Who Do You Trust?

8 09 2014

2009-03-19-Trust-meI have been asking this question a lot over the last several months. Where do you get your news, and how do you know it’s real? Information is flowing fast and furious, like no time in our history. Surely it can’t all be accurate just because it’s in print, on television or on the internet.

I am flooded with information all day. My phone is constantly pinging with Facebook and Twitters posts directing me to articles both criticizing or praising the President about his handling of ISIS, and to sites with judgments or platitudes to the Ferguson Police Department who are either inept or under siege. I am very fortunate that I have a list of social media connections who have varied opinions on the hot topics of the day, and they can all find website articles that support their opinions on those topics. But at the end of the day, someone is right and someone else is wrong. Who is it?

I recall a conversation I had with a friend, a few months before the 2012 Presidential election. Although I had never indicated which candidate I was supporting, I was told to go to a certain few sites Keep-calm-and-trust-me---Urban-900-TO-Skins-iph501to get all of the information I needed. I asked why those sites, and the answer was “Because they check their facts.” What a relief!! So I asked… “How do you know that they check facts?’ The reply came quickly… “Because I read about them on another site.” Now, I’m not saying anything bad here about my friend, because he falls victim to the same trap that we all do.

In 2014, is it a pipe dream to get the facts without agenda? Without bias? That’s a key word, isn’t it. The first time I learned this concept was about thirty years ago during a discussion about abortion. The speaker was making the point that those who favor laws allowing abortion are referred to as “Pro Choice” on television and in the newspapers. But those who are against abortion are called “Anti Abortion Activists”, when their organizations constantly use the term “Pro Life”. It was a not so subtle distinction, and one of the best examples of media bias… and it still exists today.

Another friend recently posted some statistics about the accuracy of various news outlets, posting a scorecard that analyzes statements made on air by ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox personalities and their pundit guests. The results were interesting and alarming, and I was immersing myself in the data when the whole thing went to hell. Someone questioned the source of the statistics, PunditFact. My investigation into this organization proved them to be on the up and up, and I got all of my information about them on the internet… wait a minute… damn!!!

Snopes_logoIt gets better… let’s make it simpler. Recently I’d seen rumors flying around about the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) intentionally suppressing proof of vaccine-related cases of autism in African-American boys from reaching the public. I went to my trusted soothsayers for urban legends – Snopes. com. I was satisfied when I read that the CDC rumor was false. Whew! Faith in my fellow man restored! Until… I go back to the Google page and see an article titled “Snopes Got Snoped!“, which accused my go-to, trusted website of being managed by a middle-aged married couple with no background in research, who uses Google as the primary tool for their myth busting. What the hell!!!!! Of course I trust the source of this info – PoliticalEars.com – who are funded by a group called the Democracy Fund. Wasn’t that George Costanza’s charity?

I have more questions than answers. And I need an answer. WHO DO YOU TRUST? Where can you get information that is accurate and free from agenda? Please tell me where, and tell me why you have given them your trust.

All may not be lost… I was talking with my neighbor about my conundrum. She seems to think her new boyfriend has all of the answers I seek. And he’s a French model!!

Bonjour.

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