Forbes published a list this week identifying the journalistic brands that we should trust to give us just the facts, rather than those that try to bamboozle us with “alternative facts” and odd interpretations.
It’s a repeat of an old article that Forbes resurfaced for this modern day.
Now, we here at Accuracy in Media are fine with that idea of unbiased reporting – it’s rather the thing we’re here to support and what we’re here to report upon when it doesn’t happen. For we’re with the Founding Fathers, that free press idea is an essential part of maintaining democracy and freedom. But we would point out that a list of unbiased sources should be a list of unbiased sources. Which is not what we get.
On the list are the BBC and The Economist – as anyone who knows the British media would point out they’re not unbiased in the slightest. Their bias may be middle of the road, establishment, but it’s there and it most definitely shades their reporting. But that’s foreign – top of the list for unbiased attention to facts is the New York Times.
Well, yes….we’ve had our arguments about that. For example, the Times pretty much smeared Elon Musk because he grew up in South Africa – therefore he couldn’t know what free speech really means. Or more basic facts, the NYT simply doesn’t understand the effects of imports on GDP and the size of the economy. Or the NYT not understanding how coal works – pretty odd, given that coal burning in volume is a few centuries old by now.
We can also look at the first place on the runners-up list, NPR. And note that NPR seems to think food deserts cause mass shootings. Or the time NPR used an interested participant in a debate as an independent expert. Or even NPR placing a definite spin on an opinion poll finding.
And do note, these are just the instances that we’ve noted and we’ll plead entirely guilty to not being omniscient nor all-knowing.
Forbes itself ranks as No. 19 in U.S. news and media outlets. It gains some 102 million visits a month from that position. It’s an important part of the media landscape, especially for business news.
But this list shows the problem with accuracy in that media. Here we have the listing of those sites which meet that supposed standard of accuracy – yet they don’t, in fact, meet any proper standard of such accuracy. Which is one of the problems in itself. Those major outlets are all congratulating, referring, to each other as unbiased and accurate without there being any actual reference to outside the circle and to that reality of true facts. The claim is to accurate descriptions of the real world but the truth is accuracy to the groupthink of the journalistic classes – not the same thing at all.