Political parties beware: the 2016 presidential election could stimulate American fact-checking and critical thinking – or not. Why? Could It be, we are awake and paying attention? Could it be, we just want to be “right?” Could it be, “We’re as mad as hell, and we’re not going to take this anymore.”?
In 2016, American information media reflect our mindsets.
- We have boundless channels of 24/7 content battling for “eyes,” and “market share.”
- We are so numb, it takes lurid, “mind bites” of “shocking facts” to get our attention.
- Our jaded, fickle brains are addicted to “breaking news and “editorial reporting.”
Then comes the election. How do we decide? The battle lines are drawn. The news media have abandoned objective balance in the fray.
It is natural for people with strong political bias to seek news sources that support their current views, and to ignore, avoid, or distain sources that reflect contrary, or impartial thinking.
Lord knows, we have enough choices (e.g. newspapers, magazines, radio, television, internet, social media). Which do we choose: “bread and circuses,” or brains? Do we swallow our favorite- flavored propaganda, or chew on the tough, tasteless truth?
Seven questions we can ask about what we call “news:”
- Which sources provide complete, unbiased information and analysis?
- Which sources provide incomplete, biased information and editorials?
- Can we discern where information stops and persuasion starts?
- Did we get all the information we need to understand?
- Do we know enough to understand the context and importance of the information?
- Do we have enough sources to verify or complete the information?
- Do we care?
Few of the major news organizations remain credibly neutral or balanced. Here are 10 news sources accepted as trustworthy by people across the political spectrum.
- The Wall Street Journal
- The Economist
- Google News
- The Guardian
- Associated Press
- USA Today
Here is an informative graphic from showing the political positions of the various major news outlets.
Good thinking everyone.