How to read the news

Here are some tips, as much to remind myself as anything else, on reading the news.

1. Major news outlets don’t pursue truth as their overriding goal. They’re selling a product.
2. Sources that promote a cause may be painstakingly honest yet still be blinded by their own aims.
3. The desire to please an influential source dampens critical thinking.
4. Be wary of stories that confirm your preconceptions.
5. Always check for two or more independent sources, and check if they really are independent.
6. Headlines are, as often as not, deceptive clickbait.
7. Paraphrases can be gross distortions. Look for actual quotations. But quotations can be gross distortions too.
8. Most reporters and editors know hardly anything about science.
9. Anonymous sources can be found to support anything.
10. On the Internet, stories can be rewritten in place without warning.

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