is to be counted on as a defender and advocate of a “vigilant and courageous” free press who speaks truth to power. To this end, we will be diligent in our cause to bring you real facts, to shine a light on real stories, and to direct you to some key resources you can use to take real action.
We will curate stories based primarily on the tenets set out in Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel’s excellent book “The Elements of Journalism”:
1. The first obligation is to the truth.
2. The first loyalty is to citizens.
3. Its essence is a discipline of verification.
4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
7. It must strive to keep the significant interesting and relevant.
8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.
9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.
10. Citizens, too, have rights and responsibilities when it comes to the news.
On equal footing, we will give light to the voices of real people and their real experiences from across this country and abroad.
What we are seeing…
First “impressions” matter. Whether they are in person, on the web, in print, or on television, studies have shown time and again that even when people are given fact(s), first impressions are hard to change. So when ‘alternative facts’ (aka lies) are delivered under the auspices of “news” and repeated over and over again (even inadvertently via direct quote of a ‘tweet’), they can ultimately have the desired effect. If you were paying close attention, you would have noticed that one of the chief complaints made by Kellyanne Conway during the infamous ‘alternative facts’ interview was about the 3,000 “impressions” another false claim had gotten. Conway’s concern was the power associated with mass repetition of a false impression.
We do not believe the wheel is being reinvented here. Purveyors in ‘alternative facts’ understand what the advertising/branding worlds have understood for decades, “impressions have impact”. What we are seeing is the use of data-driven advertising/branding techniques that target specific audiences with particular messages, all the while using a “free” format (the news) with traceable performance measures (polls). Knowledge of what is happening here is power.
What we are doing…
First things first – we are not a fact check site (there are already many awesome sites that do this very well). Our goal is to provide a platform where people can, with great confidence, read and share news from legitimate sources on important topics. While sharing legitimate sources of news is important, so is taking action. With this in mind, we have created action tools with the goal of inspiring people to step out from behind their computers and onto the front lines of peaceful democratic action. Whether it’s registering to vote, calling your congressperson or marching in the streets, our goal is to provide the resources that enable and empower. We will be dedicated to finding participatory Democracy in its many forms and connecting you…
Reach out to us…
…and for full transparency, my name is Karen McCulloch. It was @joyannreid’s tweet in reaction to the Kellyanne Conway interview on MTP that Sunday morning that drove me to godaddy.com to purchase the domain. Re-direction to the Psychology Today article about Gaslighting gave me an immediate voice (and was pretty awesome to watch anonymously). The ultimate goal of this next step (with my small but talented team) is to continue to add something of value to the conversation. That said, over the next couple of months, as the site comes into its own, you will see the changes happening live (we won’t take it offline) because like life, change happens in real time. Let us know what you think by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.