It’s an election year. People are choosing sides and putting up barricades. And the news is doing what the news does, reporting, at least most news organizations are doing that —- depending on who you ask. Because today news, it seems, can often be trying to sway our opinions as much as they are reporting the facts. So, before I move on, I can’t help but say, “everyone lies.” Some news organizations lie more than others. Some spit out falsehoods as a result of shoddy journalism. Others do it on purpose because they assume you’re stupid and will believe anything they say simply because you’re blue and they are blue, or because you’re red and they are red.
As a public service, we want to list a couple of organizations that are working hard to make the truth count and to hold people accountable. The people they are trying to hold accountable include the Speaker of the House, the President of the United States, every senator, every member of the house, and everyone — including you and I — who posts on the Internet.
FactCheck.org calls itself “consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” By all accounts they seem to be doing a great job. Time Magazine listed FactCheck.org as “25 Sites We Can’t Live Without.” They’ve also won four Webby Awards in the Politics category, as well as four People’s Voice Awards in Politics; and awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. You can look up facts simply by clicking here.
snopes.com, here’s what they say about themselves: “Snopes is the Internet’s definitive fact-checking resource. When misinformation obscures the truth and readers don’t know what to trust, Snopes.com’s fact-checking and original, investigative reporting lights the way to evidence-based and contextualized analysis. We always document our sources, so readers are empowered to do independent research and make up their own minds.” Democrats have complained that Snopes is biased in favor of Republicans. And Republicans have complained that Snopes favors Democrats. That must mean that they are doing a pretty good job.
You might also want to become familiar with www.newsguardtech.com. This is an extension you add to your web browser. If you’re on a website and want to know how credible that site is, all you do is click on the NewsGuard extension, and a brief rating comes up. They call themselves The Internet Trust Tool. They provide detailed information on over 4,000 news websites that account for 95% of online engagement with news.
The only way this democracy and voting stuff works is if we all cast informed votes (and next time you see them, remember to thank your mail carrier for delivering democracy). We encourage you to fact-check everything, even what you read on Fine Medium & Broad.