This post was originally written by Eric Burlingame on December 15, 2016. It was updated on March, 31, 2017. This post is about 4,100 words and takes about 27-30 minutes to read.
Welcome back to truthful blog central at Inception Publishing! This post is part one of an extensive two part series that was originally published last December for our supporters on Patreon, but I’ve updated it just for you! So congratulations for being in a position to get the inside scoop on the truth about the facts!
Speaking of scoops, this post is one in a series of Truth Value Reports, which are focused on revealing the energetic and informational realities behind important media and content in our lives. This report takes on the issue of the relative value of news outlets. So called, “fake news,” is a hot topic lately. This popular term got me to thinking about whether all you good people were aware of the truthfulness or factualness of the primary ‘real news’ sources that most of us encounter daily. Given that I always want to be providing you with useful, actionable information in these posts, I thought I’d assess the current state of popular news outlets, and let you know what I discovered with the energetic research tool, Coherence Verification.
(For even more information on Coherence Verification than you can find on this site, you can read The Inceptional Field Guide: A Quick-Start Manual for Coherence Verification, which is the $5 Patreon reward.)
A quick note for those of you new to my work. I can get a little dry sometimes in service to accuracy. I try to keep the content tight and entertaining, while still being eminently useful, and thoroughly enlightening. This is a balancing act though, so forgive me if there are complex moments, and have fun with me in the irreverent bits. I strongly suggest giving this, and probably all of my writing, a light read once through, and then return to it after a day or so later for a more thorough read. Also, feel free to comment or ask questions. If you have a question, there’s a good chance someone else has the same one. So, speak up, and remember that part of what Inception Publishing is all about right now is creating community. Thank you, and enjoy!
The Truth Value Scale-A Quickie Primer
There are a wide variety of applications in the energetic verification of facts and truth. The methods of truth verification I have shown in The Inceptional Field Guide are going to provide you with an enormous amount of useful information and awareness if you are feeling uncontrollably excited about this work and want to learn more about it. There is much more to the truth verification process though. I have discovered a method of verifying the relative truth value of any statement or piece of information, whether it be a single sentence, or an entire book. I will be showing you how to use that system in a future book and online training course. However, here is an advanced peek at what I like to call the, “Truth Value Scale.”
The Truth Value Scale is a simple measurement ‘device’ that can be used in conjunction with Coherence Verifications to gauge relative truth value, or, if you will, it’s like a truth thermometer. Truth Value can be measured because, within the Universe (which is everything that can be said to exist, including information energy), an Absolute Truth has absolute energetic coherence, which means it can be confirmed independently by anyone, at any time, and it will always be true. Any concept with less than absolute coherence can be compared to an Absolute Truth by degrees of differentiation. Degrees of differentiation are defined by a combination of the quality of correctness or incorrectness of a statement, with the clarity of the intention of the person that created the information content being verified.
Another way to understand this is that a purposeful lie will always have a greater differentiation from Absolute Truth than an ignorantly constructed theory or mistake. These degrees of differentiation can be translated into whole numbers, or for the sake of clarity in the case of the Truth Value Scale, percentage points. The Truth Value Scale is broken down by 10% increments from 0-100%. A statement or idea that is tested to be at 0-20% on the scale has absolutely no value or truth to it, and is in fact, so counterproductive that it can become lethal if believed and adhered to. Conversely, a statement or idea testing at 100% on the scale, is fully representative of Absolute Truth at all times, and in all situations. All ideas, statements, concepts, theories, speech and text will fall somewhere on this scale, and can be confirmed by Coherence Verifications.
Simply stated, anyone can now learn whether a piece of information is a little true, completely true, factual, or totally without merit. This is the new frontier of information technology. Below is a breakdown of the Truth Value Scale we’ll be using to evaluate the quality of the “news” that is being produced for public consumption by cable news outlets.
Truth Value key for information from a “news” source:
0-10%: This is the range that is absolutely devoid of any truthfulness, and seeming information in this range has been manufactured to only be lies that are intended to hurt, or even be lethal. This is a range where the source of the so-called “information” is fully intending to destroy those that consume the information, although those consuming the information may ignorantly repeat it. If that sounds like the description of a purposeful poisoning, that is because it is. There is only destructiveness at this level. An example of a common idea that is in this range is, “Everyone has their own truth,” (5.6%).
11-20%: In this range we typically see truthless and destructive fallacies. Unfortunately, many commonly accepted ideas are in this range. It is common for humans to have significant limitations (based on some brain function factors, and generally poor education) in the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehoods. Humans regularly engage in fallacious thinking at all levels of society and education, and so, it is quite common to see ideas in this range. No information in this range has any value whatsoever, regardless of how broadly accepted. An example of a common belief in this range is, “Knowledge is power,” (16%). Note that the statement, “Knowledge is potential power,” is 56% Truth Value.
21-30%: In this little nest of horrors we see purposefully distorted facts. In other words, someone has purposefully taken a piece of factual information and contorted it to fit their agenda, tweaked it to get what they want, or completely twisted it in some way that makes them or their belief system seem right. The amount of supposed news in this range is significant. This is also the energetic range where most conspiracy theories come from, and where many of the religious and social theories that have yielded the most damaging results verify within. An example of a historical statement that is in this range is, “It is not the truth that matters, but victory,” (21.6%, attributed to Adolph Hitler).
31-40%: Here’s where you’ll find most of your current news programs. This is the range of unconsciously or ignorantly distorted facts. This is the zone of the misunderstanding of information or facts, but that is often masked as analysis and expertise. Much broadcast news ends up in this range because stories are so severely condensed that they often are devoid of context, and so there is little understanding possible. Please be clear that this kind of ignorance and misunderstanding is perpetuated because this is the kind of supposed informational exchange that most humans are regularly participating in. Stated differently, people are so accustomed to hyphenating stories, and cherry-picking what facts and figures they prefer, that they barely notice it when a news program or newspaper article is doing the same to them. For example, at the moment, about 46% of the current members of the United States Congress spend nearly all of their conscious time in this grossly limited state of misunderstanding and distortion. An example of a statement that is in this range is, “If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject.” (32.7%, attributed to Ayn Rand. A shout out to House Speaker Paul Ryan who aggressively and ignorantly espouses a Randian world view.)
41-50%: Partly, or situationally accurate facts and information generally show up in this range. This is the realm of almost factual content. Needless to say, this is also a very common range when evaluating information for truthfulness. In this range you’ll also find mistakes, some forms of flawed logic, and inaccurate extrapolations. Many scientific theories fall into this range, as well as a mountain of self-help materials. An example of a common theory that is in this range is, “For every observable event, there is an identifiable cause,” (45.8%, This is the supposed ‘law’ of cause and effect).
51-60%: This range includes accurately reported facts and stories, mostly or entirely free of editorial modifications or bias. Objectivity and validation can be expected at this level. This is a, “Just the facts, ma’am,” range; and, likely the one we often assume a news organization to be in. Basically, when the facts are correct and within appropriate context, the information being verified will be in the 50% range. An example of an idea that is in this range is, “The viewing of a murder in a television show or film can be damaging to the human brain,” (53%).
61-70%: At this level we are moving into complex and accurate information that has some group, or situationally specific value. This is basically truthful information, but not generalizable because it is tied to particular scenarios or groups. Suffice it to say that any information in this range needs to be evaluated starting with the question, “Is this relevant to activities or situations that I participate in, or understand?” An example of a statement that is in this range is, “Better to do a good deed near at home, than go far away to burn incense,” (62%, attributed to Amelia Earhart).
71-80%: Now we are reaching the realm of essential human value. This is information that is applicable in some way to us all, and rises well above the status of mere platitudes. This is often valuable, actionable information that will nearly always yield benefit to the person acting on it. An example of a well known statement that is in this range is, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent,” (73%, attributed to Thomas Jefferson).
81-90%: This is the range of what most of us would consider to be spiritual truths, in that, any information in or above this level is not only universally applicable, but is also regarding more than just our common experience. While news content is not typically in this quality level, it does happen that some reporting can stumble upon some content in this Truth Value range from time to time. An example of a famous statement that is in this range is, “Half a truth is often a great lie,” (83%, attributed to Benjamin Franklin).
91-100%: This is the domain of complete Truth. In other words, you can take anything in this range to the bank, every time. There are no significant inaccuracies in this range whatsoever, other than the minor limitations of language itself. Needless to say, you aren’t going to get much ‘news’ at this level. An example of a common statement that is in this range is, “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act,” (93%, Attributed to George Orwell).
Truth Value Verification Results
OK, you’ve survived the quickie Truth Value education. Excellent work! Now we are getting down to the assessment results that you are most interested in. Each section below has two parts. First is the actual Truth Value verification results. Second, is a short contextualization and explanation of those results. You will probably want to bounce between my summation of the results, and the Truth Value Scale key above to fully clarify the results for yourself. I am focusing this report on cable news networks because they are devoted primarily to news content, and thus, require the greatest scrutiny.
Truth Value by time frame
Verification 1. Truth Value (collectively) of all news broadcasts, and news discussion segments televised during the period 11/9/16 - 12/9/16 for the following networks:
- Fox News: = 43%. Fox is delivering part of the story to present information in the light they prefer, while not overtly distorting information.
- CNN: = 36%. CNN, like many news outlets, has mastered the art of so thoroughly condensing each reported event down to the basic headlines, that the information they do present is effectively distorted. Without context, content is without essential value.
- MSNBC: = 57%. The reporting here pushes into the upper ranges of factualness, and there is likely some context provided for most reports. This 57% percent Truth Value also indicates that they have a high confirmation standard for the information they broadcast. In other words, they prefer to only present information that can be objectively confirmed, or else, thoroughly corroborated.
Verification 2. Truth Value (collectively) of all news broadcasts, and discussion segments televised during the period 9/1/16 - 11/9/16 for the following networks:
- Fox News: = 41%. In this sixty plus day range we can now begin to see that Fox (as well as CNN and MSNBC) have a standard that they tend to adhere to. In this pre-presidential election period there is a drop of two percent though, which indicates they were relying even more heavily on opinion, and were nearly free of pure fact.
- CNN: = 37%. Little deviation from above. They have a standard of presenting context free or distorted information, and they are sticking to it, by gosh!
- MSNBC: = 57%. MSNBC plugs along with their standard too, but it is based in fact. It appears that at least a few people are taking this journalism thing seriously.
Verification 3. Truth Value (collectively) of all news broadcasts, and discussion segments televised during the period 1/1/16 - 8/30/16 for the following networks:
- Fox News: = 37%. With a nine month view, there still aren’t big shifts. However, we can see lowered numbers at Fox. Many explanations could be given for this, but I can’t help thinking that the departure of Roger Ailes (the guy that basically built Fox into the pretend news organization it is now) in late July had something to do with the distinctive increase in an orientation to facts, albeit limited.
- CNN: = 41%. CNN is still kind of scraping the bottom edge of “newsiness” here, but it is likely that they attempted greater objectivity before the final days of the presidential campaign, and then just went for more sensationalism near election day.
- MSNBC: = 60%. Once a news outlet starts hitting the 60% range, we know they are definitely attempting to make their content valuable to the consumer. There’s no doubt that MSNBC also got into more of the Trump oriented sensationalism closer to the election, but for the first nine months of the year they were more likely to supersede facts, and even venture into content that had significant value.
Verification 4. Truth Value (collectively) of all news broadcasts, and discussion segments televised during the period 1/1/17 - 3/30/17 for the following networks:
- Fox News: = 32%. Recently the two broadcast personalities on Fox with the highest consciousness levels (which I verified), Greta Van Susteren and Megyn Kelly, departed Fox for jobs elsewhere. The effect of this change is seen immediately in the continued drop of Truth Value in the Fox content. Below the 35% threshold, you enter into the realm of consistent conscious distortion of nearly all facts. In other words, prior to this year we could see glimpses of factuality in Fox broadcasts, but those are now virtually gone.
- CNN: = 43%. CNN appears to be on an upward trend of late, and that’s encouraging. However, they still have yet to move above the level of basic factuality. They cannot seem to remove sufficient amounts of opinion, redirection, emotionalizing, and hyperbole to reach the critical 50% fact floor.
- MSNBC: = 61%. MSNBC is also in an upward trend, likely spurred on by the obvious need to deliver concrete and contextualized content in an era when virtually all content coming from the Trump administration and the Republican party, is patently false and manipulative. The 60-65% range is the kind of content necessary for Americans to be informed citizens.
Summary of general results:
There are a few truths to glean from these date constrained verifications. First, you can see that each organization tends to function within a standard range. Fox spends an enormous amount of energy on interpreting facts in such a way that it generates misunderstanding. CNN trends in this direction as well, although there is a distinctive, albeit minor, flip in the numbers when we look at the pre-presidential election period versus the post-election period.
That being said, neither CNN or Fox is regularly reaching the minimum level of factuality on a regular basis, and so you are benefitted by disregarding both as legitimate sources of fact based reporting. In short, both organizations have a general bias, and present content with so little context, that they drastically color their reporting to such an extent they cannot be relied upon to be truthful at all.
MSNBC manages to stay in the factual zone, which is where we’d prefer our news organizations to be. Notice that in the first few months of this year they actually exceed the 60% range, which tends to indicate they prefer to provide context, as well as accurate content. For the first nine months of this year, they even manage to break the 60% mark, indicating a strong push towards providing information that has value for the public.
Truth Value highs and lows by individual program
Cable news is distinctive as a form of news presentation because each hour they present a ‘new show.’ This is meant to keep things lively, and offer various personalities for you to become acquainted with, and learn to value. If you don’t like one news anchor, don’t worry, there will be a different one on in a few minutes. You can always watch a rerun of Laverne & Shirley, and then click back to find the beautiful bombshell or grizzled old-timer of your choice.
Given this presentational habit, it made sense to discover what specific programs were of greatest value, and which ones were fundamentally counterproductive, or downright propagandist.
Verification 5. During the course of the calendar year 2016, the regular news broadcast segment with the highest consistent Truth Value was:
- Fox News: The Kelly File = 56%.
- CNN: State of the Union with Jake Tapper = 56%.
- MSNBC: MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall = 62%
Verification 6. During the course of the calendar year 2016, the regular news broadcast segment with the lowest consistent Truth Value was:
- Fox News: Shephard Smith Reporting = 36%
- CNN: Vital Signs with Dr. Sanjay Gupta = 33%
- MSNBC: Hardball with Chris Matthews = 46%
Summary of program verifications:
For Fox News, The Kelly File (Megyn Kelly’s former segment of the regular Fox line up) is rating as consistently factual, which is in drastic contrast to her colleague Shephard Smith’s program, that doesn’t ever reach into even basic fact. If you are curious to perform your own assessment of these two programs you would want to simply watch segments from each show on the same day, back to back. Doing so, even without the aid of Coherence Verification, would easily result in a clear distinction between a news presenter reaching for the facts, versus one that reduced the news of the day into nothing more than jingoism, and a context free, sensationalism.
Again, with CNN we see a sharp contrast between Jake Tapper’s reach for the facts, and a supposed medical expert’s spin on a scientific viewpoint. Put differently, you can rely upon the bulk of what Tapper is reporting, and you probably shouldn’t pay the least bit of attention to (medical doctor) Gupta’s suggestions, assertions, or assessments. Doing so could negatively impact your physical health. Yes, you are right, that is disconcerting that the scientist in the line up is your least reliable person.
Finally, MSNBC’s Hall and Matthews also have quite the gulf between them. That being said, Matthews tends towards an admitted and flagrant bias. In other words, at least you know where he’s coming from because he generally makes no attempt to hide his bias.
Hall’s reporting, which is part of a fairly straight forward news hour, reaches a surprising level of truthfulness for all televised news programs. The reason for this is her consistent effort (and that of her production colleagues I would presume) to link news and data to subject or scenario specific contexts. This is a valuable awareness. When anyone, whether on television or not, refuses the fallacious temptation to generalize, they are likely on the path to greater truthfulness.
This is a truth that we can all be mindful of: generalization as a mental habit is in the 30% Truth Value range, while relating information only to the contexts it applies to, is nearly always in the 60% range. We’d all do well to practice less generalization, and focus more on context.
2017 Update of programs
Some cable news line up changes have occurred in 2017. Because I know you are an intellectually demanding lot, I have verified the high and low Truth Values of current programs. Here is a summation:
Verification 7. During the course of the calendar year 2017, the regular news broadcast segment with the highest consistent Truth Value was:
- Fox News: Tucker Carlson Tonight = 41%.
- CNN: New Day = 46%.
- MSNBC: The Rachel Maddow Show = 65%
Verification 8. During the course of the calendar year 2017, the regular news broadcast segment with the lowest consistent Truth Value was:
- Fox News: The O’Reilly Factor = 31%
- CNN: The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer = 37%
- MSNBC: MTP Daily = 46%
Conclusions and Considerations:
Is any of this Truth Value Report mind blowing or mind changing? Not necessarily. You may have already had an inkling of an idea that much of cable news was problematic, at best. However, your fellow citizens of the world may not be as savvy as you, and so it bears noting that millions of folks are accepting truthless, and often virtually fact free content as, “the news.” Most have effectively been taught that if something looks factual, and it’s in a major publication or on a national program, it must be at least mostly true; but that just isn’t the case. When you combine that training with the reality that human beings are inherently limited when it comes to distinguishing between truthfulness and skewed content, you end up with millions believing so called, “fake news,” and making decisions in their lives based on the deceptions. This is the real challenge. You may not be running in the intellectual dark, but millions of your fellow citizens are. There is no doubt that this presents a variety of hazards, including the results of elections.
In the follow up to this somewhat depressing assessment of cable “news” outlets, I’ll be looking at other types of information delivery organizations including the three major network news broadcasts, some newspapers, and the ever-growing number of online only content creators.
Spoiler alert! I have found some bright spots amongst the otherwise grim world of those that are allegedly committed to presenting you, and all our friends and families, with the truth. It’s a virtually truthless world out there folks, but don’t despair because you, and all the Inceptional People along for this ride, are in the process of changing that! Next time, I am going to wrap up this two part series by recommending how you can contribute to the expansion of Truth, and thus, move us all one step closer to the kind of world I’m sure you’d prefer to experience.
Until next time, keep being Inceptional!