There are people out there who are trying hard to confuse us and manipulate us.
That’s why we’re here – to try to push back against that.
So how do we decide if something is true or not? One way is to find out what we can learn about the issue from:
- Reliable media.
- We’ll explain more about what we mean by this shortly.
- Original sources.
- That means that if there is an original document, transcript or statement on an issue – we’ll use that.
- Academic research.
- Accredited institutions, like universities.
- Peer-reviewed journals – like Science.
- Statements from qualified experts in the field.
- Unusual sources
- When we encounter a source that we are unfamiliar with, we check to see who has cited them or relies on them, or ask experts in that field to help us out. We do not take data from unknown sources without some kind of verification.
Every single one of those sources can make mistakes. But the more reliable the source, the less likely they are to make mistakes, and the more likely they are to correct them when they do. That’s what we aspire to – few mistakes, quick fixes for those that happen.
How we choose reliable media.
As you know, the reliability and credibility of media is a topic of a lot of debate lately. So we decided to use a third party source to rate various outlets.
We chose AdFontesMedia (no we don’t get the name either) as our baseline source. We do not always agree with their ratings, but they make a serious attempt to define and explain their criteria, and share their process and reasons for their ratings. We don’t think we can do a better job. In particular, we will only rely on sources with a reliability rating over 43 and a bias rating of +/- 10.
Bias and point of view.
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 with an opposite view point as much as possible. We can not pretend to be strictly unbiased – but we work hard to make sure that does not deceive us into believing things that are not true.
We invite feedback on this. We will engage in reasonable discussion. We will fix mistakes or question our assumptions. We will not engage in shouting matches. There are many, many forums for you to get that out of your system. You don’t need us for that.
Here is the list of mainstream media outlets we use, along with their AdFontMedia ratings. As mentioned above, we use other objectively credible sources as appropriate for the topic. Note that these are all the sources rated above a 43 on the AdFontMedia reliability scale. They rate more of these as having a leftward skew than a rightward one.
When we research an issue, we go to the most reliable, most neutral sources first.