My Turn, Pam Bloom: Be careful what you read

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 7, 2022

It’s hard to avoid bias in our news sources. We owe it to ourselves and our community to check ourselves and our sources.

I find Media Bias/Fact Check a good place to start. Google “media bias,” followed by the name of your major news source and discover how factual your source is in their reporting. Bias usually shows up in different degrees for most news outlets. I can accept a slight bias and read with that in mind and avoid being swayed by someone’s opinion. I do not depend on any sources that have extreme bias, either left or right, for factual information.

For example, a recent letter to the editor touted his news source as “a newspaper that follows a strict truth and tradition format.” That is his opinion. The factual accuracy of that opinion can be debunked. I suggest reading the entirety of the following links for complete information on both the Epoch Times and the Associated Press.

From https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/the-epoch-times/  The Epoch Times is deemed a questionable source. A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, consistent promotion of propaganda/conspiracies, poor or no sourcing to credible information, a complete lack of transparency, and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact-checked on a per-article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake news unless specifically written in the reasoning section for that source.

  • Overall, we rate The Epoch Times Right Biased and Questionable based on the publication of pseudoscience and the promotion of propaganda and conspiracy theories, as well as numerous failed fact checks.

The same source rates The Associated Press as left-center bias. Readers should definitely ask and understand this designation. https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/associated-press/ These media sources have a slight to moderate liberal bias.  They often publish factual information that utilizes loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by appeals to emotion or stereotypes) to favor liberal causes.  These sources are generally trustworthy for information but may require further investigation. See all Left-Center sources.

  • Overall, we rate the Associated Press Left-Center Biased due to left-leaning editorializing of news stories and frequently conducting fact checks on conservatives. We also rate them High for factual reporting due to proper sourcing and a clean fact check record.

This is the type of information we need to find about multiple sources we read as we maneuver through the many news outlets that surround us. We must stop looking for the news we agree with without checking additional sources that are trustworthy. I can easily read news sources that agree with my political leanings. If I find myself nodding too eagerly, I know it’s time to find at least two other reliable sources that allow me to verify that I’m reading highly factual reporting.

I depend on the Associated Press for journalistic integrity. I am thankful that the Salisbury Post uses the AP. I don’t mind reading the letter to the editor, “AP is not truth in newspapers”  (June 19) as I think the author is simply guilty of spreading misinformation in his zeal to find a news source that confirms his point of view. I believe local opinion letters can create civil follow-up discussions in our community and important moments to reflect and learn something new.

I do expect the Salisbury Post to defend the accuracy of their sources and I look forward to an editorial response or a local news article that explains what journalistic integrity means to the public and what constitutes a factual source like the highly respected Associated Press.

If you’re reading and questioning my opinion and my sources, that’s a good thing. Consider googling “reliable sources, fact checking”  and investigating those results with the major news sources you regularly use. Start establishing habits that lead to differentiating between facts, misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and lies. It’s when we believe news that can’t be verified by reputable sources that we are led down a slippery slope and begin to embrace actual lies.

Pam Everhardt Bloom lives in Salisbury.

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