Mission and values
What is the mission of The Knife?
The Knife’s mission is to change the way news is reported and history is preserved. With our unique process of analysis, we compare and contrast how different outlets present the news and evaluate it against a standard to both educate readers and inspire journalists to be more critical, objective and ethical. In today’s technologically advanced society, it is more important than ever to have standards for media and mass communication, as one piece of information can reach a global audience in seconds. With the right tools and a commitment to truth, we believe we can change the way the world communicates.
What makes The Knife different from other media companies?
As far as we know, we are the only company that analyzes the spin, slant and logic of news coverage based on consistent standards. We provide a system of analysis with unique ratings and perspectives that inspire ethics and critical thought. Additionally, we are not supported in any way by advertisers or outside companies, so our only loyalty is to our mission and our customers.
Why is it important that the news industry have standards?
Whether we like it or not, the news is a powerful force in our world. It shapes and is shaped by the public, informs policy decisions, and has become more than ever the real-time recording instrument of our collective history. If humankind were to vanish tomorrow, and future visitors were to find the records of our civilization, would you feel good about the records they would find? We at The Knife are committed to truth, honor, and the preservation of a human legacy of which all people can feel proud.
What values am I supporting by being a Knife subscriber?
As a subscriber, you are supporting our mission of bringing ethics to media, as well as making a personal commitment to raising awareness and critical thought. In a general sense, you are upholding values of honor, truth, ethics, and the preservation of history. More specifically you are supporting a movement that seeks to hold news agencies accountable for what they write and puts the power back into the hands of the people they serve.
Why isn’t The Knife free?
Most media outlets receive a large portion of their revenue through advertising. We have chosen not to have advertisers in order to ensure that our only clients are our readers and that we only serve their interests. Your $15/month subscription allows us to do this.
How is The Knife’s process based on the scientific method?
Science relates to the ability to reproduce consistent, measurable results. Our processes are designed to produce validity among analysts separate and apart from personal opinion or prejudice, and to be reproducible across multiple input sources. As such, we aim to continue producing precise, consistent and measurable results.
How long does it take to analyze a story?
Currently, we complete our full analyses in less than 10 hours. That includes the Raw Data, various types of written analysis, data comparison and ratings for spin, slant, logic and accuracy.
How do you choose which sources to include in your analyses?
We analyze the largest and most influential U.S. media outlets, as well as other important English-language outlets. “The Media” section on our homepage displays the nine outlets that we analyze most frequently.
Do you analyze broadcast news?
Currently, we only analyze written media. When we analyze news from networks such as CNN and Fox, we only consider their written website content.
How many people does it take to analyze one story?
It can take up to 12 different people and 62 man hours to produce a full analysis of a story.
The Knife is committed to bringing ethical standards to the profession of journalism. These standards provide a framework through which media can more precisely represent what happens in reality through the written word. Our process of analysis assesses the degree to which our standards are met, and sheds light on the mechanisms through which data is distorted. This empowers our subscribers to better discern the quality of information they are consuming, and to consciously select the standard of news they wish to support. We want to help inform consumers so that they can actively, rather than passively, participate in the most important issues.
The Raw Data
News articles often contain large amounts of information. Some of it is fact, some of it is opinion, and some of it is a confusing blend of both. In the Raw Data section, we extract the most relevant data from a news story to provide a more objective overview of what happened. This allows you to understand the news from a more data-based perspective. This also helps empower you to make further distinctions between the data, and the spin or slant of an article, allowing you to better evaluate the cultural relevance of the news event.
The Total Integrity rating is our measure of the quality of the information in a given article. It is calculated using the individual spin, slant, logic and data/accuracy ratings of an article. These ratings are determined through a comprehensive analysis of how every word, sentence and paragraph upholds objectivity.
- The Spin rating demonstrates how much subjective and imprecise language is used in an article, as opposed to measureable, precise and data-based language.
- The Slant rating indicates how balanced an article is. In other words, does it present only one point of view on a given topic, or does it present multiple perspectives? The Slant rating also evaluates the quality of the sourcing in each article.
- The Logic rating is an assessment of the conclusions presented in an article, and whether their premises are included and based on valid logic.
- The Data analysis team compares the facts presented in each article, and assesses their accuracy through fact checking. It also evaluates whether key data points included in some articles are missing in others. Instances of inaccuracy and missing data affect the Total Integrity rating.
This section is The Numbers explained. It provides analysis and further insight into our ratings and walks the reader through how and whether news coverage is distorted.
Top Spin Words
Want to become adept at spotting spin in the news? This section displays a selection of spin words from the articles we analyzed, as well as their corresponding sentences.
Fiction or Fact
As stated in the description of our ratings, our aim is to hold journalists and news sources accountable to provide objective, fact-based content to their readers. This section compares what a news outlet presents as fact to the actual data-based version without the spin.
This area of analysis has two components: 1) An overview of how many of the facts in a given story are unique to one media outlet, versus how many facts are presented in multiple outlets. 2) A description of the inaccurate, misleading or missing data points in in each article.
An article’s headline can direct how the news is understood. This section analyzes, compares and contrasts how different outlets present a story through their headlines.
This section of the analysis gives a deeper understanding of slant. It provides a summary of the main perspectives presented by the outlets, and contrasts them with alternate points of view that receive less or no coverage.
Context and Timeline
The Context and Timeline sections give background information to better understand a news event. Frequently, news outlets will assume readers are familiar with recent events and history when they may not be. Offering context can provide a broader perspective to help understand the relevance of the news event.
Limitations of our Analysis
We acknowledge that no matter how hard anyone tries to accurately and factually represent events with the written word, there will always be inaccuracies and distortions. As Alfred Korzybski famously said, “The map is not the territory.” There is no way to completely communicate the details of a news event through media, and even if there were, news consumers would still distort the information they read and view. Even so, we believe a more accurate map is always desirable. For this reason, we believe having ethical standards in journalism is of utmost importance. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are writing our collective history through our news media. We are determining our view of the world and ourselves. The Knife aims to record history in an accurate and honorable way, and we hope to foster a worldview that is objective and responsible.
Subscription and payment
How much does a monthly subscription cost?
The Knife’s monthly subscription fee is $15. As a subscriber, you get full access to all of our news and analysis. Additionally, you support ethical standards in the news and critical thinking in society.
Can I cancel at any time?
Yes. You may cancel your subscription at any time and you will receive access up until the day your monthly cycle ends.
Will I be charged automatically each month?
Yes. After your initial payment you will be charged on a recurring monthly basis.
Where does the money from my subscription go?
We have a dedicated and growing team of analysts who work diligently every day to bring you detailed analyses of breaking news. We rely solely on revenue from subscribers to support their work, so all the money we earn through subscriptions goes directly to improving and maintaining our product and supporting the team.
Why don’t you just get money from advertisers?
While accepting advertising revenue would certainly increase our resources, we see it as a conflict of interest. Our commitment is to our readers, and we don’t want anything to get in the way of that. By accepting only the support of our customers, we can maintain our commitment to upholding truth and exposing distortions in mainstream media.