With the highly charged election nearly behind us (as soon as Donald Trump is willing to admit defeat and behave like a grown-up) it might be easy to forget that we are living in times where what is true and what is false is being made more difficult to discern.
The current President of the United States routinely makes false statements. This has become so common, in fact, that we have started to become inured to it. Of course, politicians have always bent the truth (and that should make us pause to wonder why politicians treat us with so little respect), but there is a difference between claiming that the last four years were great, and specifically lying about the causes of crime, of climate change, about the results of elections, and about whether one is a religious person or not.
Why am I rehashing this? Well, I think it’s sometimes helpful to know where we can get truth from, and how to avoid falling into the two main traps:
- Reading resources that are deliberately biased and/or false; and
- Hanging out in an echo chamber where only opinions that reflect ones own are heard.
So without further ado, here are the media resources I recommend to ensure a wide perspective of views, while also retaining truth:
- The Guardian: theguardian.com
- Al Jazeera: aljazeera.com
- BBC: bbc.com/news
- Reuters: reuters.com
- NPR: npr.org/sections/news/
I have given an explanation for each one, below.
The Guardian is mildly left leaning and sometimes allows opinion columns from people who have a screw loose, but their articles are well researched, evidence-based, and have a global perspective.
The global perspective is important. Watching CNN or ABC News, for example, you will sometimes hear sentences like this:
A hot air balloon crashed today with all eight people on-board killed. There were no Americans.
What a horrific reflection of the notion that America-is-best, this is. Humans are all created equal, not just Americans, and the idea that we can report on one nationality because we just happen to be watching the news here is – or should be – shocking.
Al Jazeera, like the Guardian, is a non-American news source, but like the Guardian, it aims to provide truth worldwide, to a global audience.
While the Guardian amends its reporting to reflect the location of the reader, Al Jazeera maintains a global perspective. And given that most of the wars in the world are happening in former colonies, not among former colonizers, it should strike us as odd that the EU and the USA gain most of the attention of the likes of the BBC, CNN, Fox News, and the Washington Post.
BBC / Reuters
The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is UK government owned, but is operationally independent. Both organizations are world renowned for their independent and unbiased coverage.
The BBC, like all British broadcasters, is legally obliged to be unbiased.
NPR (National Public Radio) is a non-profit based in the USA. As with the BBC, there has been some minor criticism of bias, from both sides of the traditional political spectrum, but overall, they are reasonably consistently unbiased in their reporting.