Navigating Information Overload

There are no doubts. Americans are bombarded with political news.

President Donald Trump has sought to control his own narrative using Twitter. There he shouts out his latest feelings about anything that strikes his fancy, and as a result, the world turns to follow his train of thought. In the past, I refused to follow that train because his “information” is typically misleading and/or unsubstantiated. It isn’t news. It is a stage on which he performs. However, I changed my mind. Over time, I realized he was using Twitter to announce policy positions, firing decisions, and other governing roles that are typically handled less publicly. Now I follow and analyze his tweets. You will find those analyses in the Category “Trump Tweets”.

Other voices shout to be heard, too. There are political parties, organizations and think tanks who jump into the media arena to get their messages into the public realm.

Social media platforms have enabled individuals to jump into the mix – and oh what fun that is!

And lastly, there is the indisputable activity of Russian operatives and ‘bots. ‘Bots are small pieces of code that generally operate on if/then actions. If something includes word X, automatically reply with message Y. And there are other things related to the Russian incursion into our national conversations, but I’ll leave that discussion for another day in another post.

So – in the middle of the crazy – there are several news sources I rely upon for information. I consider these sources to be less laden with biases than other sources, and I trust that they are providing information that, to the best of their knowledge, is correct information.

Tap here to see my favorite news sources.

Also, when processing news information, and considering the implications, I rely on a couple of great minds to guide my reactions. I can find their ideas in written documents, as can you. Tap here to check out those ideas.

How does one evaluate the quality of their news sources? Ask the famous questions. Does the article tell you “Who? – What? – When? – Where?”

Those are the fundamentals of any news story. The potential for bias enters if, or when, questions like “Why and/or How?” try to be answered by the news source. Another doorway to bias is opened when asking about who is paying for what to get the story into the public realm. That’s an issue area worthy of a separate post, too.

Provided online by the Global Digital Citizen Foundation – there is a useful tool made available by them: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Critical Thinking Skills.

Regularly practicing these skills will foster less reliance on others to determine what is, or is not, “fake news”.

Thank you for joining me as I add my voice to the many discussions surrounding American Politics today. These are days where history is being made. And if we are wise and honest, we will find ourselves in a safer America tomorrow.

All the best,

Nancy Langley,
Author and Owner of Policy Choices Blog

First Published 15 July 2018
Edited 01 December 2018