Guide: How to Review Articles on Credder

Reviews are meant to clarify how an article lost or gained a reader’s trust. Each review serves as actionable feedback for the article’s author, outlet, and other news consumers.

How to Review

Step 1 — Trust Rating

Step 2 — General Reason

Step 3— Specific Reason (optional)

Step 4— Written Explanation (optional)

The following is a complete list of possible reviews. Each review option appears below its general reason and provides a definition of the term and an example sentence. The five general reasons are Credible, Illogical, Biased, Mistake, and Not Credible. The options listed below appear in the same order as on credder.com.

[Credible]

Investigative

Journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, such as serious crimes, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing. An investigative journalist may spend months or years researching and preparing a report.

Well Sourced

Journalism that includes expert sources and provides links to the source material for any information that is referenced.

Balanced

Journalism that includes multiple perspectives, preferably from all sides of an issue so that no side is favored in the coverage.

Great Context

Journalism that provides useful background information on the events that led to the story, as well as additional information on the who, what, when, where, and why of the story.

[Illogical]

Speculation

Arguing that a theory or hypothesis is true or false even though it cannot possibly be observed or tested by a physical experiment. These claims are often faith-based, and not founded on evidence or reason.

Example: “The world would be a much safer place today if the Egyptian pyramids had never been built.”

Generalization

Making assumptions about a whole group based on a sample that is usually too small to adequately reflect the whole group. This fallacy includes stereotypes about a group of people.

Example: “The school’s ski team is full of smokers. I’ll bet that all skiers and snowboarders are doing drugs.”

Appeal to Authority

The arguer tries to add strength to their argument by referencing a respected source or “authority”. The goal is to win the argument by referring to the authority’s position rather than actually addressing the claim.

Example: “Half of all humans should move to Mars because Elon Musk says being multi-planetary is important to protect the light of consciousness.”

Anecdotal Evidence

Using personal experience or an isolated example as evidence in a claim. These arguments are especially problematic when you consider how often eye-witness testimonies are proven wrong. Anecdotal Evidence is often used as a substitute for actual data and evidence.

Example: “My grandfather ate plastic all the time and he lived to be 97 years old, so don’t believe everything you read about how plastic should never be eaten.”

Stacking the Deck

When evidence that supports the opposing argument is left out, rejected, or ignored. The technique is common in political news, advertising, propaganda, and when discussing controversial issues.

Example: “Climate change isn’t real because of X, Y, Z. There’s no reason to believe that climate change is real or that humans are a cause.”

Straw Man

The arguer sets up a weak or misrepresented version of the opponent’s position which they then try to attack. But just like knocking down a straw man (like a scarecrow), defeating a watered-down version of your opponent’s argument isn’t impressive.

Example: “Jared said we should spend more money on research and development, and David responded that he couldn’t believe that Jared wanted us all to take a pay cut.”

Slippery Slope

The arguer claims that something will cause a chain reaction, or snowball effect, which usually ends with a scary consequence. The arguer is saying that if we take even one step in that direction, we will slide down a “slippery slope”, unable to stop ourselves, ultimately landing at the bottom.

Example: “Eating raw fish is a bad idea. Next thing you know we’ll be eating all sorts of raw flesh and soon we’ll be like zombies trying to eat each other.”

Red Herring

Partway through an argument, the arguer brings up a side issue, distracting from and often never returning to the original claim.

Example: “Going camping is like asking for mosquito bites. It’d be much easier to just get a hotel.”

Moral Equivalency

This fallacy claims that the actions of A are morally equivalent to the actions of B, therefore A is just as good or bad as B, regardless of what the actual actions are.

Example: “Jenny had a beer before driving home. Roger had 15 beers before driving home and eventually getting in an accident. Roger and Jenny’s actions are just as bad because they both decided to drive after drinking beer.”

Emotion Appeal

Appealing to someone’s fear, envy, hatred, pity, pride, or other emotion. A valid argument can create an emotional response, but the fallacy is when the arguer plays on a particular emotion to win an argument without making a valid case.

Example: “When someone knocked on the door, Mickey warned me that it was probably a murderer. He convinced me to call the police on what turned out to be my Amazon delivery.”

False Dilemma

The arguer sets up the situation so it looks like there are only two choices. The arguer then eliminates one of the choices, making it seem that we are left with only one option. The remaining option is the one the arguer wanted all along, but there are usually other options not being taken into account.

Example: “The restaurant’s structure is in bad shape. Either we tear the place down, or we continue to risk our customers’ lives.”

Ad Hominum

The ad hominem (“against the person”) fallacy focuses our attention on people rather than on arguments or evidence.

Example: “You shouldn’t believe Connor because he’s left-handed.”

Correlation Without Causation

Assuming that because B comes after A, A must have caused B. Sometimes one event does cause another event to occur, but sometimes two events that seem related in time are not actually connected. When this is the case, there is a correlation, but not causation.

Examples: “My mom moved to Florida and now she can’t stop talking about Bitcoin.”

Begging The Question

Asks the reader to accept the conclusion without providing real evidence. The argument either relies on a premise that says the same thing as the conclusion or simply ignores an important assumption that the argument rests on.

Examples: “Shooting at the aliens before they kill all of us is the right thing to do. So we should attack the aliens as soon as we see them.”

Non Sequitur

Any argument that does not follow from the previous statements. The argument moves from A to B and then jumps to D, leaving out step C.

Example: ”Cooking your eggs with parmesan cheese makes the eggs taste amazing. Cooking brussels sprouts with parmesan cheese is also amazing. That’s why it’s wrong to use coconut oil when making a grilled cheese.”

Semantics

Switching between two or more meanings of a single word or phrase that is important to the argument.

Example: “The War on Drugs is a failure because new coffee shops keep popping up everywhere. They should be prosecuting those latte drinkers.”

Faulty Analogy

An argument that relies on an analogy between two or more things. If the things being compared aren’t similar in a way that properly applies to the claim, the analogy is weak or “faulty”.

Example: “Beating level 6 of PAC-MAN is like climbing Mount Everest. They both require coordination, focus, and breathing oxygen.”

Band Wagon

Appealing to popularity or the fact that many people do something as validation. The flaw is that the popularity of an idea has no bearing on its validity.

Example: “Of course eating dessert with every meal is healthy. Look at how many people do it.”

Dogmatism

When we assume or argue that a particular position is the only possible acceptable position. Dogma: prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group.

Example: “When we eventually decide to invade North Korea, a lot of people will die or be injured.”

This example assumes that there is no other possible future action besides an invasion of North Korea.

Failing Occam’s Razor

Occam’s Razor is the principle that, if two competing hypotheses deal with a single phenomenon, and they both generally reach the same conclusion, and they are both equally persuasive and convincing, and they both explain the problem or situation satisfactorily, the logician should always pick the less

complex one.

Example: You come home to find that your dog escaped from the garage and the couch has been ripped to shreds. You can hypothesize that: 1) The dog got out and chewed into the couch. Or 2) A burglar broke in, ripped up the couch, let the dog out, and then left while locking the door behind him. Both are technically possible, but the burglar is much less likely because it has so many more moving parts.

[Biased]

Pure Opinion

A pure opinion is a statement that cannot be proven true or false. Journalism that relies only on the opinion of the author is viewed as less credible. If an author provides sufficient evidence and sources to support their opinion, the piece can be viewed as credible.

Example: “I think Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will be president someday because U.S. politics is becoming a popularity contest.”

Racial Bias

Racial biases are a form of implicit bias, which refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect an individual’s understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

Example: “We are obviously the smartest race because our community has won the most Nobel Prizes.”

Religious Bias

Bias against individuals or issues on the basis of religion or belief.

Example: “Abortion is never acceptable because God says life occurs at conception.”

Hit Piece

An article that deliberately tries to make somebody/something look bad by presenting information about them that appears to be true and accurate but actually is not.

Example: “Bernie Sanders secretly doesn’t care about climate change because he flies on airplanes for work and airplanes are harmful to the environment.”

National Bias

A pre-existing cultural or political prejudice that makes it difficult to analyze situations dealing with a nation’s pride.

Example: “The strength of the United States is the reason the Nazi’s were defeated and it had nothing to do with Russia’s military sacrifice.”

Financial Incentive

A financial incentive motivates actions that otherwise might not occur without the monetary benefit. This could be seen in an article that promotes the author’s own product or company, or one that they are invested in.

Example: “Hi, I’m the CEO of Credder and I think we built the best way to find trusted news.”

Non Sequitur

A conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement.

Example: “This year’s presidential election is going to be wild because the Desperate Housewives reruns are on every night at 6 pm.”

Political Agenda

A political incentive that motivates actions that otherwise might not occur without the political benefit. This could be seen in an article that promotes a particular political party or outcome that would be beneficial to the article’s author.

Example: “As the newest intern for George Washington’s campaign, I believe it’s important that everyone vote for Mr. Washington and donate as much money to the campaign as possible.”

Gender Bias

Gender bias is the tendency to prefer one gender over another gender.

Example: “If a woman became president, there’d be no more wars and everything would be perfect.”

[Mistake]

Misused Image/Video

This is when an article accidentally or intentionally uses an incorrect image or video in an article. This can be done by accident when an author uses visual material from a different news story or can be done intentionally to misrepresent a news story.

Example: If an article about a recent protest shows images of buildings on fire even though the images are from an entirely different event.

Misused Term

A misused term is when an article uses the wrong word or definition when describing something within the article.

Example: “They are a communist country because they give citizens tax-payer funded healthcare.”

Factual Error

When an article misrepresents or presents provably incorrect facts, whether accidentally or intentionally.

Example: “Planet Earth is enormous at roughly the size of 10 football fields.”

Study Misinterpreted

When an article references a scientific study and either intentionally or unintentionally misrepresents the study’s findings.

Example: “The new scientific study on the emotional benefits of having a dog proves that aliens exist.”

Science Misrepresented

Similar to ‘Study Misninterpreted’, this is when an article references a scientific theory or fact and either intentionally or unintentionally misrepresents the science.

Example: “The cause of the airplane crash is obvious. It must have been gravity because gravity makes all things come crashing down, no matter the object’s speed or aerodynamics.”

[Not Credible]

Satire

The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Lack of Reliable Sources

When an article presents too few sources or too few reliable sources as supporting evidence.

Surface Level

When an article only speaks broadly or vaguely about the topic it is covering, providing little to no new information.

Sensational

Presenting information in a way that is intended to provoke public interest and excitement, at the expense of accuracy.

If you found this guide helpful, think it can be improved, or have any additional questions, please email our CEO Chase Palmieri at chase@credder.com. Thanks!

Accelerating the news industry’s shift from clicks to #credibility. The news review site at Credder.com.