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The Six Types of News

Contrary to popular myth, the fact that some story is "trending" on social media doesn't make it true. But as the 2016 presidential election made abundantly clear, this is lost on a considerable segment of the American public, and some guidelines are in order as to what separates so-called "fake news" and "alternative facts" from genuinely trustworthy information. Here is my own short, and somewhat colorful list of the different categories of news, ranging from trustworthy to outright BS.

1) Very Reliable

Claims can be independently verified from reputable sources including established mainstream news outlets with centrist or moderate political leanings [e.g. - NPR (Left) or the Wall Street Journal (Right)], governmental agencies, NGO's, academic institutions, & the like. Access to data, methods, & results are provided & have survived independent vetting by professionals in related fields. Where science is involved textbooks &/or published peer-reviewed research has been cited, & links to the abstracts &/or full-text content of the latter are available. All statistics &/or survey results are based on large, well-characterized samples & methods (N >= 1000, multi-variable, double-blind, etc.). Results are statistically significant & confidence intervals &/or variance coefficients have been provided.

2) Reliable

Claims are independently verifiable from one or more mainstream news outlets per the requirements in 1). Specifics regarding data, methods, & results aren't directly available but secondary sources are at least identified, if not fully cited.

3) Questionable

Claims are supported with partisan sources (Left or Right) at, or near the edge of moderate [e.g. - Huffington Post (Left) or Fox News (Right)]. Independent confirmation per 1) or 2) highly recommended. Otherwise, proceed with caution.

4) Unreliable

Claims are supported only with sources that;

  1. Are highly partisan (Left or Right) to a degree beyond reasonably moderate.

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