Does your favorite celeb really know what s/he is talking about? Is the politician you trust most really telling the truth? Is the nonfiction book or article by your favorite author really accurate and factual? What do you know about the person who wrote that ‘forward’ you received in your email? Do you even know that person’s name? Here is help in determining the answers to those questions.
As most people have learned, anyone can write anything in a book or on the Internet. Just because something is in print in any form does not make it accurate and factual. Just because you heard it on television or radio, does not make it true. Just because something was stated persuasively, or convincingly, by your favorite politician, actor, singer, author, or best friend, does not make it fact.
It is important to evaluate the sources and information you use for references whether your purpose for using them is for a research paper, a classroom discussion, an exchange of ideas with a colleague or friend, or information you are using to base your vote for a particular candidate on.
If your reference or information source is not credible, neither will your research paper or your opinion that you base on that reference/source be credible. The only people who will be impressed with your misinformed opinions, whether written or spoken, will be people as uninformed as you are, so take the time to be as accurate as possible and to get the facts. Know what you are talking or writing about.
Everyone Has an Agenda
There are many reasons why people make the statements they do. Everyone has an agenda, and if you can determine what that agenda is, you will have an advantage in determining why someone says or writes what they do.
Everyone talks about the media being objective, yet there is no such thing as objectivity in the media and never has been. From the beginning of newspapers and magazines and other written words, the writer of those periodicals has had an agenda that they are promoting through their writing. Their agenda is their purpose for writing what they write, in the way they write it, in order to sway their reader’s opinion or position on the subject they are writing about.
There are newspapers, magazines, television and radio networks, and even authors who are considered either conservative or liberal depending on their position on the issue they are writing about or reporting. If you are aware of what is referred to as the slant of the reporter’s position on the subject, or the slant of his/her media outlet’s position on the subject (newspaper, television network, etc.), that can help you in judging whether or not the story or report is factual and accurate.
Knowing where an author is coming from is important in judging what they have to say. Very often reporters state the facts accurately, but then state them in a way that seems positive or negative depending on how they want their readers or listeners to feel about those facts. Sometimes their statements are factual as far as they go -- but a few little things (or big things) that would make a difference in how the information is received, are simply left out. What is provided is factual, but what is left out can make a world of difference in what has actually been said, written, or what actually happened. Getting information in context and getting ALL of the information usually makes a huge difference.
Since every reporter and every media outlet of every kind has a slant (either conservative, liberal, or moderate, in favor of or not in favor of), it is a good idea to read or listen to many different stories, or reports, on the same issue/subject to help you determine where the truth lies.
Some information sources are more credible than others, because they have been in business for a very long time and have established a strong reputation for accuracy and dependable facts.
In general, universities and government agencies have a great deal of credibility. Information presented as facts by these institutions carries a lot of weight. Research and studies done by these entities, or commissioned by them, is usually given more credibility than when done by a private industry because presumably they do not have an interest in the outcome, where private industry does.
Even so, the results of research and studies done should always be judged as to whether the research or experiment was conducted in a careful, objective, scientific manner. There are correct ways to go about conducting research and experiments, and there are sloppy, less reliable ways to do it.
Other than universities and government documents, here is a list of a few periodicals that are generally respected by most people of high learning, and people who are authorities or experts in their fields:
- The New York Times (liberal)
- The Wall Street Journal (conservative)
- Time Magazine (conservative)
- Newsweek (liberal)
- CBS News (conservative)
- ABC News (liberal)
- New York Post (conservative)
- The Huffington Post (liberal)
- Wikipedia (slant varies)
- Cleveland Clinic
- Mayo Clinic
The above is just a short list of well-established, generally accepted credible media entities. This is something you learn from doing a lot of research and reading.
Even though all media outlets lean either liberal or conservative, that does not mean that every reporter or anchor on their staff is of that mindset. There is usually a mix of both perspectives within most news organizations, but the overall slant of these periodicals and media outlets is as stated in the parenthesis. If you understand that when you are listening to or reading their reports and stories, you will have a better understanding of why they are presenting a particular perspective on a story.
Read More From Owlcation
The Entire Purpose of Some Sources of Information Is to Mislead
There are many sources of information whose purpose is to mislead and misinform. Their main purpose is to persuade you to their way of thinking just because they believe they are right and everyone else is wrong. Sometimes they stand to gain financially or to obtain power if they can persuade enough people to see things their way, and sometimes they simply believe that their way is the only right way.
There are some people, for example, who would force people if they only could, to accept their religious beliefs. They will say and do whatever it takes to bring people in line with their beliefs and ideas because they truly believe the end justifies the means. That is just one example. There are many examples of intolerant people who do whatever it takes, including making up what they present as facts, to persuade people to their way of thinking whether it is in regard to religion, politics, or something else. If you do not know how to verify whether their information is fact, opinion, or downright fiction, you are more likely to fall prey to their misinformation.
It is important to realize that everyone has an agenda, and everyone has a reason for wanting you to agree with him or her on whatever subject they are discussing or promoting. If it is an advertiser, their agenda is pretty obvious. They want you to buy their product or use their service. If it is a politician, they want you to support them and their political Party so they can win the majority of elections and determine the direction the country will take for the next few years. They may very well benefit in their personal finances and in other ways as well.
Sometimes it is an advocate for a particular social issue who wants to influence your opinion on things like the environment, abortion, the legal drinking age, prayer in school, or any number of different issues that will affect millions of people.
Do Not Be Fooled -- Always Verify the Accuracy of Your Information
In every case you should verify that the information someone is giving you is accurate and factual. In every case you need to determine what is fact and what is opinion. Sometimes the information presented will be extremely incorrect and misleading, especially where politics or products are concerned.
In the beginning, doing the necessary research on these things can be difficult because you may not be used to reading political or scientific jargon (depending on what applies to the subject at hand), but like most things, it gets easier with practice and diligence.
Do not be fooled into believing that a statement or common belief is accurate just because a lot of people believe it or accept it as truth. Again, verify the statement or belief. It takes only seconds in many cases.
Some of the worst misinformation is spread virally through email forwards. For some reason people tend to accept whatever these email forwards say without question, never even wondering who originated the ‘forward’ or whether there is even a single word of accuracy in them. Often there is none.
Do not be hornswoggled. Be informed, and know your facts whether they pertain to the Bible, politics, products and services, or statistics and scientific determinations.
Nowadays with the Internet and first class search engines, it often takes only seconds to determine the truth of statements and accusations. Learn what sources (people or institutions or periodicals) have credibility and which ones are simply spreading their own opinions based on misinformation and distortion of the facts for their own benefit.
Know the Difference Between Fact and Opinion – Never Assume
It is important to know facts from opinion. If you are not sure, it takes only minutes, often just seconds, to verify whether or not a statement is fact. Opinions cannot be verified because they are not facts.
Research the person who is making the statement. Learn who s/he is and what their agenda has been previously. Does any respected source list them as a credible authority or expert on the subject they are commenting on or promoting?
Do not assume anything. Never assume that because someone is well known that they are being factual. Do not assume that someone who is not considered a well-known expert or authority in a particular area is not informed. Take a few seconds or minutes to research the facts.
Parroting (repeating) things you have heard others say that some of us may know through our knowledge or research is mistaken or misguided takes a lot of credibility away from you. Never imagine that a lot of people saying or believing the same thing means it is accurate or correct. People used to believe African Americans were not even human, and those same people believed women were incapable of serious responsibility and thinking. Yes, and at one time those same people believed night air and bathing caused disease. No matter how long you may have believed something to be true, it pays to find the truth from a credible source just in case you are wrong.
Even when I think I already know something, before I spread the word through my writing or conversation, I research to make sure. Learn the truth before spreading misinformation or lies.
Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen R. Mandell. Research: Chapter 33 – pages 270-285. The Brief Holt Handbook second edition. Fort Worth, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1998.
Questions & Answers
Question: How would you ensure that information is suitably accurate?
Answer: That is exactly what this article is about. Knowing how to be reasonably certain information is correct. I think I have answered that in the text of this article.
Question: How true is the information presented through the media?
Answer: I have listed several sources of dependable information in this article. It really depends on the media source you choose to listen to. I recommend reading a variety of newspapers, magazines, and books, to get a complete picture of any subject. In other words, read newspapers or watch TV news that is a mix of slants. If you only watch Fox News, you will not get a clear picture of anything, and you may never even hear about something if it isn't complimentary to the right, or conservatives. You need to mix the conservative and the liberal media outlets that you listen to to get a better idea of what is happening.
Question: Who is responsible for verifying the accuracy of online information?
Answer: The person who will most likely suffer the most if information found online turns out to be wrong is the person who sought and relied on that information. Therefore it is the responsibility of the seeker and/or user of the information who should verify that the information is accurate.
Freedom of speech makes it possible for anyone to write whatever they wish online within certain limitations. One cannot legally pose as a medical doctor and give medical advice if one is not a licensed physician, for example. The same limitations on spoken free speech apply online, however there are few limitations to free speech to begin with. It is in the interest of the user of information to verify its accuracy.
Question: Does fake news effect the democracy?
Answer: It isn't that difficult to research issues online and to determine if news is truly fake or not. Sometimes the things people write online are so ludicrous that with a little thought one can figure out that they are tall tails. Be aware that there are websites that write spoofs for entertainment. The Onion is one of those, but there are many others. The way that fake news effects our democracy is that uninformed not so bright people who start out wanting to believe the worst about somebody they have decided to hate, spreads the lies without questioning them and contributes to people believing that our government is the enemy. To offset the lies they choose to believe are truth, they vote for someone who will bring their fear into being without realizing they are playing right into the hands of the real enemy.
The best way to know the difference between fake news and real news is to be informed. Never limit your information source to only one or two entities. Whether you like it or not, listen to news that is slanted both liberal and conservative so that you get a better picture of what is happening. When you limit yourself to only one or two news sources you are just asking to be taken advantage of and fooled into lies. If enough people allow themselves to be fooled in this way, we could very well lose our democracy and find ourselves in an authoritarian state.
Question: Was Starfish Prime a nuclear test?
Answer: Starfish Prime was a nuclear test. I recommend you Google it.
Question: Did a 1-Year-Old really show up in Immigration Court?
Answer: It is a simple matter to Google any question you might have about specific issues. I can usually confirm or reject most subjects in 5 minutes or less simply by Googling the issue, whatever it may be.
Sadly, yes, it is true that very small children were forced to appear in court on their own, since they had been separated from their parents, to justify their presence in this country. Even though a Federal judge ordered the Trump Administration to reunite the parents and children that administration separated from each other several months ago, it still has not been done. Some have been reunited, but at this moment in time, there are still more than 500 children separated from their parents even though the deadline for accomplishing this was July 26, 2018 at 3:48 PM. If you or I defied a court order like that we would be jailed for an indefinite period of time, but even though we are constantly told the U.S. President is not above the law, clearly he is, and this is just one of many examples that prove it.
The main reason the immigrant children have not been reunited is because decent records were not kept when they families were separated. Many of the parents have been deported without their children months ago. Authorities have no idea where the parents of the children are because they kept sloppy records where there were any records kept at all.
The short answer is yes, a 12-month old was forced to appear in court to represent him or herself. You only have to Google your question to verify this information.
Question: How can I verify scientific research, for example, if a certain type of food is said to have several food values?
Answer: You would want to get your information from a reputable source, to begin with. If the website where you get your info says it is owned by Tom and Jerry's Nutrition and Midnight Auto Salvage, you might want to seek a better source. If the website is owned and maintained by Harvard Medical Center or similar, chances are good the info is credible. Short of judging the website's credentials, you could always become a scientist yourself.
© 2011 C E Clark
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 07, 2019:
Haiya Aleem, thank you for your inquiry. Personally, I do not get information from 'social media,' sources, those being Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Most of that is opinion and even plain gossip. Sadly, many people are fact challenged. Anyone can write anything they wish pretty much anywhere. One has to learn what is dependable and accurate.
I would go to our respected institutions like universities, colleges, and various government departments as well as known authorities on various subjects and issues to get reliable information. Also our news agencies that have proven themselves, like ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and so forth.
No Fox News. They ignore what they dislike and pretend it didn't happen, and they often make things up, so they are wholly undependable when it comes to facts.
I never research anything on the social media.
haiya aleem on May 07, 2019:
i have a question to ask and that is how can business determine that
the information on the social media is reliable?
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 21, 2017:
Ronald Q. Crossman, thank you for taking time to read and comment on this article. The fact is that we never could trust anyone to tell us 100% of the truth 100% of the time -- if anyone knew what it was in the first place! I think most ordinary people do tell the truth as they know and believe it to be, but often they are misinformed or more likely, uninformed because they choose to consult their neighbor or someone else as uninformed as themselves rather than reading a variety of credible periodicals and listening to a variety of credible news networks.
I was like that myself about 35 years ago, and while it all looked very discouraging I immersed myself in learning what news agencies were credible whether on TV, in newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. I highly recommend listening to a variety of credible news sources whether they share a person's ideologies or not. The same news story will be reported very differently on ABC, CBS, CNN, and in the New York Times, Time Magazine, The Dallas Morning News, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, etc.
Everything, including novels and anything on TV, the Internet, or in print will have a slant depending on the person's viewpoint who is writing and/or directing it. That is an important reason for reading and being informed by a variety of different sources. The truth, to the extent one can even determine the truth, will usually be somewhere in the middle between what you learned from the various sources.
Of course some people have a hard time accepting the truth when it doesn't agree with their own values and chosen beliefs. If someone wants to believe there's a conspiracy behind every tree and blade of grass, more often than not there is nothing that will persuade them otherwise.
With time and diligence one can learn most of the truth by learning which sources are most credible and dependable, but it always pays to keep an open mind and to use critical thinking even if what you're learning is from your best friend, your favorite author, favorite news anchor/TV station, favorite newspaper/magazine, or anyone at all that you look up to. Just because someone is crazy good at something doesn't mean they are good at everything or necessarily a good roll model.
Always research the things you learn to find out what other people think about it and to find out if there's any truth to it in the first place. There really is Fake News out there and you might be surprised where it gets started sometimes.
To me the scary part is that most people are too lazy to learn the truth and find it easier and therefore more preferable to parrot what they hear from the people whose lies they choose to believe. Ignorance nowadays, with all the information available at everyone's finger tips -- libraries have computers and newspapers if people can't afford their own -- ignorance is a choice.
Thank you again for your comment.
Ronald Q Crossman on February 27, 2017:
It is very scary to know what I just read was correct. Think about the implications. We now can trust no one to tell us 100% of the truth 100% of the time. When I was a child my mother said "you can trust what you see 50% of the time and what you hear 10% of the time" and now it's all making sense. Very sad indeed.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 19, 2016:
Robert Sacchi, thank you for sharing that experience. Very few people bother to investigate things they hear and as a result most people are gullible and easily accept lies and misguidance. It's especially true in politics. I think maybe because so few people really understand our politics or bother to look below the surface.
Robert Sacchi on July 16, 2016:
Thank you. Years ago we were deciding on what model car to buy Sales reps for 2 of the dealerships claimed the other car we were thinking about didn't handle crashes as well as their model. I called the insurance company and asked them about the rates for the different models. The other car had the same or lower rates than the others.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 16, 2016:
Robert Sacchi, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. I like to look at as many different pieces of information as possible when I write an article. Even raw data may differ from other different studies depending on how the data was collected. If I discover that I like to include both results and let people decide for themselves. My main purpose is usually to inform and then let people form their own opinions and thoughts on the subject. I do like to have credible sources because without that an article really is (IMHO) worthless.
Robert Sacchi on July 12, 2016:
A good article. I've found it's often best to deal with the raw data rather than the analysis. I did a research paper in 1980 and the experts were saying we were going to have oil shortages. The raw data showed otherwise.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 27, 2015:
No Paula, you hadn’t mentioned before that I remind you of your sister. I’m sure your sister was more beautiful, and I do consider it an honor that you would even compare me to her. I’m usually laid back and easy going, but I do have another side — and you don’t want to know her. I can be very sarcastic and I have a dry sense of humor most often. Generally children and animals love me.
I have a ton of shirttail relation as you might imagine. The Clarks are very prolific and that is my original surname. It might not be as far fetched as you think for us to be related. I’ve read that most people are just 4 generations removed from each other. In other words you and I may have one or two great, great, great, great grandparents in common.
Here are a few names in my direct line going back. There were some Irish too, but I can’t remember the name. Aldrich, Rothermel, Humphrey, Van Buskirk, Hagaboon, Cronkite, Wood, and Clark. Spellings sometimes vary with different families.
Years ago I became immersed in politics because my husband was into it and his undergrad degree was in political science. He went on to become an attorney — he’’s the man I’m writing about in my hub titled “This High School Dropout Went to Harvard! Your Life Is Not Over Because You Dropped Out of High School.” I learned so much about government and how it works from him, and I’m not talking about civics class, which I aced 3 times without his help.
The only time I’m not open to listening is when I’ve heard the same old song before. Tell me something I haven’t heard before and if you can back it up with solid reference, I may even change my mind about something. It’s happened before. Most people don’t listen at all if they think they will hear something contrary to what they want to believe.
Glad to know that you listen and compare many different sources of information. Information is power and we are supposed to listen and learn. That doesn’t necessarily mean incorporating what we learn into our lives, although it might. It simply means understanding how people may think and believe differently from ourselves and why. It’s easier to get along with people who aren’t too mysterious. It is the unknown that encourages fear, and fear encourages war.
Of course there are always a few people who believe themselves so perfect that they want to force us all into their mold. They don’t care why someone is different, they are simply convinced anyone different from themselves must be changed to perfection like themselves, but that’s another issue.
Thank you again for your very kind words, Paula.
Suzie from Carson City on August 26, 2015:
Re: your reply...Exactly. We think an awful lot alike on more than few issues. Who knows? Maybe we have ancestors in common? Which brings something to mind. Have I already told you at some point that your bio photo reminds me SO much of my precious, dearly departed sister whom I have missed terribly every day since we lost her.?
If I didn't tell you, I have now, haven't I? In fact, I have searched for a particular picture I have of her (when she was much younger, closer to your age bracket) because I was going to try to email it to you.
Anyway, trust me, it's definitely a high compliment. She was beautiful and as smart as you too!
Anyway...I insist on hearing both sides....all sides. My husband would always ask me, "Why are you listening to that numb skull?" I would just explain that we should ALL listen to what everyone has to say to eventually get to the heart of the matter....So that's that.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 26, 2015:
Thank you Paula, for your kind praise, and for sharing your thoughts.
What I am wondering, is if you distrust the media, with whom are you checking the facts? One should always listen to more than one news reporting agency and read more than one magazine/newspaper in order to get the different takes on what is reported. Listening to just one or reading just one is little different from knowing nothing at all.
I like to listen to both sides, and several reports from different sources. Of corse I've been immersed in politics for so long, over 30 years, that I know a lot of this stuff already -- like those guys in the toll booths -- they can pick up the right amount of change without even looking because they've done it so many times and for so long. I can usually tell which way people lean just by listening to them talk about anything at all, doesn't have to be politics.
I always voted on the hubs I read, too. I just wish now that they would advertise hubs that are related on my articles instead of throwing things on their willy nilly just to take up space. I also wish they would let me control which of my own hubs would be shown under my name so they might be varied a bit instead of the same ones on every hub.
Suzie from Carson City on August 24, 2015:
Another fabulous read. I am extremely careful to question, check and validate...just about everything. The "media" least of all can be trusted. When in doubt, check it out.
I can barely force myself to listen to Politicians, so right now is my least favorite span of time to pay any attention to the news. Problem is, we have to hear what they are saying, the promises and plans for
" we, the people" (HA!) so we have something to reference when they do nothing they claimed they would. Makes sense, right?
Bottom line, Au Fait....you print the facts of reality and I haven't a single argument!.........(I miss the voting...I really did use them! :( )
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 24, 2015:
Peggy W, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important subject. There are so many things relating to politics whether there's an election coming up soon or not, that really begs for clarification and especially verification. Most people do not look for the truth. They listen to people as uninformed as themselves and then parrot what they hear. Politicians know most people behave this way and take advantage of them by spreading untruths that often end up gong viral.
Sadly, people as uninformed as the electorate are often voted into office and that is why our country is quickly becoming a 3rd world country for the majority and a haven for the wealthy.
Recently I read a hub, can't remember who wrote it, but the author pointed out that listening to only one news source was little different from not listening to any because as explained in this article, every news agency, and really, every person has a slant, an agenda, and so one must listen to and ideally read, several news agencies accounts. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle of it all.
Once immersed in politics for a while, one begins to recognize the voices of truth and things begin to fall into place and be easier understood. There is so much more to politics than what is on the surface, yet the surface is where the majority of the electorate reside -- by choice.
Both Parties in this country have their own agenda, and like anything else, people do not usually join a Party any more than they would join a club that had values greatly different from their own. Would you join a serial killers club if you were promised a tax break?
I actually like Great Britain's way of doing things better than here because here we really have only 2 choices and sometimes neither is terribly palatable. GB has more parties that take different stances. Very difficult for everyone in this country to fit into one of the only 2 that really have a say.
Hope you are staying cool. I noted we are to have mid 90s for the whole first week of September. Take care . .
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 23, 2015:
With the next election series heating up and all of the information and disinformation circling the airwaves and other media sources, it is time for people to start thinking seriously about cutting through the chaff and determining what is real and what news is spinned to purposely affect people's choices of candidates. Most of the media at this point are concentrating on the Trump phenomenon and Hillary's emails. Sharing this again as it seems very timely to this particular subject.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on June 27, 2015:
Geoff, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. "The dumb always 'out bread' the smart . . ." Did you mean out breed? ;) I know it was just a typo.
For the most part I agree with you 100%. I modified this article all because of you, so I hope you'll go through it again and let me know if you think it's improved.
Thank you again for your thoughts!
Geoff on June 26, 2015:
Why is "because the source is widely accepted as reliable, it is reliable" a good argument. If a majority of people don't know how to judge reliability, why should the majority opinion matter? It seems that this is only a good argument based on the assumption that the majority of people ARE good judges of reliable information. If that were true, why are there so many more sources which are not considered reliable. The fact is, people are not bright in general. Even if they are, there is only 24 hours in a day and people have life to live and don't want to waste it checking facts. It is all a big random process where some believe some things and others don't. Those in power are not able to track and compute accurately with this randomness so the best thing to do is continue being random! At least then, big decisions won't be made which are counter to the majorities comfort zone. Yes, over time this will likely lead to slavery of one kind or another but that is the natural consequence of capitalism, democracy, and open breeding. You can't stop that train. The dumb always out-bread the smart at a staggering rate, especially in a democratic, greed-based society where education is under funded. Just enjoy your ride and make the best of it.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 22, 2014:
Peggy W, thank you for pinning this article!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 19, 2014:
Going to pin this to my Do You Know This? board. Too many people take things for granted without doing some due diligence with regard to ferreting out the facts.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on November 30, 2013:
Thank you Indian Chef for reading and commenting, voting on, and sharing this article! I think if a writer (or anyone) wants to be taken seriously they must use what most people agree are credible sources for their information.
Indian Chef from New Delhi India on November 28, 2013:
As anyone can be expert online and give advise. All he needs to do is just copy couple of blogs from any site and put a new one under his name. Medical advise is given best by people with no medical background . So I think you need an advise take it from professionals and not from online sites or just anyone. Useful blog. voting up, interesting, awesome and sharing.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on September 06, 2013:
Moonlake, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub, for voting on it, tweeting it, and sharing it too, and I appreciate your sharing your thoughts too.
I do consider CBS to be conservative because it promotes the conservative viewpoint more often than any other. However, I don't think my personal opinion is all that important. I am going more on the instruction and opinions of people who work in political science and have done for many years.
Since you mentioned the Mayo Clinic, I decided to add that along with the Cleveland Clinic to my list of credible sources. Both the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic have websites very similar to WebMD, they just haven't been online quite as long. Both Mayo and Cleveland Clinics are of course better known by most people, but their content is pretty much the same as WebMD. None give specific medical advice that I know of. It would be unethical at the least to do that when they haven't examined the patient, etc.
Thanks again for your input!
moonlake from America on September 01, 2013:
Really you consider CBS conservative? We watch Fox news. I don't like site that give medical advice. I don't mind sites where someone tells their story but when looking for anything medical I go to Mayo clinic.
Voted up, Tweeter and StumbledUpon.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 19, 2013:
Monokee, thank you for stopping by.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 18, 2013:
phdast7, thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing this article!
I personally expect to use more than one source for any article or research paper I write. Wiki isn't perfect, as you say, and sometimes the authors of those pages are questionable, but that is also true of the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and for sure Fox News, and pretty much any source nowadays.
It has gotten to where we need to question every source unfortunately. I think it's wise to read many different sources before relying on any one of them, taking their slant into consideration. All sources have an agenda and a slant so expecting balance or objectivity is a waste of time. From the beginning of news sources there has always been slant and agenda involved and that can make a big difference in accuracy.
Agree that Wiki should never be more than a basic reference for general information, but often that's all most people want anyway. My big concern is with the general public accepting anything in print or on television as accurate -- including forwards in their email. Compared to the misinformation spread through forwarded emails, Wiki is very nearly angelic and very close to godly. :)
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 16, 2013:
Paul Kuehn, thank you for reading, commenting, voting on, and sharing/tweeting/pinning this article! I think anything in the way of the media should be vetted for accuracy and credibility. The same when we hear friends, family, or other people in our midst talking about things -- do they know what they're talking about or are they just repeating what they've heard elsewhere with no idea if it is fact or fiction?
Moronke Oluwatoyin on May 05, 2013:
Believing everything people say can be a disaster. In the past, I have believed a lot of things but thank GOD, now, I test everything that is been shuffled at me.
Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on May 05, 2013:
Au Fait - This is a very well-written and informative essay. You have covered every angle and this is the sort of thing I go over with every new class of university History students. I only have one small concern: the fact that Wikipedia was on the list of "reliable most of the time" information sources.
I am not an intellectual snob and I have gone to Wiki at times to gather some general information before I CONTINUED my research. And some Wiki articles are relatively un-slanted and worth considering, especially of their sources are good.
But many of these articles are all over the place and composed by multiple unknown (and often untrained) authors who use bits and pieces of information gathered from who knows where. I would never encourage or allow a student to use Wiki as a source for a paper or a project, etc.
I really do think Wiki is in a totally different class from all the other reasonably reputable news and information sources you mentioned, although I agree with you , no source is perfect or write all the time and there is no absolute objectivity anywhere. Excellent Hub. Sharing.
Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on May 04, 2013:
This is another very interesting and useful hub for readers. In evaluating any information source, it is necessary to separate fact from opinion. As you stated in this hub, before reading an article try to get a gauge on the past agenda of the news source. During President Clinton's years in office, the conservatives referred to CNN as the "Clinton News Network" based on its pro-administration reports. In many cases, U.S. government agencies overseas or directed overseas such as the United States Information Service (old name) and Voice of America are directing propaganda which must be examined as fact or ficition. Voted up as interesting and useful. Sharing with followers, Pinning, and Tweeting
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 18, 2013:
Glad this hub has been helpful and useful to you Shyron! Thanks for stopping by.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 16, 2013:
Peggy W, thank you for reading, commenting, voting, and especially for sharing this hub! Very much appreciate the time you take to do this and agree with your analysis.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on February 13, 2013:
I am glad I booked marked this, I very much need to reference it sometimes and today was one of those times.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 12, 2013:
mperrottet, thank you for reading and commenting and voting on this hub! I like the 2 political organizations you listed too. Very credible.
Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on February 12, 2013:
Good article, reminding us of the importance of checking your facts. For political fact checking, I like to use the fact checkers such as Politifact and Factcheck.org. I agree with the sites that you mentioned as being trustworthy. Voted up, interesting and useful.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 11, 2013:
This is a good reminder for people to truly do their homework when it comes to important decision making such as voting. You are so correct in that biases undoubtedly come out over time even if a person tries their best to report "just the facts" and nothing but the facts. We are human after all. We should use our own best judgement and not just take everything we hear or read to be factual without a bit more research. UUI votes and will share.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 19, 2013:
Thank you for bookmarking this hub and leaving a comment. The information here is exactly what is included in the guide I was required to buy and learn when I took my college writing courses.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on January 13, 2013:
This is a very informative hub. have to bookmark it for future reference.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 13, 2013:
Jeff Berndt, thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this hub! And thank you for the compliment.
As a PSYC major, I know well that it is basically impossible to avoid slanting any report or editorial to one's own beliefs. Try however hard you wish, but your opinion will come out in little ways, sometimes very obfuscated as you say, but it will be there never-the-less. I was hoping to get that point across in this article because I so often hear people complaining that the news reports are not balanced. News reports and articles in magazines, or wherever you find them have never been balanced from the time the first one was written or spoken. Even the words a writer chooses are loaded, whether the reader or even the writer realizes it.
The media in this country (and most developed countries) uses the news in every way to influence and manipulate people. Big business and advertisers do the same as does our government. This I know from studying psychology. I especially like the study of social psychology, which explains how this manipulation is done. Lots of people poo-poo psychology, but often the na-sayers are the ones most influenced and manipulated using PSYC methods without even knowing it.
Jeff Berndt from Southeast Michigan on January 12, 2013:
Another useful hub!
It's important to remember that everyone has a bias--but sometimes those biases work to obfuscate the truth in ways that might surprise you.
Many reporters are biased towards "balance." That is, they believe that as a journalist, they're obligated to give equal time to all sides of a given issue, even if one side is on the fringe. The best example of this is in the way climate change is reported. In an effort to be "balanced," reporters tend to give equal time (or at least a nod) to the tiny minority of scientists that say climate change is not happening, while the overwhelming majority of the scientific community agree that climate change is real and being contributed to by human activity, disagreeing only on details like how much humans are contributing to the change, and/or what ought to be done about it.
Some reporters overcompensate for their own biases: a reporter might recognize, for example, that she privately favors a particular candidate for office, and to compensate, will do her best to make sure she reports the same number of positive and negative facts about the candidate, even if there are more positive facts than negative ones.
I recommend a book called "The Influencing Machine," a history of media and bias, by Brooke Gladstone, one of the editors of NPR's radio show, "On the Media." It's a wonderful, in-depth look at the ways media can influence the general public, whether on purpose or by mistake.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on September 23, 2012:
Very glad that this hub is useful to a lot of people. It is one of my most accessed hubs through Google. Thank you for referring to it often and for commenting!
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on September 22, 2012:
I have to keep reading this hub, it is that informative and useful.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on September 16, 2012:
Lesley T, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. I'm glad you find it useful. It is one of my most popular hubs on Google. I guess some people don't like what I've written, but I used an extremely credible source for my reference which I listed, and it is the same one used in our English Department at the University of North Texas. Our English Department puts the fear of . . . well, something in the hearts of many students who opt to do their English requirements at the local community college often times instead.
Anyway, just for you I took 30 seconds and looked up the origin of the word hornswoggled. From The Free Dictionary: "We do not know the origin of hornswoggle. We do know that it belongs to a group of "fancified" words that were particularly popular in the American West in the 19th century. Hornswoggle is one of the earliest, first appearing around 1829. It is possible that these words were invented to poke fun at the more "sophisticated" East. Some other words of this ilk are absquatulate, also first appearing in the 1820s, skedaddle, first attested in 1861 in Missouri, and discombobulate, first recorded in 1916."
You are correct in that I am in the U.S., Texas to be specific, but I am not a Texan. You have to be born here to be a Texan -- or have lots of money like former President Bush. I've lived in 4 other states also.
Thanks again for your input. Welcome to hubpages, looking forward to more of your hubs!
Lesley T from Australia on September 15, 2012:
This is a most informative hub and essential to writers starting out here on HubPages like me. As an aside I learnt that you must be from the USA as all your credible sources are from there and I guess hornswoggled is an American colloquialism - sounds like a cowboy expression: I love it.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 17, 2012:
Thank you for reading, commenting, and using my hub as a reference. Yes, I know, "personal responsibility" for everyone -- else. ;)
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 15, 2012:
I did not miss this one, Au fait, and it is another one I am looking for, to debunk some garbage about the day the Democrst took over.
The raciest would have us believe that President Obama and the Democrats are responsible for "W" every action the 2 years before President Obama was elected.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 02, 2012:
Yup, that's usually how it is.
Thank you for your comments, glad you enjoyed. Still looking forward to your first hub . . .
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on December 30, 2011:
Loved your hub, reminds me of the old saying: There is her story, his story and the truth. Which is always somewhere in between.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 10, 2011:
Thank you Amanda, for reading and taking time to comment. You are so right in that everything we hear should be questioned no matter what or where we hear it. Check it out and see what other people have to say on the subject. Then weigh all the information you find . . .
Amanda Severn from UK on December 10, 2011:
Some years ago I studied hypnosis, and during the process I learned a great deal about how we humans are wired. No-one should ever underestimate the power of influence. Our senses and thoughts are constantly being bombarded, every waking minute of every day, by sights and sounds, smells and tastes, ideas and rhetoric, advertisements and news stories. It's no wonder that we seek to streamline our understanding of the world by accepting much, and questioning little. Unfortunately, many people take this one step further, and simply devolve responsibility for analysing life to a third party such as a church leader, a politician or a favourite journalist. It's no wonder we're all in such a mess.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on November 25, 2011:
Thank you for taking time to read and comment whoisbid.
whoisbid on November 24, 2011:
It is very difficult to know what is actually happening in a lot of situations. I read your article with interest. I say that we have to "follow the money" and this is a good way to know what the intention is. I believe that people who are honest about their agendas (to make money) are much better off than those who pretend that things are said and done for God or country.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on November 22, 2011:
It's true that none of the sources I gave are perfect, but they do come as close as possible to getting things right, which is why they continue to enjoy the trust of most people. As you know, God didn't choose perfect people to champion His cause in the Bible either, He just chose the best available at the time.
I understand your unwillingness to trust our government and the media, but for certain statistics and information, it's the best we can do.
I agree that we should verify everything and as I wrote in my hub, read many different sources in order to get the best picture of what is going on, or what happened. The best isn't necessarily 100% accurate, it's just the best we can do with what we have to work with.
Thank you John D. Wilson . . . I do appreciate your time to read my hub and to share your point of view!
John D Wilson from Earth on November 22, 2011:
Hi Au fait
As the saying goes, "Question everything"
In today's world I take no government employee at their word, do not believe much in the Wall Street Journal or any other mass produced news media.
Call me cynical, but after the Vietnam war, the Savings and Loan fiasco, Nixon lying to us all, and the debacle of 2008 - nothing is sold to me as fact anymore.
Well written post, but the "acceptable" references I just do not buy into anymore.
Understand the logic, the "normal" quotable sources and the intention of your post. I do not mean to take away from it.
Unfortunately, at close to 60, those sources have been proven wrong over and over again, where I just do not believe what they print. I always try to find a differing view, and those views are usually 70% correct, while the "acceptable sources" are proven wrong.
But that is just my opinion, don't buy into it if you think otherwise.
John D. Wilson
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on November 22, 2011:
Thank you clippy34, for taking the time to read and comment on my hub. Researching and verifying information usually takes very little time, often just seconds, and would help prevent the spread of misinformation that is so prevalent nowadays.
Clippy34 on November 22, 2011:
I have to totally agree with your Hub.