"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Newspapers, News Media and Biased Reporting : How Can We Get the Real Facts?

What's the most neutral news/media outlet on earth?

Of course, there are none. All news is sifted and chosen for a story (or not) ....
Too often, what readers "want" to read prevails over what should be read.

One useful way to judge news stories that appear these days in mainstream media sources is to ask:

"Is this an overblown balloon to sell newspapers?"

Over the years, we have developed a habit of reading most mainstream news, science reports and similar publications with a grain of salt. What is touted as important news can often be nothing more than a whistle against the wind.

Mainstream media today often no longer deliver "the news that is fit to print" but rather they propagate their own brand of biased "slants" on the news, a completely different animal than neutral fact delivery.

One sees this currently in news reporting about U.S. President Elect Donald Trump, where often politically biased futuristic crystal ball tea-leaf reading prevails among many journalists, who know no more than anyone else about what Trump's Presidency will actually bring.

Contemporary news media do not just report that e.g. "this happened"; rather, mostly they report on what happened that "they think is important", and then "their take on that happening" and, usually prematurely, "here is what it means" -- conclusions, which, by later hindsight, can be totally false.

That results in widespread news unreliability and event vacuousness. The news media too often act like hired advocates for the political, economic, legal and social causes that they personally support, while they conversely oppose "news" that does not fit into their particular way of looking at the world. That "politically correct" approach to news quickly becomes "boring" and suspect to this observer. Tea-leaf reading in the news can leave the reader to emerge not knowing more than he or she did before, and one can even be badly misled.

In any case, since we are political centrists interested in unbiased presentations, the proliferation of biased, slanted news makes getting the "real facts" difficult.

Our own solution is to read as many different newspapers, news media reports and op-eds as possible about any subject that interests us, also from different countries and from varied points of view, in the hope that a broad selection of sources will provide a clearer picture of actual events. Indeed, it is then always amazing to see how greatly the media presentations of so-called "facts" can vary depending on the source, even among English-language media sources. We do not even go into the many foreign-language newspapers, where even greater variety of reporting will be found.

Newspapers

Newspapers are still a big deal but are losing ground to newer media.
See Journalism.org.

In terms of total coverage, Google News Aggregator is the biggest:
Google News Aggregator (World).

Newspapers have made it online too. For example, Amazon even features:
Newspapers on Kindle.

See a recent list of the Top 200 Newspapers in the World.

See a List of Newspapers in the United States
including  the Top 25 Newspapers in the USA by Weekday Circulation

A Selection of Some of the World's 
English-Language Newspapers and Media

New York Times (USA)
Washington Post (USA)
Seattle Times (USA)
Los Angeles Times (USA)
Chicago Tribune (USA)
USA Today (USA)
Bloomberg (USA)
Russia Today at RT.com (Russia)
The Korea Herald (South Korea)
Deutsche Welle (Germany)
Spiegel Online International (Germany)
FAZ - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany, English description only) 
Die Zeit (Germany)
The Asahi Shimbun (Shimbun= News) (Japan)
The Jerusalem Post (Israel)
China Daily (China)
People's Daily (China)
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
LeMonde diplomatique (France)
The Times of India (India)
The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
BBC News (United Kingdom)
The Guardian (United Kingdom)
The Telegraph (United Kingdom)
The Daily Mail (United Kingdom)
The Independent (United Kingdom)
Financial Times (United Kingdom)
Sunday Times (South Africa)