In High School and College, I remember being lectured time and time again about the importance of referencing ‘credible’ sources in our work.
Credibility is an odd thing. What actually makes something credible?
Well, according to wikipedia…
“Credibility comprises the objective and subjective components of the believability of a source or message.”
See what I did there, right?
I’m not so much tied up on Wikipedia, I’m thinking more about the sources where we get our news and information.
I’d like to think that a credible source is considered as such because the information is non-biased and based on independent research and validated facts.
In reality, there is high potential for influence due to sponsorship and philosophical agendas.
I feel for the social media companies right now as they are the targets of pressure to better scrutinize and restrict false information.
All it takes is a small amount of funding to establish a digital media outlet, create advertising and hire writers and on-screen personalities. The production seems ‘professional’. Does this mean that this media outlet is now credible?
I think not.
We have to remember that sensationalism sells. And the likes of CNN, Axios, New Republic, etc., have bastardized the concept of news. Cherry picking information and mixing in opinion.
So, who can you trust?
Don’t take anything at face value. Check the content to see if actual research is being referenced. Does the data seem to be manipulated or partial?
There are fact checking organizations out there. snopes.com is great!
Be skeptical. Restrain yourself from knee jerk reactions. Remember that most of the news out there is trying to play your emotions to drawl you in (and see their ads).
Think critically and keep searching for true ‘credibility’.