How to Assess the News You’re Being Fed: Principal Or Ploy?


Where do you get your news? If you are getting most of your “intel”  from CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSN, Fox News … or the like – whether on TV or the web – remember that those messages are bought and paid for – literally. Many news segments are no different than ads, except that many people believe that they are different.

Most of the messages that U.S. citizens see and hear (i.e. are spoon-fed) are geared to control and “bend” the masses – toward fear, toward consumerism – to sway public opinion and behaviors. The same goes for what is NOT said in the media …perhaps, even moreso.

Have you read an article recently from an International News Bureau that hasn’t been covered by the mainstream U.S. networks? Or, a message that the mainstream “news” has covered only briefly – as a C.Y.A ? Or, an article they have “dumbed down” or downplayed? Chances are that you have a real piece of news there.

Look for the “writing between the lines” – not just what’s said. Consider the motives and the possible “clients” of each news piece or news segment?  Which companies and politicians will gain money and/or power if citizens were to listen to and believe what’s broadcast and/or written?

As an “independent online journalist,” it takes some time and effort to find the real scoop. It takes looking in other places (alternative news sources) and then comparing those stories with what the mainstream media says, and making one’s own judgments accordingly.

Ten Investigative Research Tips for Internet News Gathering

Specifically, you might consider:

1. Asking yourself: Are they (the mainstream media) even covering a particular news event?

(Who would not want the story to come out?) – Example: Riots at the G-20 conference in Pittsburg, PA earlier this year

2. Asking yourself: Are they downplaying a story, or making someone who’s standing up look like a “crazy person” or ‘stupid”?

Are they calling something a “conspiracy theory”? If so, who is being set up? Who/what is being protected? – Example – Randy Quaid and his wife

3. Asking yourself: Does the mainstream media outlet – the corporation – wait to cover a story, or delay announcing it? If so, there is some reason.  Otherwise, they could have a “breaking news” item on the web  in less than 5 minutes. Who is delaying the news? Who is coming up with a strategy first, before releasing it? Who needs to be consulted first – inside or outside the news organization – before a story is run?

4. Asking yourself: How would “spinning” a story a certain way protect the political and financial interests of the mainstream news organization?

News anchors are hired actors. Period. They get paid for reading the news, not creating or agreeing with it. Most “mainstream” journalists are hired writers. They get paid to write a story the way the media outlet wishes them to write it, not to investigate it. (Been there,  done that. No thanks.)

Many times, in corporate media today, no more than one or two sources are included in a news story, and then only those that are P.C. (politically correct) to include. Whatever happened to real journalism? To having three or more sources for each story, and always trying to include the most compelling counterpoints – on every issue? That is not always advantageous anymore, so often it’s not followed. Today, the angle of a story is often more important than getting to or telling the truth.

Looking at “information” (“news”) in a new way

If there’s an issue that you want to do a little investigative reporting on your own … I’d suggest looking at non-U.S. and alternative news sites — and comparing what you see there with what the mainstream U.S. organizations are dishing out that day.

Regardless, whoever is reporting the news should “show their work.” They should give you the sources they used within the news article – the “evidence.” Look a little deeper to  discover the agenda – what is it? And, who’s setting it?

5. Setting up “Google Email Alerts” – so that you’ll get an email when various keywords (that you choose and control) are mentioned in news stories online.

6. Subscribing to RSS news feeds – to get news delivered automatically from some of the reputable alternative news organizations (see list below). Compare these stories to what you see on the evening news, or on evening radio reports.

7. Looking at the news coming out of consumer and trade associations – that state outright who they are lobbying for – and then comparing their stories against the mainstream media’s angle on the same story.

8. Going directly to government web sites (and see what the “official word” is) vs. what is reported in the media, and when it’s reported. Keep a tab, for example, on the Executive Orders page of the White House web site. – What are the Executive Orders that the President is enacting each month – with little or no media coverage?

9. Seeing what “citizen journalists” – regular folks – are saying on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. Look at the photos they are putting up. — Do these firsthand accounts match what the mainstream media is pitching?

(Other fun new media experiments: a) Watch how the images (photos) on Google change, are cropped, or deleted – i.e. “censored”. b) Look and see which images have been determined as “okay” or “not okay” for the public to see (for example – how many actual front line war scenes have we seen in recent years?) c) Look to see which portions of the map on Google Earth are blacked out. Why? d)  Notice how certain files on  web sites mysteriously disappear. Why?)

10. Prepare to be dismayed – Face it. Much of the information presented as “news” is pure disinformation – from one organization or another. Just know that from the onset, and you won’t be daunted.

Example: Background information on Julian Assange and the Wikileaks controversy.

A Sampling of Alternative News Sources: Do You Own Research

Shining the Light: For your benefit, here is a sampling of some of the alternative news sources (which offer text articles and videos) that you might wish to consult, follow, and compare as you try your hand at a little activist journalism of your own:

Also refer to the “Links” section of this web site for other alternative news sources. (See Right hand column of home page.)


The View From Above – Taking Responsibility —>It’s up to each individual to look and discover what’s real in this world, and what he/she is willing to stand up for.