we need to consider all sources … even those with “low” ratings.

In one of my recent postings, I encouraged researching various news sources to determine how biased your favorite is. While you’re at it, take a look at the ones you find at the other end of the spectrum from yours. Most likely you won’t agree with their reporting, but it will help you to see and understand why your neighbors/friends/work associates disagree with your political views. And it just might open up an opportunity to share something they weren’t aware of. Perhaps you might even change their viewpoint!

Is Your News Source Biased?

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

I daresay most of us read or listen to “the news” most everyday. In fact, some might even describe themselves as being a “news junkie” — while others simply keep up with with current events via headlines in the local paper or TV newscasts.

I would describe myself as being in the middle. I do check the latest headlines on my computer a couple of times each day, and I also read entire stories or articles that either affect me personally or that I find interesting. Or upsetting.

One of the news sources that I especially like is NPR. According to this website, they have one of the highest ratings in factual reporting (VERY HIGH). However, I must be totally honest. The website also states NPR leans slightly left.

Overall, we rate NPR (National Public Radio) Left-Center Biased based on story selection that leans slightly left and Very High for factual reporting due to thorough sourcing and very accurate news reporting.

Even so, in a nation with news sources that are notably either hard-left or hard-right in their reporting, it’s refreshing to find one that only leans slightly left.

But beyond their (slight) partiality, the really important part to me is NPR’s reputation for accurate news reporting — meaning they aren’t coloring the news to promote their bias.

We all know that partisanship is a major factor in politics — and when it comes to what we read and/or listen to, most of us tend to choose the news source that supports our personal position.

As a result, it can sometimes be a bit unnerving when we come across a news story that goes against our leanings … only to discover what we’re reading or hearing is not only accurate, but neutral. In other words, the news source has not “taken sides” but is simply sharing something they believe their readers will find interesting …or “newsworthy.”

Of course, in order to have confidence that what we’re reading is truly neutral, we need to do a bit of research. This means being open to other sources of information that may (or may not) coincide with our personal opinion.

I urge readers to visit the Media Bias/Fact Check website and take a look at a listing of news sources that are considered to be the “least biased.” Then while you’re there, check out the news sources that you tend to favor and see where they rank.

If you’re up to it, share with the rest of us the news source(s) you personally prefer.

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Image by torstensimon from Pixabay

The Shutdown and the FBI

As there are a couple of bloggers I follow who regularly post some of the BIG news items, I tend to share the more human interest type articles.

Like this one …

FBI Agents Say The Shutdown Is A Threat to National Security

The agents discuss how tRumpsky’s constant barrage against the Agency has been hard on morale, and say the Shutdown is the cherry on top of a galling two years.”

In the two and a half years since the FBI launched its counterintelligence investigation into potential coordination between members of Trump’s campaign and Russia, the president has chided the FBI, former FBI Director James Comey, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Russia “witch hunt,” and the “deep state” in dozens of tweets, rallies, and interviews. Last April, he called the FBI and Justice Department’s desire to withhold sensitive information related to the ongoing investigation “an embarrassment to our country.”

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Morale at the FBI had already been steadily declining for months before the government shut down on December 22, according to current and recently departed agents who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity to discuss their feelings candidly. President Trump’s open warfare on the bureau has made agents’ jobs more difficult, they say, as trust in the FBI wanes among people who identify as Republicans and right-leaning independents. “Part of it is Trump’s constant attacks,” said one agent who left late last year. “Bigger than that, though, is that it seems like a portion of the population believes him. Which makes their jobs harder to do.”

There are nearly 5,000 special agents, intelligence analysts, attorneys, and professional staff currently furloughed.