What is a credible source of information?
Turns out it’s a hard question to answer.
We want news sources that carefully check facts, do thorough research, rely on expertise, and are careful to separate factual reporting from editorial opinion. We want news sources that don’t twist facts to suit their point of view.
Even the very best sources will make mistakes sometimes. Credible sources make fewer mistakes, and quickly correct the ones they do make. Credible sources will not intentionally mislead readers with false or distorted information.
Table of Contents
Why are credible sources important to us?
This list of credible sources is here for two reasons.
- When we build a Reality Card, these are the sources we look to for information. We want to be sure we use the most reliable sources possible. We want to earn your trust, so we want you to know exactly where we get our information, what we think is credible, and why.
- We want this Credible Sources List to be a resource for others – like you – who want to be sure that they are using the most credible sources available. If you’re looking at a news article, and you are not sure if you should trust it, the most important thing to do is look at the source. Is that source trustworthy? This is here to help answer that question. (More help is coming soon.)
How do we judge credibility?
We look to experts to determine the credibility of sources.
There are several frameworks for rating credibility. We rely on several news-rating companies, including Global Disinformation Index and NewsGuard, who have robust criteria for rating sources.
These are the high level criteria that determine whether a source is credible.
- Public statements of ownership, funding sources, research policies, editorial policies, authors and corrections, advertising and can verify that there are no hidden influences or controls over their content.
- They have professional journalistic standards, including fact-checking, a public mechanism to report errors, and attribution of sources of information.
- They avoid sensational or incendiary language, hate speech and do their best to avoid spreading disinformation of any kind, including in public commentary on their site.
- They avoid unethical marketing tactics, like bots or questionable targeting schemes.
We don’t always agree with their findings, but we respect both approaches.
Types of sources
- Original sources. If an article or report references an interview or a document, or other original source, we go to that source.
- Peer reviewed journals* We look to peer reviewed journals, and the authors published in those journals for reliable technical or scientific information.
- There is a world of legal, scientific, health and other technical information out there, and it can be very hard for non-experts to understand the implications of technical information. Misuse of that kind of info is a common disinformation trick. That’s why we rely upon experts to interpret that information for us, when it’s out of our area of expertise.
*Articles are written by experts and are reviewed by several other experts in the field before the article is published in the journal in order to ensure the article’s quality. (The article is more likely to be scientifically valid, reach reasonable conclusions, etc.)
- Credible News Media. This is where it gets challenging. See below.
- Others – in some cases, we use sources that are highly specialized and well known for tracking certain types of information or data. In that case we look to our media bias partners and well-respected experts in the field to vouch for the credibility of the source.
Bias and point of view
At Reality Team, we are people, we have a point of view. Sometimes we have very strongly held opinions on a topic. In order to balance that, we try to use sources that have an opposite view point as much as possible. We can not pretend to be strictly unbiased – but we work hard to make sure we understand the basic facts and how reasonable people can interpret them differently.
We invite feedback on this. We will engage in reasonable discussion. We will fix mistakes or question our assumptions. We hope this list helps you as much as it helps us.
Our list of credible sources:
Most reliable Fact Checking Sites:
Most reliable National Media considered editorially neutral.
Most reliable on the facts, but may have a liberal editorial bias:
Most reliable on the facts, but may have a conservative editorial bias:
Alphabetical List of Trusted National Media Websites.
Note – This is not a comprehensive list. There are thousands of reliable sources. These are the most commonly referenced at a national level. Each of these meets the criteria set by Global Disinformation Index and NewsGuard. The vast majority of news you come across will be corroborated in one or more of these sources if it is true. If you have reason to believe that one of these sources is not trustworthy, you would like a source added to the list, please let us know on our contact page. Please feel free to also ask us to look up the ratings on a new news source you come across. We will update these lists periodically to reflect any changes.
- Al Jazeera
- BuzzFeed News
- CBS News
- Chicago Tribune
- Christianity Today
- Denver Post
- Financial Times
- First Draft News
- Fiscal Times
- Five Thirty Eight
- Foreign Affairs
- Foreign Policy
- Harvard Business Review
- Houston Chronicle
- Los Angeles Times
- Market Watch
- Military Times
- Mother Jones
- National Review
Most Reliable Public Health Information
Top 15 Medical Journals:
- New England Journal of Medicine
- The Lancet
- The Journal of The American Medical Association
- The British Medical Journal
- JAMA International Medicine
- Annals of Internal Medicine
- American Journal of Preventive Medicine
- Drug Safety
- Medical Care
- Journal of Adolescent Health
- Bulletin Of The World Health Organization
- Mayo Clinic Proceedings
- Journal of Clinical Investigation
- BMC Pediatrics
- Epidemiologic Reviews
- Center For Disease Control
- National Institute of Health
Trustworthy Popular Scientific Journals:
- Scientific American
- Annual Review of Psychology
- Frontiers in Neuroscience
- PLOS One
- Journal of Advertising Research
- Journal of Consumer Research
- Journal of Experimental Psychology
- Learning and Instruction
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
- Perceptions On Psychological Science
- Research in Engineering and Design
These sources frequently use inflammatory language, have questionable funding sources and/or unethical marketing practices. They frequently publish widely-debunked disinformation and conspiracy theories. While they do publish some factual information, their extreme editorial bias often distorts the meaning. These are some of the most widely shared sources of disinformation on social media.
There are many, many other sources of questionable information. If you’re not sure if a source is reliable, we’re happy to help check it out for you. Send us a message.
Do not trust news or information that comes from these sources.
Russia Today (RT) – A state-run media outlet that frequently is used by the Russian government to spread its disinfo campaigns.
Sputnik – A state-run media outlet that frequently is used by the Russian government to spread its disinfo campaigns.
American Greatness – Frequently re-post from RT and Sputnik as if it were original content. Frequently use hate speech and inflammatory language. They do not use any fact checking.
Red State – Frequently re-post from RT and Sputnik as if it were original content. Frequently use hate speech and inflammatory language. Frequently publish conspiracy theories. They do not use any fact checking.
Red State Watcher – Frequently re-post from RT and Sputnik as if it were original content. Frequently use hate speech and inflammatory language.
DC Clothesline – Frequently re-post from RT and Sputnik and Project Veritas (a known creator of disinformation) as if it were original content. Frequently use hate speech and inflammatory language.
DC Dirty Laundry – Frequently re-post from RT and Sputnik and Project Veritas (a known creator of disinformation) as if it were original content. Frequently use hate speech and inflammatory language.
Breitbart – Content has been described as misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist by both republicans and democrats. Breitbart describes itself as “the platform for the alt-right,” as stories tout white nationalist and neo-Nazi ideals. In doing so, it openly promotes threats of violence and fringe groups meeting up in real life to “take the country back.”
Epoch Times – Aggressive and extremely unethical marketing practices that attempt to gradually radicalize readers. They fund, and are funded by, cults and donations by recruits, such as “The New Religious Movement”, Falun Gong, and has loose affiliation with The Unification Church (i.e. Moonies).
Gateway Pundit – Known for “misidentifying shooters and terrorists,” and touting QAnon conspiracies. It’s run by a former editor for Breitbart who has been accused of advocating for pedophilia.
Zero Hedge – Aggressive, inflammatory news opinions, redistributed from larger far-right publishers. Founder had been barred from the financial securities industry for insider trading. Banned from using Google ads for “explicitly publishing derogatory content that promotes hatred, intolerance, violence or discrimination based on race.”
American Greatness – Selects topics that are factual, but mixes them with sources that promote conspiracy, such as The Daily Caller and Gateway Pundit. Promoted “alternative,” ineffective, and dangerous “cures” during Covid, and promotes unproven political conspiracies and QAnon rhetoric.
Big League Politics – Founded by former Breitbart employees. Promotes QAnon and promotes white nationalist Republican candidates, anti-LGBTQ conspiracies.
Activist Post – Activist Post is a proxy domain that keeps its owners anonymous. NewsGuard tech has reported the proxy linking to Costa Rica, Croatia, and Thailand. It makes its money from crypto currency donations and ads. It’s known for its health and government surveillance conspiracies, meant to scare readers into taking offline action against threats.
Western Journal – Western Journal publishes sensationalized, religious, conspiratorial content that often aims to diminish all minorities and non-Christians as criminals
Intellihub – Intellihub gives the impression that it is run by intelligence professionals. It is not. It is run by a talk show host and film producer with no political background. The About page claims to be run by activists against “the establishment of power,” and touts anti-Semitic “Globalist” conspiracies while using inflammatory scare tactics to convince readers that they are being watched, attacked, and toyed with by “the biased Left facing government and corporate powers.”
Infowars – Infowars is the most prolific source of conspiracy content, according to The Southern Poverty Law Center. Many of the stories published on this site promote harassment of targets in question. Their funding comes largely from questionable “health supplements” that the founder sells on his show under the Infowars brand.
WND – WND publishes a large amount of “white nationalist” content that touts anti-government conspiracies, and promotes the degradation of the LGBTQ community and minorities. It is also known to post stories with ties to Russian disinfo campaigns.
World Truth.TV – Claims to have access to “sacred knowledge” that it wishes to share with the public in order to “educate them” with “powerful concealed information” by the U.S. Government, and “globalist” powers. Many of their pieces are republished from other sources on this list, among others that are lesser known. They have made many baseless claims related to “Covid conspiracy debunks,” that are in fact conspiracies themselves.
21st Century Wire – Claims to be a warrior in the fight against “Fake News.” The owner of this site has direct ties with the owner of Infowars. They tend to repost their content from Russian media sites like RT and Sputnik. Their stories promote white nationalist rhetoric, while using sensational, inflammatory headlines to mislead readers.
The Federalist – Often publishes content that promotes COVID-19 and lockdown conspiracies, calling on local, self-organized militias to “fight back” against health experts and authorities. Their source of funding is unclear, but suspected to be from sources that support a variety of “hard-right” and extremist groups. Additional conspiracies include LGBTQ as a “war on women,” election fraud, and BLM as “an excuse for black Americans to commit crime.”