The WDP Project: Validation of sources

In today's post (which was supposed to be posted yesterday), I will be discussing the WDP, a project I have started with the goal of fostering honesty in goverment by holding our elected officials accountable for the claims they make. -TCR

One of the biggest problems facing the We Demand Proof project is the selection of valid sources of proof that most people can agree on. While I'm generally not keen on pointing fingers, in this case I believe it's necessary. The blame lay almost entirely at the feet of CNN. Yes, the one and only CNN. The Cable News Network is single-handedly responsible for creating the 24-hour news cycle. While CNN did not create the panel of pundits, a very old staple of news programming, they have come to abuse it, a disease that has infected all other news networks and broadcast to the point where panels have almost entirely replaced actual reporting.

Field work, in essence, has become a tool to collect questions for panel discussions.

That's not good because the panel discussion merely introduces a lot of noise to the stream of information without reporting actual news. The job of a panel participant is to speak for their particular group or organization, say things that support their unified planks, and act as a foil for their nemesis (is that the plural form?)  This gives the impression that smart people are talking about valid points, but it has become clear over the past nine years (I'm lining this up with the beginning of the first Obama administration) that the truth is an inconvenience. This is especially true for groups and organizations that have a lot to lose if an opposing viewpoint were adopted by the American people.

We are at the point now where the so-called President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump (you have no idea how much it hurts for me to type that), calls what little real news there remains "Fake News". Combine this with a climate supportive of hyercapitalism and disruptive technology affecting the bottom line of traditional news outlets, causing them to knee-jerk into a back-against-the-wall, self-preservation mode (and a billion other factors that I'm not actively ignoring, but just don't have room to go into), you've got news agencies that used to be honest, employing any means necessary to remain salient. We're obliviously diving headlong towards the madness of a facist state run by a corporate-leaning oligarchy.

But, we don't have to. 

While I'm not under the impression that we have a good old days when our elected leaders told us the truth, but there is a time in the not so recent past where we had some values and followed the rules to a degree, and it worked, mostly. Sure, there was plenty of corruption that we just didn't see (the Internet reveals all) but that's not where we are now. Right now, there is a strong need for actual truth instead of talking head pundits who get paid to appear, talking about everything from immigration to trade wars.

There's little to no substance in any of this because it's not news. It's just opinion, and no one person has the right answer to problems facing hundreds of millions of Americans. This is why we make our decisions as a country, but we do it through our elected officials and they people whom they appoint.

This is precisely why we need to know that are news agencies are gathering news in earnest and without bias. A news agencies sole job should be to provide all people living in America with information that informs our individual decisions and does not take sides. Sadly, few so-called "news agencies" actually produce real, unbiased news for our consumption. Instead, we get the panel discussions, a neverending cavalcade of opinion that isn't news.

I realize that this has begun to ramble a bit, so I'll wrap it up soon, after just one more thing; our plan.
  • We will only validate news agencies that produce straight news, such as the AP or UPI. Outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News do NOT qualify because they offer clear biases and devote 20% or more of their time pushing panel discussions and OP/ED material.
  • We will only validate resarch organizations which make 25% or less of their annual revenue from corporate sponsorships or donations. This will very likely include Pew Research and a few others like them.
  • We will only validate industry journals that adhere to strict scientific guidelines that are endorsed by other like journals and have a strict peer review process.
  • We will only validate studies and reports that are funded by long-standing endowments, the Federal and State governments, any validated organization that is endorsed by other validated organizations, or other funding sources that are above board and fully transparent. We may require additional validation in the form of 80% or greater positive reaction from others in the same industry or endeavor and/or multiple sources of peer review.
  • ANY study or report that receives 30% or more of its funding from corporate sources, regardless of additional validation, will NOT be awarded validation for use by the WDP. We do understand that there are corporate organizations that have been founded to provide funds for research and which is legitimate, but we need to draw the line somewhere.

As for anything else, I really don't know right now. Chip in, however, and help us grow, so we can help usher in an error of honesty and empathy for all humans on Spaceship Earth.