Top Five Ways to Identify Bias News Coverage

These days everyone accuses the mainstream news outlets of bias. Fox News, as we know, is perceived to be the benchmark for conservative news broadcasting. On the other hand, MSNBC has evolved, particularly within the past few years, because the liberals’ direct reaction to Fox News. On the net, we find the Drudge Report using one side and the Huffington Post on the other. And, of course, we can not forget the real or perceived biases associated with the rest of the “liberal media”, such as the New York Times, CNN, and whoever else. Due to this, it is necessary for the those that follow the news to comprehend the subtle techniques by which media outlets attempt to bias their consumers. The list following identifies the most common techniques that attempt to bend the viewer and reader of news to a given point of view. They’re as follows:

5) Perceived facts and actual facts

What are the facts of the story? Probably the most non-biased stories only describe the reality, i.e., who, what, why, when, where, and how. To increase the story, a reporter may include eye witness account(s) or expert opinions. In most cases, however, news outlets will air a story based on a couple of perceived facts. Remember, facts are concrete and do not change unless influenced by other facts. Commonly held opinions ‘re normally confused with facts, such as “MSNBC and Fox News are extremely biased news organizations.”

4) Sources and “experts”

Who is quoted in the story? Eye witness sources are the most credible. In many instances, however, in the absence of eye witness sources, the news outlet will turn to experts to greatly help elucidate the meaning of the reality within the story. How can one identify whether an expert can be an expert? Or does the “expert” have an agenda? Perhaps the best examples of non-expert exerts are politicians. A tale on climate change, for example, may include “expert” testimony from a politician. If the politician did not come from a professional or academic background that studied climate science, however, it’s likely that the news outlet is interested in either supporting or discrediting given arguments within the broader debate over climate change.

3) Word choice

Word choice could be the most subtle and manipulative ways to bias the viewer. The very best reporters stick to simple and clear language to communicate the reality within a story. Because there are lots of linguistic tricks reporters employ to implicitly communicate bias, such tricks may be difficult to identify inside a passive viewing environment, such as TV news. The best example is the commonly used implication that a vast majority within a given demographic share the same opinion, for example: “the American people believe…” or “lots of people say…”

2) Omission of context

The most commonly cited defense for those chastised by the media is “I was taken out of context…” Indeed, given today’s reporting, they are probably right. Snippets from speeches or other sources are often strung together in a series of quotes that may either indict or exonerate an individual or organization’s opinion.

1) Story selection

Watch the headlines, read the stories. There are several news outlets that only air stories which cast doubt upon one political philosophy and/or prop up their very own. It is fascinating to examine such sites and identify the techniques where they choose to influence the reader and viewer. Are conservative websites ? Do all them tend to point in one direction? Most of all, will be the stories even newsworthy or are they wanting to manufacture controversy?