I spend a lot of time talking to people about politics or other issues. I’ve noticed that often, our differences of opinion don’t necessarily come from different ways of thinking or even priorities. They can come from having different information on the issue.
Having different information can make it easy to see the other person’s view as wrong or even evil. However, not all information is accurate. By choosing good and varied news sources and being aware of bias, it will be easier to work with the facts, which can allow people to come to agreements even if they have different political views.
It’s important for everyone to use credible sources that lean both left and right to help them understand the world from a more accurate standpoint.
All news is biased, because it’s written by people, and people can never completely eliminate bias from their writing. This can cause problems if people only use news sources they already agree with. According to research by Pew Research Center, “Republicans and Democrats place their trust in two nearly inverse news media environments.”
If Republicans and Democrats use completely different news sources, they won’t be operating with the same assumptions or even facts. This can lead to political polarization and even arguments over facts rather than opinions.
Because news sources are where we get our information, different people using sources that are totally different from each other, and not always credible can lead to debates over facts instead of our reaction to them. There are several issues where the facts are clear, but instead of accepting them and finding a response, we’re still arguing over whether they’re true or not.
For example, NASA says that “The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95% probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.”
That’s a clear statement based on equally clear facts. However, the topic of climate change is still seen as a major debate, because many politicians and some news sources treat it as such. We’ll never be able to confront problems as a society if we can’t agree on the facts behind them, which is why it’s important for people to use varied and credible sources to gain a better and less biased understanding.
One of the more frequent arguments people give is that they don’t trust other sources. They feel like sources they disagree with are lying to them, or sometimes think of them as evil. However, this is the very reason that it’s important to balance sources. Credible news sources make a huge effort not to lie to readers, and if they make a mistake, they print a correction.
Using multiple credible sources with different biases allows readers to fact-check news against the same news from different outlets. By doing this, people can actually protect themselves from sources that may be trying to manipulate them.
To be better members of society, we should all examine the news sources we use. Resources such as Checkology can help people become better at recognizing and understanding bias. We need to choose well-known, credible sources, both those that lean slightly left and slightly right.
If we all get better at understanding news, bias, and how to find facts, we’ll be better functioning as a society. We’ll be able to better understand the other side, agree on facts so we can work on solutions, and be informed.