For further readingHow do you know if news is fake? This question was especially important in following the Kyle Rittenhouse trial where the mainstream news media as well as CNN and MSNBC were atrocious in continuously misstating the facts. I know this because I watched some of the trial and heard the facts. What’s to be done? Over the years I originated the following:
First, you need to consider the source of the news and ask yourself, “how does the journalist know what s/he is telling us?” Many sources are simply someone’s conjecture being stated as fact. If journalists were completely honest, they would begin many of their opinion pieces with something like, “I believe,” or “I think,” rather than stating what they think as fact.
Second, you need to look at access. Most of the time you hear journalists, with no special access to the President, report on what the President is thinking. Once again, you need to ask yourself, ” how did they get their information?” It usually is speculation stated as fact or some anonymous unreliable source.
Third, you need to look at the track record of the journalist for reporting factually. After observing a potential source of information for accuracy, I decide whether to continue to use that source, because it’s very time-consuming to double and triple-check every fact (so I need to know who I can believe). Fox News’ Brit Hume, Shannon Bream and Laura Ingraham are three of the many sources I trust. Mainstream media, such as ABC, CBS, and NBC simply could not be trusted for reporting accurate information about anything involving President Trump. Cable channels CNN and MSNBC are even worse to the extent that they are simply left-wing propaganda channels. OAN (One America News) was mostly straight reporting of the news and reported about four times more news that any other TV channel, but of course it has been taken off the air.
Fourth, I avoid journalists who also are not truthful. Being partisan is O.K. as long as the reporting is accurate and truthful. For example, MSNBC’s Rachel Madow is very partisan and is not truthful, while Fox News’s partisan Sean Hannity is truthful, so I can trust Hannity but not Madow for accurate information.
Fifth, there are many other sources, including bloggers and radio talk-show hosts, who are great sources of solid information. Radio talk-show host, Rush Limbaugh, now deceased, immediately comes to mind as someone who was a reliable source of accurate information. Washington Examiner’s investigative journalist and chief correspondent, Byron York, is a great source.
Sixth, the very best source is the original, real, actual source of information, the kind you see on CSPAN-1, 2, or 3, not most journalists or reporters. Subject-matter experts, like Gordon Chang and Michael Pillsbury, are great sources for information on China. The best source for what President Trump said was President Trump himself.
Seventh, Mark Levin’s book, Unfreedom of the Press, Bernard Goldberg’s books, Bias and Arrogance, and Bob Kohn’s book, Journalistic Fraud, are but a few of the books that document how biased the news media is. Everyone should be extremely careful taking anything from the mainstream media as factual and accurate. The very best source to check on what sources are accurate is the Media Research Center (MRC). Most “Factcheckers” are worthless, or even worse, misleading.
Critical thinking is essential to determining whether a piece of news is real or fake. If you are extremely partisan or are emotionally engaged for either side, looking at the news objectively is very difficult, but is possible if you really want to know the truth. You need to take shortcuts for determining fake vs. real news because thoroughly going through an analysis each time you hear a news story takes too much time that most people do not have. My shortcuts are essentially watching and listening to credible, accurate and truthful sources. With Kyle Rittenhouse I watched some of his trial and concluded that it was clearly a matter of self-defense, though it was imprudent of Kyle to go to the Black Lives Matter riot. On the other hand, if you simply watched the reporting of the trial instead of the trial itself, you probably think that Rittenhouse was guilty.
Finally, be cautious in quickly accepting as fact anything you hear, read, or even see . If it sounds crazy, perhaps it is. The media has an agenda and usually doesn’t even report those things that don’t fit into its agenda (censorship by omission). It is disheartening to see but it’s today’s reality. Eternal vigilance in scrutinizing the media is necessary to keep it honest at simply reporting the news rather than fabricating or twisting it; our decisions are based on the facts we believe to be true; therefore, it’s very important to determine which news is real and which is fake.