Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Who Do You Trust?

by Diana M. Taggart

Most of us place our trust in the journalists and news anchors to give us news untainted by their personal biases. We come to trust the men and women we see on our televisions each day…but is that trust justified? I was devastated to find out that Brian Williams “embellished” his life experiences. I had watched him almost nightly from the time he took over from Tom Brokaw. Now I had to wonder about the others I trusted.

Brian Williams Nightly News Replacement
Lester Holt Photo Courtesy of NBC News
I trust Lester Holt, NBC's replacement for Brian Williams - but will that trust be shown someday to be misplaced as well?

Now when I hear, read, or watch a news broadcast, there is a niggling doubt of the details. Any story that truly intrigues me must be checked through several sources – taking more time and effort to assure myself it is true. I am much more careful before believing those who are in the public view.

This year and next we will hear a great deal bout the candidates running for President of the United States. So far there have been prominent stories about Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and others. When a newscaster says that Joe Biden is considering entering the race, I wonder is he? What about all the qualified or otherwise other candidates? Do they have to have a certain number in the polls to be considered worthy of coverage? Do we trust the news media to give balanced coverage? Yahoo Politics' Birthright Citizenship is one place to get the candidates' opinions on one issue. We as informed citizens will have to search out information like this but we will have to ask ourselves – where did they get this information? Did they actually do the work or did they just make it up? It will be a question of trust…do we trust the source?

Although we have access to more information today than in years past, we have to know where to look for it. There are a plethora of news outlets on the internet, magazines, television, and in our workplaces. Where is the index for all of these information brokers?

Search engines on the internet have algorithms in place to finish (or attempt to finish) our search request. Who makes the decisions that the algorithms use? There is almost too much information “out there” for us to find. It would be very helpful if we could trust the information we come across, but – who do you trust?

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