Who Can I Trust??

It is nearly impossible to determine whether any given source of information is trustworthy these days. We pretty much have to assume that all news stations are biased in one way or another; the tricky part is figuring out how something might be skewed and taking that into account as we absorb the information. I think that part of the reason I don’t watch or read the news very often is because I’m never quite sure who is the original source of the stories I’m hearing. Most television stations in America are known for being slightly more liberal or conservative, and will try to use discreet techniques to sway people one way or another with their news stories.

There are many techniques that news stations use to influence people, many of which are analyzed in detail on a website called News Bias Explored. One common tactic is influential word choice, which can be specific diction or syntax, or headlines that depict incidents in certain ways. Another effective technique is the omission of important stories, or partial coverage of them in an attempt to skew viewers’ beliefs. In relation to this, sometimes quotes can be misrepresented if they are taken out of context. It is also important to consider the sources cited in the stories you read or hear, and consider what the views of those sources might be.

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Bias in our newspapers?
(photo from:http://www.umich.edu/~newsbias/wordchoice.html)

Some examples of news stations that are considered to be pretty one-sided are Fox, which most people consider to be more conservative; and CNN, which most say is more liberal. It is interesting to me that so many conservatives and liberals choose to only watch the news station that tends to side with their personal beliefs. I think that hearing news from multiple sources can help you to sift through the bias and interpret what really happened in any situation. I think it is important for people to listen to more than one perspective every once in a while so that they can try to understand the viewpoints of others and not just have a steady stream of information from one side or the other.

 Bias in the news is not always effective, because most people are fully aware of it now and are able to pick up on some of the techniques being used. However, many people in our society like to choose the easy way out whenever possible, and will only listen to the news they prefer to hear. I prefer to hear the same story from as many sources as possible so that I can sift through any biased opinions and determine what seems to be the truth. I don’t mean to say that I don’t trust any sources of information, but I do generally approach news articles with quite a bit of skepticism.

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