How You Decide What News Sources To Trust

Watching the news on PBS this evening, a story about how covid became politicized, the thought came to the fore that I have made the deliberate choice to trust certain news sources and not others. A large part of this is because I don’t have time to fact check everything, to do “my own research”. PBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN to an extent. I don’t ever watch fox news because, well, I used to be a Hannity/Limbaugh/Savage/Levine listener until I realized what their actual message really is (listen to me and only me and send me money, that’s it, that’s the extent of their core message, yes there is stuff about libruls bad yadda yadda but…) and I’ve never been sure which show on Fox is supposed to actually be news rather than commentary. All the shows I’ve ever seen on that channel all look the same to me.

I trust PBS because they’ve always been that staid, dependable, neutral source of news. NBC because that was always the preferred news source when I was a kid, tradition I suppose and CNN and MSNBC I’m less sure why I trust them, but it seems I do.

What news sources do you trust and why?

I don’t trust the network or cable news stations. They’re all profit driven now. The days of fairly objective and independent news is long gone.

I do trust PBS and rely on NPR heavily. I like BBC News and feel on non-UK subjects they’re pretty objective. I round that out with

Like many people, I pick and choose, and rely on many sources of information.

When I get up in the morning, I read the Associated Press on-line. In the evening, we watch the PBS News Hour, at least the opening summary. I trust both of those world-and-national sources implicitly. I also look at the BBC web site, as I think their reporting is even-handed.

Leaning to the left politically, I “trust” CNN to a point, but I dislike their tendency toward sensationalism, and I only see their web site as I do not have cable. I never see MSNBC for the same reason and don’t bother with their web site. I dislike the style of ABC/CBS/NBC evening news broadcasts - too many commercials and too show bizzy - so I never watch them. It’s not like I distrust them, however. I do like the layout of the ABC News website. If I needed to watch one of the networks for coverage of a live breaking event, I would watch NBC. I’m retired from an NBC affiliate, and I’m more familiar with them than the other two networks and I do consider them trustworthy.

As for print, in the morning I peruse the two morning papers my city offers, and one from the state capital. None of them have an agenda that I can see. I also look at articles in the New York Times and Washington Post, when they let me in.

The few times I actually purposely put on a news channel I always go for the local channel NY1 or if I’m on Long Island, News 12. It’s just straight news reports, no pundit talking heads bullshit.

I have never owned a TV in my adult life (a fact which I brag about incessantly). I currently get ALL my news from on-line sources, this very message board among them.

News aggregators are good for getting news from a variety of sources, including internationally. I follow Yahoo, but see others occasionally when someone links to them. I mainly read WaPo on-line, and sometimes NYT and LA Times and whatever others I see occasional links to. And I read Raw Story for my daily fix of Recreational Outrage.

Do I read these because I believe they are fair and honest, or because I know they are liberal-leaning and they tell me things I already believe? It’s hard to tell, as both reasons seem true to me. I’m living largely in a news bubble.

But not entirely in a news bubble. I stumble upon other sites from time to time, including conservative and even right-wing articles, and it’s often unmistakable what horse manure they are usually spewing. (The Bulwark may be an exception to that.) So I conclude that Mainstream Media sources like WaPo and NYT are really the kind of trustworthy sites I want to be reading.

So you’re the guy.

We do have a TV, we bought it when Mom came to stay during the beginning of the plague.

She has gone home and I can’t remember the last time either of us turned the TV on since.

IMO, Trust Nobody. Every source of news has an agenda.

Hubs is a trumper so I get exposed to that side of the crazy, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. I listen and pay attention.

Hubs isn’t a good actor, he’s always been too honest to lie successfully. He was really surprised on 1/6, he didn’t see it coming.

I had been screaming like Cassandra to anyone who would listen.

Trust nobody.

I try and find a few sources that I estimate are on somewhat opposing sides of the issues. As well as middling. But I consider how extreme, nutbar they are and drop those ones out. I look at what background/historical information they also give. Do they present their findings on verifiable documents. That is a big one. If the story is about x government actions or intents. Does the source use facts from verified documents actually proffered by x government.
Currently there is a lot of historical revisionism, obfuscation. Do unrelated uninterested third party cites confirm or deny the historic things that seem to negate the current story?
It is not easy. Most people just do not have the time to sift through all this stuff.
Some of my most trusted sources on an issue, may have no information or opinion on some other issue out of their realm. So I again need to sift through other sources.
I spend hours every day doing this. because it is my interest/hobby to do so. But even then, it is only in what interest me at the moment.
A person with an actual life? I have less idea what they might do every day.

I don’t watch broadcast TV so all my news comes from either the radio or the internet. I don’t trust any news website that appears to make use of clickbait headlines and carries ads that are intentionally disguised as news articles.

I believe that a TV news channel or a newspaper owned by a wealthy person will be biased in favour of that owner.

Rupert Murdoch - Wikipedia

So (here in the UK) I watch the BBC (funded by a licence fee) and read the Guardian (financed by a trust*.)

*The trust was created in 1936 to “secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of The Guardian free from commercial or political interference”

Don’t trust any of them but keep an eye on all of them. Their ability to coordinate is limited so you can find inconsistencies that reveal what parts they are fabricating. Printed articles when you find them have a lot more detail but as a result can be a lot more biased, but it’s there isn’t even an effort to hide that bias any more, it’s easy to tell what the author is trying to get you to believe. With that extra detail you can better find the inconsistencies in the reports. The big problem left over is dealing with the information all of them leave out.

As much as I trust any, I trust the BBC, because they have a strict remit to be impartial, and get criticised every day by both the left and the right, which means they’re probably getting it about right. They’re human beings though.

I read other news sources, but am vary aware of their bias, even if I agree with them (eg The Guardian). I sometimes buy the (London) Times to get a balance and try to hear the ‘other side’. CNN seems obviously biased to me, in the same way that Channel Four is here in the UK, I just happen to like their bias, and watch Channel Four every night to enjoy the government minister being interviewed squirming.

There’s always the Media Bias Chart®

Though, how to determine whether or not the media bias chart is itself biased, I do not know.

We do not have cable so no 24/7 news channels, which is a relief - I used to be a news hound with Headline News and CNN, etc. I now watch the morning local news on TV via OTA antennae. I have found, as others here mentioned, several online sources which are less biased than cable news and other potential sources: NPR, Associated Press, Reuters, BBC News. I also like Pew Research Center, The Hill for political focus, and CalMatters (California-focused), as well as SFGate (San Francisco-focused and also includes NorCal content - but is biased left). I occasionally watch local evening news on TV.

I have said here that I think the less news you consume, the more aware you become of the bias in reporting - the more sensitive you are when you see/read it. Disengagement from news brings clarity. By limiting the sheer amount of news I consume daily, I have determined for myself the above sources work well-enough for me. I know that all news is written by humans and there will also be some baked-in bias, but what I like about places like NPR, AP, etc, is the bias is less strong than something like CNN, Yahoo, etc.

News reporting has never been remotely “objective” or “neutral”. There’s always an underlying viewpoint that influences coverage. The goal should be “fair” while not being a slave to “tell both sides”.

I don’t trust any of them. I try to look at news with a critical eye, consulting the less egregious media offenders and looking for semi-reliable backup when something appears dubious.

It is difficult for me to discern the intensity of “trust” that is being stated. ISTM that trust exists on a spectrum. When I hear a poster say they don’t trust any of them, I’m left wondering if it’s, “Well, one must try to understand the editorial bias in any media organ, and respond accordingly. Some provide great value and strive for objectivity, others are pure garbage.” OR, is it,“FAKE NEWS!!!Q!! THEY ALL LIE!!Q!!”

Ivan Oransky of Retraction Watch was interviewed recently about predatory journals and bad science. Part of what he said is applicable to “trusting” news sources.

“As former president Ronald Re(a)gan said: “Trust, but verify”. We should also be aware of our own bias, especially when we read a study that appears to agree with what we think is true.”

Even (or especially) when a news story, however improbable rings true to us, it’s important to recognize that our biases make us susceptible to belief that may be unjustified.

I point out that “Trust, but verify” means “Don’t trust”. The best news sources can still mistakes. We should consider news as secondhand information. It is what we verify that is important. Another thing I’ll tell people, “Trust is the first step on the path betrayal”.

I own a TV (for sports, mainly) but don’t look at TV news. I listen to CBC and read the NYTimes for my news. I read the Votemaster every day and, while they are mainly interested in elections, they do have lots of news.

Well, maybe. I interpret “Don’t trust” to mean “Don’t trust; disregard; and leave it at that.” Whereas “Trust but verify” means “Don’t trust a priori but check out anything that seems plausible.”