Business,Media How to Tell if Media Content is Objective/Credible

How to Tell if Media Content is Objective/Credible


Recently Kevin Price, Host of the nationally syndicated Price of Business Show, interviewed David Dozier who is a leading media authority.

In a democracy, media consumers have a special responsibility to ensure that the media content that they believe is credible. Credibility rests on five basic principles. The first principle is accuracy. Does the information provider avoid mistakes? If a mistake is made, does the provider correct it? The second principle is expertise. Do providers know what they are talking about? Do they have the necessary knowledge relevant to the information provided? Scientists with expertise in one area does not mean they have expertise in another area. For example, a radiologist has no special expertise in epidemiology. Also, the scientific community encourages open debate about theories and research. So on any topic (climate change, for example) one can find some scientists who disagree with the consensus of the scientific community. The media-literate consumer checks the views of one expert against the views of others. The third principle is trustworthiness. A trustworthy source has no hidden persuasive agenda. Trustworthiness and expertise are intertwined. For example, scientists on climate change may be employed by a petroleum trade group or an oil company. They may have impressive credentials. But in the end, these experts have a hidden agenda to deny human impact (i.e., carbon dioxide from burning oil) as a major cause of climate change. When experts tell you something, check what might motivate those experts to say what they are saying. The fourth principle is clarity. When information is clearly explained, we tend to treat it as more credible. PR puffery is often unclear. In PR, vague and sometimes misleading information is called “smoke and mirrors.” A credible information source will make every effort to provide information that consumers can understand. If the information seems vague or overly complex, that usually means that the source doesn’t want to share the simple truth. In crisis communication, such as the BP oil spill on our southern coast, lawyers carefully manage public statements to avoid liability. If you want to communicate something vague, have a lawyer do it. The fifth principle is timeliness. With news, the most credible approach is to balance speed of delivery against accuracy. If the information (news) is too old, it isn’t news anymore. It’s important that the news be as current as possible. The digital platforms for legacy media are able to continuously update a particular story. Journalists are always eager to get the story out quickly. That desire must be tempered by the principle of accuracy. Information distributed in a rush—without proper fact-checking—can spread misinformation. Social media is rife with misinformation or disinformation. A “citizen journalist” on Facebook or Twitter often has neither the training nor desire to ensure the accuracy of the information provided. With social media, consumer beware!


The Price of Business is one of the longest-running shows of its kind in the country and is in markets coast to coast. The Host, Kevin Price, is a multi-award-winning author, broadcast journalist, and syndicated columnist. He is Editor at Large for this site.  Learn more about the show and its digital partners at

David Dozier ( is the author of the novel, The California Killing Field. He is a professor emeritus in the School of Journalism & Media Studies, San Diego State University. He’s an internationally recognized expert on communication management and public relations.

According to USA Business Radio, “David Dozier is a scholar of public relations and communication management, professor emeritus in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University, and author of The California Killing Field. He says fake news has become a phenomenon, political campaigns use the tactic to influence voters, and that it’s perplexing that a conspiracy-based group such as QAnon has gained national attention.

Kevin Price and David Dozier are doing a multi-part series on this important topic that will be on many different platforms, as well as on radio. Keep an eye out for the series throughout the Price of Business Digital Network and USA Business Radio.


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