How to Find the Trustworthy Sources
You find them the way you find everything else, by doing your homework thoroughly and unhurriedly. There are a lot of sources out there who want to convince you to sign on to their agenda. How do you distinguish them from dispassionate, objective reporters?
A word of warning: The brief paragraph above is filled with quicksand and rip currents and the odd toothy beastie. It gives the impression of neutrality, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The first source who wants to convert you to his progressive, socialist agenda is me. As for “dispassionate, objective reporters,” being on the front lines of international war and political reporting, seeing death, destruction and injustice day after day does not tend to make a person “dispassionate.” If they’re proper human beings it makes them passionate.
That said, I don’t really hope to change many minds. Most minds are already made up. Still there’s hope in the long run. Max Planck, one of the world’s great physicists, is reported to have said:
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up familiar with it.”
While we’re on the subject of truth-seeking, I recently ran across this from James Clear, dropped this jewel on the path in a blog post on Elon Musk, :
“Be wary of the ideas you inherit. Old conventions and previous forms are often accepted without question and, once accepted, they set a boundary around creativity.”
The reporting of reliable, balanced professionals, though scrupulously objective, is still only “objective” from their own point of view, from the subjects they cover to their editorial treatment of them. What is the best we can hope for, then? For me it’s important that they be honest men and women of goodwill. Then I will listen to them and ultimately believe them. This is not a rapid process. I have to follow their work over a period of time and weigh up everything they say, every value judgment they make, every stand they take. Only then do I accord them my trust.
My List of Trustworthies
Robert Fisk, for me, is the ultimate Middle East source, but not only that. He has an acute sense of history, on which he has written books. From 1971-75 he covered Belfast for The Times.
Fisk, born in Kent, UK in 1946 and with a PhD in politics from Trinity College, Dublin, has lived and worked as a correspondent in the Arab world for 40 years and covered Lebanon, five Israeli invasions, the Iran-Iraq war, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Algerian civil war, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, the Bosnian and Kosovo wars, the American invasion and occupation of Iraq and the 2011 Arab revolutions. He has impeccable connections all over the Middle East and further afield. He currently is based in Beirut and reports for The Independent since 1989. He has written best-selling books on the Middle East, including Pity the Nation and The Great War for Civilisation.
by Christian Garland in the International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest
Noam Chomsky is a US political theorist and activist, and institute professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Besides his work in linguistics, Chomsky is internationally recognized as one of the most critically engaged public intellectuals alive today. Chomsky continues to be an unapologetic critic of both American foreign policy and its ambitions for geopolitical hegemony and the neoliberal turn of global capitalism, which he identifies in terms of class warfare waged from above against the needs and interests of the great majority.
Chomsky is also an incisive critic of the ideological role of the mainstream corporate mass media, which, he maintains, “manufactures consent” toward the desirability of capitalism and the political powers supportive of it.
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Coming soon: Whom Can We Trust?–2/3