How to tell if you’re reading real news: A non-partisan proposal.

  • Do you find yourself agreeing with almost all of it? Does none of it challenge your assumptions about the world? Probably not real news. The chance you're right about everything is nil.
  • Do you find yourself agreeing with almost none of it? Does all of it seem inconsistent with your prior beliefs? Probably not real news. The chance you're wrong about everything is also nil.
  • Do you find yourself agreeing with some, but find your assumptions challenged in other parts? Do you have existing beliefs that support parts of it, but would need to change your mind or learn new things to support others? You’ve probably found real news. The chance you’re right about some things but not others is very high.

No one’s mental model is completely true; all human understanding is a simplification of the complexity of the real world. So if you’re not learning new things, you’re missing the point. Pick news sources that help you learn new things by connecting it to what you already know.


(Also, this is not a both-sides-have-a-case-the-truth-is-in-the-middle argument. Although there is propaganda for both sides of the partisan aisle, one side could rely on a wider array of sources than the other. Everyone is likely wrong about something; some can be wrong about more.)

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