Over the past several months, it has become clear that not only is “fake news” a problem, but for-profit websites are exacerbating the problem by seeking page-views at the expense of accuracy, news outlets are regurgitating each others’ content without independent fact-checking, and even traditional news outlets are being pulled down to their level. Accuracy is overwhelmed by financial motives to publish first and be sensationalistic, and integrity is overwhelmed by partisan motives to use facts selectively and push self-serving narratives. None of this is healthy. There are still a few bright spots, such as Reuters, but these are exceptions.
This blog will therefore seek to provide detailed, content-rich analysis of newsworthy topics. Sometimes this will include fact-checking claims being circulated by the media, including social media. All of this will be done with a rigorous code of ethics:
- Review the facts, then draw conclusions, not the other way around. (No responsible news outlet begins with a partisan slant. On the other hand, factual analysis of a given topic will, in the end, sometimes turn out to support the views of one person or party.)
- Don’t cherry-pick facts. (Facts should never be selectively tailored to support a misleading conclusion, nor should messy data be selectively tailored for the sake of neatness.)
- Cite credible sources that readers can independently verify. (Wikipedia and its derivatives are never valid sources. Neither is a person whose statements have not been corroborated through other means; just because “an unnamed official” says something does not mean it is true, nor does it mean the person has the access he or she claims to have, nor does it allow readers to verify the reporting.)
- Invite constructive discussion. (Constructive discussion does not include spam, off-topic comments, abusive language, or rejecting credible sources without citing other credible sources.)
- Make corrections if needed. (This should be a rarity; unlike “iterative journalism,” we try to get it right the first time. Updates, reflecting events after an article went to press, will be noted at the bottom of any article.)
- Err on the side of comprehensiveness. (Our goal is not to be punchy and capture clicks; it is to be thorough and factual. We do not accept advertising, so we have no incentive to place sensationalism ahead of facts.)
- Encourage information-sharing. (Many outlets are unable or unwilling to do their own research. If you would like to cite any of Quiznox’s data in your own news article, blog, or social media post, you are welcome to do so because it promotes the spread of factually accurate information; in keeping with standard ethics and common courtesy, we ask that you cite us as your source and, if appropriate, provide a hyperlink to us. Do not plagiarize.)
- Recognize that the burden of proof is on the person making an assertion. (The null hypothesis does not require evidence. However, claiming that something has never happened before is an assertion requiring evidence; this is not the null hypothesis.)
We invite you to join us in this noble experiment. Thank you for visiting Quiznox.com, and please spread the word.