How to know what to believe in the news these days? Donald Trump says everything is fake news. And then I hear that he's lying about everything he says. Where can I find impartial reporting

There are some pretty big errors in thinking these days with regard to bias and factuality.

Bias is mostly about the stories that an outlet chooses to report and some of the word choice in their reporting. Having a bias does not mean that your reporting is false. Bias has nothing to do with the facts being reported. The main stream media reports stories that favor both the right and the left.

The main stream media has differing levels of bias from a little to almost none. This does not impact the facts that they report. You can trust their reporting. If they make a mistake, you can trust them to correct it.

The MSM is from my perspective the NYT, WaPo, Reuters, AP and the major network news. They report facts for a living that is their business. The only thing that has threatened this in recent years is the competition to be first. There have been some stories run prematurely without enough vetting. These were corrected as part of the process in the MSM.

The alt right media has a major bias. They only report stories that fit their narrative. They are not really in the business of reporting facts. They are in the business of establishing emotional states in their consumers (mostly anger) and supporting a right wing political agenda. The stories from this sector were the original meaning of fake news. The alt right media does not correct its mistakes. It keeps hyping stories long after they have been debunked. That is why there are so many right wing conspiracy theories that are widely believed. It seems that people on the right are more interested in having their beliefs supported than being factually informed.

In the late 1970s the Republican party did a number of focus group studies about how to win elections going forward. The results of these studies were clear. The traditional Republican platform based on fiscal responsibility was not going to help them win. They identified a single narrow path to victory in national elections. It was to split the country based on religion and race. It was a big success for Ronald Reagan. They have been doing it ever since.

Since this time the Republican Party moved from a party of ideas and pragmatic solutions to the difficult problems facing our country to a party of belief in an emerging set of core principles. One of the biggest problems that the Republican Party has is that many of these beliefs have not been borne out by the emerging facts. Since they switched to being about faith, they could not admit an error and correct their course. Their only choice was to adjust the facts for the conservative faithful. In order for this work for them, they needed to be able to create their own facts that support their narrative and impeach the credibility of the actual facts. As a result of this the Republican Party has been talking about media bias since the late 1970s. It has morphed since that time to a belief by their followers that the MSM is not factual and can only be trusted when their reporting supports the conservative narrative.

One thing that any thinking person who has been paying attention to Donald Trump should realize is that Trump saying something is no reason to believe it. I think one of the best examples of this are his arguments that he has made about the wall. So far, Trump has not made a factual argument for it. There has been a serious misstatement of fact in everything he has said. If you go back and look at the stories that Donald Trump has called fake news, they are stories he does not like. I have not yet seen one that was not based on facts. I have stopped checking this as there is no point in paying attention to what he says anymore.

You can find factual reporting in the MSM listed above. They are in the business of reporting facts. Will it be impartial? I am not sure anything anywhere is. Reuters is probably the least biased of any of the outlets. That being said if any of them report something as a fact, they have followed a process to make sure that it is.

You cannot say that about the right wing press.

I cannot imagine wanting to reward the left wing press with your attention. They are a product of the success of Fox and the theory that people don't want to be informed so much as to have their beliefs supported. This seems to be more true of the right than the left, but it has had some success on the left. I think that more people on the left however are looking for facts and would like our policies to follow the facts... sort of like the MSM reports facts.


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