Where to go for quality national news

In the 12 March 2021 issue of the North Kitsap Herald, opinion writer Don Brunell made the sweeping claim that “unfortunately, it is not the mainstream or social media” where Americans can go for “honest reliable and accurate information.”
     Given that the mainstream media and social media encompass so much—and given that I’ve read many well-researched and well-written news articles, often supported by interviews with experts—I knew that Brunell’s claim was overly simplified. Just because misinformation is now easy to distribute widely does not mean that good news sources suddenly vanished. But it raised for me the question: Are news sources rated per standards of professional journalism?  Or, to rephrase Brunell’s important question: Where can Americans go for quality national news?
     National news media is rated in the Media Bias Chart at https://www.adfontesmedia.com/. Ad Fontes Media describes itself as a “public benefit corporation with a mission to make news consumers smarter and news media better.”
     Media are assessed for whether they present facts well, perform complex analysis, and are reliable, or if they instead mostly distribute opinions or show a high variation in reliability. Low on the chart are those media in the selective, incomplete, unfair, persuasion, and propaganda categories, and at the base of the chart are those characterized by inaccuracy or fabrication.
     Some media both report facts well and are unbiased (or present a balance of biases). Others do good fact reporting but are minimally to the political right or left, and some are clearly skewed right or left. But those tendencies are identified.
     The distribution of ratings on the chart resembles a mountain peak. When looking at the top third of the peak, you’ll find that a good number of quality national-news media are available to us.
     We’re awash in information and misinformation, which makes it incumbent for us to know how our news sources rate in terms of reliability and bias. We do have sources of quality national news, irrespective of sweeping but inaccurate comments that they no longer exist. The Media Bias Chart helps us in our important responsibility to identify them.

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