Want to know which news sources are trustworthy? We hate to break it to you, but you can't fully trust any. What you can do is be mindful of things like funding, bias (both the news provider's and your own) and engage your critical mind by fact-checking a range of sources.
In this episode, Lianne & Corey express the importance of understanding how the media has become interlaced in everyday lives, from background radio and TV noise, to discussions with friends. They encourage awareness of how the media can influence opinions you believe to be your own, and divulge how hidden agendas of advertisers are often spun as breaking news.
Digging deeper, they interview journalist, financial columnist, and podcast host, Chuck Jaffe, to explore the inner workings of the media industry. Using stories from his vast professional experience, Chuck explains how to determine the trustworthiness of news sources, the role of politics, and how social media platforms have changed the way we consume information.
In case you're wondering, yes, we're the media too. So, are you going to take our word for it… or listen in and form your own opinion?
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Get To The Point
0:56 What to Expect Summary of episode 13
1:37 Quick Quote By Jay Shetty
1:55 Under the Magnifying Glass What are your opinions shaped by?
8:56 Interview Intro Background on Chuck Jaffe
9:23 Interview Chuck Jaffe on how the media industry has evolved, recognizing bias, and source trustworthiness
52:50 Interview Digestion Key takeaways from interview
56:39 Take it Further Recommended resources
You can't turn on the TV and expect to get accurate information. You have to question everything.
We need to understand forms of bias and question agendas to make better informed, more well-rounded viewpoints. Media companies may have been paid to tell a certain story. You could very well be hearing an advertisement spun as a news story. E.g. Dairy companies pay the media to sell their products as "healthy" when research shows it's not as healthy as you think.
Coverage of the Middle East, for example, can range from mildly opinionated stories to outright factual inaccuracies and omission of critical facts.
Social media connects us to the outside world, but it's also used as a medium for data collection to target advertising and skew our opinions.
Our podcast is technically the media too, so question what forms our opinions. We've included a wide range of expert interviews to build a level of trustworthiness and also to learn. We want to discourage 'tunnel vision' where you fall into a herd mentality and listen to the same opinions and over and over again.
Some small steps to achieve balance in your consumption of media include:
- Allocating a set amount of time to watch new sources, e.g. 1-2 hours a day watching the news on TV or scrolling through the news on social media. Be aware of what's happening, but don't overload yourself.
- Mix your news sources up to hear a few different sides of the story.
- Educate yourself and have your own opinion, not one that's already made for you. Deliberately seeking opposing viewpoints to question your preconceived ideas is going to make you a more rounded, analytical individual.
- Understand who is behind media outlets and what they are slanted towards. E.g. Fox News leans towards more conservative viewpoints while CNN provides more liberal views.
- Allocate a set amount of time to use social media and use it productively, to connect with family and friends, not to spread hate and fear.
To learn more about the dark world of data misuse sourced from social media, watch The Great Hack on Netflix.
Interesting media-related movies include:
- The Social Network, a dramatized background story on Facebook, available on Netflix or DVD and
- The Post, based on the true story of the Washington Post publishing classified documents about U.S involvement in the Vietnam War, available on Netflix or DVD.
Also check out the book, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier.
Key Interview Takeaways
- It's important to find trusted sources. The media has changed rapidly and now, it's common for journalists to seek quotes to fit their stories instead of telling a story that fits the quote. Be mindful of where information comes from and how statistics can be interpreted to fit a preconceived viewpoint.
- Learn to differentiate news and politics. A little disagreement is healthy, but in politics, those who disagree are too quickly labeled "idiots" and shut down. This then makes up a large portion of news headlines. It's vital to hear both sides of an argument.
- There's a difference between expertise and experience. Question the expertise and validity of a news source.
- Journalists don't write their own headlines. Headlines are often designed as 'clickbait' and may not accurately describe what the story is about. Studies show on average, people only read 19% of an article. This behavior results in missing a lot of the facts and forming opinions without considering the whole story. To be better informed, read the whole article.
- Transparency is important as it keeps authorities accountable, but the consequences of making information public must be considered. We need to weigh the public good and have responsible gatekeepers.
- Journalists should know both sides of an argument. Even if they are only printing one of those sides, their argument should at least address a counter stance.
- Never forget what's really important in your life. In a 24/7 news environment, you can always find something to distract your attention. Remember that 'big issues' will usually get smoothed out in the long run.
Connect With Chuck Jaffe
Chuck has followed the rich journalistic history of "comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable" in the financial services world. For a decade, he wrote the popular "Stupid Investment of the Week" column for MarketWatch.
Chuck is a past president of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, a group representing more than 3,000 business journalists nationwide, and he has long been an outspoken critic of the business media.